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Mother of InventionHow the Government Created "Free-Market" Health Care$
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Robert I. Field

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199746750

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199746750.001.0001

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What’s Private About the Free Market?

What’s Private About the Free Market?

(p.1) 1 What’s Private About the Free Market?
Mother of Invention

Robert I. Field

Oxford University Press

The term “free-market” is widely used to connote private commerce that is free of government intervention, yet in reality, such markets do not exist. Almost every major industry depends on some form of government support. Four examples in the general economy are information technology, which relies on the Internet; automobile manufacturing, which relies on Interstate highways; telecommunications, which relies on satellites; and homebuilding, which relies on federal mortgage support. Even the most ardent supporters of markets dating back to Adam Smith acknowledge thegovernment’s key role in maintaining them.Public programs do not always produce optimal results, and they are often captured by the industries they are intended to support and oversee. However, without them,few, if any, private industries could exist.In no sector of the economy does this dynamic play out more pervasively than in health care.

Keywords:   Free-market, Regulation, Health care, Economic rent, Regulatory capture, Public goods

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