Marshall Ganz on the Myth of the Free Market

May 8, 2013

In a conversation with Bill, professor, organizer and activist Marshall Ganz challenges the notion of the ‘free market’ as an effective way to address our economic, political, and moral issues. Instead, he proposes more collaborative solutions.

“We need a new story, a new way of describing our economic challenges and our political challenges that emphasizes not this idea of what each individual competes with, but the ways in which we cooperate and collaborate with one another,” Ganz tells Bill.

Watch the full conversation between Marshall Ganz and Bill on this weekend’s Moyers & Company.

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  • Notjustaword

    We cannot continue as we have in the past. We users and consumers of the mass marketed products and services are loading bullets ($$) into the greatest guns of all time, which are being turned and used against us by corporate mercenaries with only one target, the freedom of the people and control of a planet.Status quo is a mass suicide.

  • http://www.facebook.com/herb.bloom.1 Herb Bloom

    All pensions should be out of the corporations control and the workers control except to add more until they retire. No gambling of pension money is allowed, it grows by input and interest from the trust it has been placed into. That trust should and could be run as a Co-op as other businesses are so the management fee’s are paid to the workers and less by far than a large company.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stewart.moore.771 Stewart Moore

    Both parties are owned by multinational corporate CEO’S that demand more immigrants to force wages down and keep you afraid of your job.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGinnes/100000712864762 Patrick McGinnes

    This is exactly why Republicans/Libertarians say “America is a Christian Nation if you don’t like it then leave”

    They’re not intellectually developed because all they can think about is, “My way or the highway” and there’s never any real intellectual pursuit that can be grasped with that way of doing things.

  • http://www.facebook.com/TallPhilosopher John Champagne

    Markets are not efficient “… because that’s how markets work”. Markets are efficient because they generally prevent situations wherein people end up devoting *more* resources to get benefits that are *less* valuable.

    If people are denied any access to markets (and no doubt some are), it is because we do not share natural wealth equally or equitably.

    There was no mention in that excerpt of the fact that, if natural wealth were shared equally, everyone would have *some* income and therefore they would have *some* access to markets. There was no mention of the idea of economic externalities. There was a false dichotomy set up between cooperation and competition. (There is no reason why people in a neighborhood can’t decide to have one person go get the 50 lb. Bag of oatmeal from the local market and invite people to come fill their containers from the bag and pitch in a dollar or two or whatever it takes to sustain the practice.)

    Whatever problems we might associate with markets, they are not due to the fact that buyers and sellers might come together voluntarily and agree on a price. The problems with markets are that prices do not reflect true costs of goods and services because of the persistence of economic externalities. But ‘externalities’ is a term that we hardly hear mentioned anywhere when people talk about wealth disparity, environmental degradation or inability to access markets.

    With natural wealth shared equally, everyone on Earth would be getting about $20 per day, every day. There would be no extreme poverty.

    If the school system is not functioning well, we might want to allow each person to spend the public funds in ways that they feel is best, but with the requirement that they spend on programs or services that, say, at least 70% of the people agree serve the public interest. Then we would probably only see schools that are doing a very good job (only schools that follow ‘best practices’) receiving funding. The quality of public education would improve. (The actual percentage of people who would have to endorse a particular program or service may and likely would differ from the hypothetical amount suggested above. It could and (I think) should be based on the number that *most people* feel is an appropriate number. A higher number would mean that public programs that end up getting funded would be those that are of obvious benefit to the public in the eyes of a large majority of people. If the standard were lower (say 50%), then even police forces that practice some brutality (or schools that promote a sectarian view of the world) may end up receiving funds. But if the standard is set high, then even a large minority of 30% or 40% could veto any public spending to support abusive or oppressive police forces (or school systems that present a factional or sectarian interpretation of the world).

    Systemic flaws are not reported:
    http://gaiabrain.blogspot.com/2011/08/systemic-flaws-are-not-reported.html

  • viewer1

    Guys,

    You really have to talk to Jaron Lanier about his new book ‘Who Owns The Future’

  • http://www.facebook.com/TallPhilosopher John Champagne

    Markets are not called ‘efficient’ based on some vacuous claim that “…well, that’s how markets work”. Markets are efficient because they generally prevent situations wherein people end up devoting *more* resources to get benefits that are *less* valuable.

    If people are denied any access to markets (and no doubt some are), it is because we do not share natural wealth equally or equitably. The value of natural wealth has been estimated at about $20 per day for everyone on the planet. Why not mention the idea of sharing this wealth when we talk about problems of disparity and poverty?

    There was no mention in that excerpt of the fact that, if natural wealth were shared equally, everyone would have *some* income and therefore they would have *some* access to markets. There was no mention of the idea of economic externalities. There was a false dichotomy set up between cooperation and competition. (There is no reason why people in a neighborhood can’t decide to have one person go get the 50 lb. Bag of oatmeal from the local market and invite people to come fill their containers from the bag and pitch in a dollar or two or whatever it takes to sustain the practice. Existence of free markets does not preclude people in the neighborhood from growing vegetables and fruits and trading or sharing among themselves.)

    Whatever problems we might associate with markets, they are not due to the fact that buyers and sellers might come together voluntarily and agree on a price. The problems with markets are that prices do not reflect true costs of goods and services because of the persistence of economic externalities. But ‘externalities’ is a term that we hardly hear mentioned anywhere when people talk about wealth disparity, environmental degradation or inability to access markets.

    With natural wealth shared equally, everyone on Earth would be getting about $20 per day, every day. There would be no extreme poverty.

    If the school system is not functioning well, we might want to allow each person to spend the public funds in ways that they feel is best, but with the requirement that they spend on programs or services that, say, at least 70% of the people agree serve the public interest. Then we would probably only see schools that are doing a very good job (only schools that follow ‘best practices’) receiving funding. The quality of public education would improve. (The actual percentage of people who would have to endorse a particular program or service may and likely would differ from the hypothetical amount suggested above. It could and (I think) should be based on the number that *most people* feel is an appropriate number. A higher number would mean that public programs that end up getting funded would be those that are of obvious benefit to the public in the eyes of a large majority of people. If the standard were lower (say 50%), then even police forces that practice some brutality (or schools that promote a sectarian view of the world) may end up receiving funds. But if the standard is set high, then even a large minority of 30% or 40% could veto any public spending to support abusive or oppressive police forces (or school systems that present a factional or sectarian interpretation of the world).

    Systemic flaws are not reported:
    http://gaiabrain.blogspot.com/2011/08/systemic-flaws-are-not-reported.html

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Russell-Spears/722541834 Russell Spears

    Fund raise for a Free Online University that can be built for 40 to 80 million for the working poor..Like Khanacademy.org

    Support Worker Owned and operated Businesses that purchase abandoned factories like “New Era Windows Cooperative and Evergreen Cooperatives.

    Move to Bitcoin to eliminate the big banks influence and systems of wealth extractions.

    In short donate and Invest into movements to help create these systems we all need and want like “The Working World”.

  • M.E. Lee

    I’ve been teaching this “new” way of looking at things in my college-level Sociology classes for some years now. It’s not easy to impress this way of thinking on minds that have been raised in a Social Darwinist mindset.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=628029610 Kevin Hollingsworth

    Yes! Get Lanier on your show! He’s brilliant!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=577909792 Carol Wright

    i am having a hard time understanding how they consider themselves Christian. The emphasis on guns and violent overthrow, their non inclusiveness of anyone different than they are, their sometimes outright racial bigotry. Where, in Jesus’ example and teachings, are these self righteous and “entitled” behaviors coming from?

    Even John McCain, in arguing with his consituents at a racist filled town meeting, said something to the effect of “we do not just pile these people in a truck and throw them back over the fence. These are human beings and this country was founded on Judeo Christian principles, and that is why we look for a humane solution.” am paraphrasing from what I saw on video clip.

    When are the Christians going to call the bigot fueled extreme right wing on this downright cruel approach to other humans.

    What am I missing here that these people claim to be Christians? If that is Christianity, count me OUT.

  • Anonymous

    Simple solution: distribute some money to everyone and then everyone gets to do market stuff. See http://www.freemoneyforall.org. Another possibility is to stop subsidizing the rich so much. Deficit spending is to the owners of capital what farm price supports are to the owners of farms. With the exception of Clinton, every administration for the past three decades has been on a welfare for the rich kick.

  • http://wp.elleseemarz.net/ Ellemarz

    Yes. I agree. As well as “You are not a Gadget”.

  • Anonymous

    We’re defined by our policies, and our policies show that the US is anti-Christian. Aside from the obvious issue of our military hyper-aggression, Jesus was pretty clear about our responsibilities to the poor. And what could be more anti-American than saying (as Jesus did) that it would be easier for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven?

  • Anonymous

    I read that some 80% of middle classers support super-cheap workfare replacement labor, thinking this serves to “get tough on the poor.” Who do they think have been getting replaced?