The power of the free market does not depend on people
believing in it.
The power of the free market is a fact of nature, whether
people believe in it or not.
Even where people deny it, markets will form because it is
natural that they will form.
Indeed, they flourish, like desert plants, in the most
unpromising environments, because those are the places that need them most.
So it is not entirely surprising to learn that they may
account for more than half the economy of North
Korea, where they are illegal. The inefficiency of the legal, state-run
economy means people become more reliant than ever on the so-called “black market”.
Even the North Korean government is being forced to face the
reality of how markets work: it is allowing state-run television to broadcast advertisements
for beer, to “ease stress”.
Advertisements are also being run for the first time at the
other end of the spectrum – by Vatican Radio.
Only a few months ago, unreconstructed types in the Western
media were using the recession as an excuse to revive their old Cold War
theories of the self-destruction of capitalism.
The evidence suggests the opposite: capitalism is on the