What is a "Free Market"?

Larry Janesky: Think Daily

Ironically, we don’t talk enough about the things that are most valuable and precious.  By not talking about it, we take it for granted and fail to protect it.  We may even support ideas that erode what is far more precious.

Freedom is one of those things.  There is so much to be said about freedom, but today I’ll talk about free markets.  I am by no means the most eloquent speaker on the subject, but I have lots of experience running dozens of companies for decades, and observing hundreds more close up.

When markets are free for anyone to compete in, entrepreneurs start companies to provide products and services that people freely trade their hard-earned money for.  They are saying “my life will be better if I buy your product or service for the price you are charging”, so they buy it.  

Businesses have to compete with each other.  They are all trying to be the best choice for the consumer (that’s you and me) so they can sell their stuff.  The consumer is the judge over who wins and who loses.  If the consumer loves one company, likes another and does not like a third, the results for the respective companies will show accordingly.  The losing company may go out of business, which is good for the consumer.  Or they may innovate – providing a better product or a cheaper one, which is good for the consumer.  Competition means the consumer wins.

This is why we have a greater standard of living today.  No government made this happen.  It was the action of millions of businesses freely competing with each other, with many providing better products and service to other businesses so they could give greater value to the consumer and/or a cheaper price.  Today, you can get incredible things for a weeks worth of wages – far more than you could in the past.

Now let’s see how we can mess it up – how we make a free market less free.  Let’s say we tax a service – the price of it goes up.  That’s less free.

Let’s say an industry lobbies for licensing to protect others from coming into the business, because they do NOT want competition.  This makes prices go up, not only because of the licensing fees but more so because the license (test, filing, apprenticeship, approvals, red tape, etc.) causes an artificial shortage of competitors.  So the ones that are there can raise their prices because their market is not free, but partially protected.

Let’s say the contractor you have hired to do work on your home has to pull a building permit for work they do on your house, but the town building department makes him jump through all kinds of hoops and red tape and they sit on the application for 8 weeks.  This is another example of a market that is constricted – the consumer (you, me) will suffer and costs will go up.

Let’s say a job is put out to bid by a government and they say it can only go to a union company.  This is not free.  Costs will go up and consumers will suffer.

Let’s say there are rules that you have to buy (or cannot buy) parts from a given place or company – this is not free and costs will go up.

Let’s say there are all kinds of unnecessary rules and regulations to follow – this is not free and consumers will suffer.

We see this stuff in business all day every day.  Sure we need some rules, but bureaucrats and administrators who care little for the costs and distortions they create, often go too far, and slowly, month by month, we lose our freedom and ability to operate in free markets – the exact thing that got us here in the first place.

The evidence is clear.  Every country in the world where you go where there is excessive control of markets, is one where the people do not do well.

Will you be a voice to protect freedom in commerce and elsewhere?


Mike Mitchell

I too am grateful for free markets. The invisible hand of the marketplace is far superior to government intervention


Agreed freedom is necessary and was designed and instituted by our Creator. Freedom of choice in human history goes all the way back to a garden and a tree. Therefore government was designed to protect freedom not take it away. Keep America great protect the freedom of choice for everyone in everything!

Timothy Sweeney

Great post Larry! Tim

Kevin Koval

Ok. We have identified the problem, but what is the solution? There is no quick fix and the long term solution isn’t much better (electing different people)

Laurie Mortensen

Well said Larry! I’ve read your daily think everyday for 2 years now. This is the 1st time I have commented because this piece is particularly spot on. I’m a Realtor with William Pitt in both Ridgefied and Stamford. The insight you provide daily is priceless!

Barry Kindt

The “Destroy America Again” Administration is back and destroying our Freedom at a rapid pace (almost like they KNEW they were going to win the “election” LONG before Election Day!) – as members of the CCP. A well-respected Economist says “watch what they do and do the opposite”! He says buckle down, watch costs, plan & execute, and be prepared for BIG TIME pent up buying in the 3rd Quarter of 2021!

Brian Snyder

Absolutely spot on Larry!!

When Bureaucrats step in and make life difficult, good companies either attempt to cut through the red tape and get bogged down, making it a choice whether to do business in that municipality or not. The consumer is the one that loses in the end because they will either pay more or get a bad company that will skirt the system, not pull permits, and not install work properly.
The time has come to work together as a team for whats best for the consumer.

Dave Hoh

That seems pretty eloquent to me and right on the money! It seems a bit scary in the current climate so we’re focusing on what we can control by building a better team/company to not only endure but grow in this market.


That is 100% correct, Larry.
One only needs to look at the destruction of the “free market system” that existed in South Africa before it was replaced by the current corrupt system where you must be black to get government / corporate business.
And, now you see the standard of living difference between the haves and the have not’s.

Brandon Carr


Howard Tatge

We experience the difficulty everyday! Yes we are asked to purchase building permits and now its for almost every job. One market in which we operate, we cannot even get a permit for 6 weeks! The other interesting part is that several of the agencies don’t even send anyone out to inspect the work. They tell us, you know what you are doing, just send us some pictures. That’s good for us, but what then is the point in the permit process….revenue! We also have not been able to bid on some commercial projects, big ones, because of the requirement that we have to be a union contractor. State of Illinois projects mostly. The terrible part about this is, we are the good guys, following the process. They cities don’t have anyone policing their policies, so the “chuck in the truck” guys do the work without permits and at a much lower cost. If they are going to create these rules, then make the playing field equal, stop the guys that are not in incompliance or eliminate the process! We decided to stop doing a part of our business in one market, because the inspections department decide what we are doing was an incorrect building procedure.


Yes I will be a voice to protect freedom. Yes I am a voice to protect freedom.
Voices arent enough. I would like to see a fund setup for billboards/radio advertising IN CT. Have the TreeHouse set it up and I will setup a reoccurring monthly donation. Ever heard of Ed Nadolny?

ralph carpinella

Free system fair playing field is good and I support anything without controls but when i can buy something in another country from the same maker cheaper than I can get it here something is wrong. .Example : some plastics from its american company compared to its foreign company with duty freight etc is cheaper than USA. something is wrong

Roy Anderson

Thank you for saying that so eloquently.Should be taught in school.

Robert Brown

Hey Larry
The flip side of this is that without government, that collects taxes, none of could operate a successful business. There would be no roads, no airports, no dams to protect us from flooding, no sewer systems or water supply, fire departments, safety with police, or military to protect our nation.

Larry Janesky

Bob, nobody said anything about not having a government.

Joel Bruch

WOW! – Thank you, this was amazing.

Joel Bruch

Thank you, this was awesome and really brought home an amazing prospective.

Willis Ponds

Thanks for laying it out so simply! Free markets are the source of prosperity!

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