The thing is that no market is free. All transactions are conditioned by who has power at the table. Therefore, all markets, being places where transactions take place are subject to those with power; further, the market as a collective entity is conditioned by larger systems of power which govern the collection of transaction sub-systems.
Further, the phrase ‘free market’ is just marketing. (Marketing being its own propaganda system, of power over information.) What people ask for when they ask for a ‘free market’ is a market which is subject only to those within their own tribe, and further that it’s their tribe or the highway. What they mean by ‘free market’ is ‘my market’ and ‘not your market’. Advocates of a ‘free market’ are actually seeking a market with specific conditions. Thus it’s not just an oxymoron, but is actually, quite simply, a lie.
The notion ‘free market’ is an imaginary oxymoron.
To approach the notion of a ‘free market’ is also an imaginary journey to somewhere other than where the proponents really wish to go. If one were to approach the free market, one would not have taxes, sure. One would also not have government subsidies to businesses within the industrial-military-prison-security complex, a leviathan to which quite a few ‘free market’ proponent have sold their souls.
There’s plenty of murk still. Because although the loss of the industrial-military-prison-security complex and corporate welfare looks pretty good to me; one would also, of course, not have bank bailouts and no social security and no ‘New Deal’. And, maybe other stuff that we may or may not agree on, but that advocates of a ‘free market’ would probably like to keep, such as corporate indemnity and corporate person-hood and patents and copyright and the legal system and the stock market. All gone.
There’s a lot of everything for everyone lose. I think there’s things we could agree on being sorely missed, such as that one would not have the highway and freeway system. One would also not have the Internet. And so much more.
An environment without conditions would simply be closer to a jungle of violence. The only time that a market would form is as an expression of someone’s power over a thing they wanted to exchange, and the relative window of powerlessness of someone seeking that thing to not simply take it away without an exchange they could afford; as part of a transaction other than violence.
When people advocate for a ‘free market’ what they mean is they want a ‘power market’ where they are the hegemon in power, or, at the very least, where they are protected by a power friendly to them in a hegemony. And, that just means they want, not to change the system; but, quite obviously to simply change who’s in power.
So, to those seeking a ‘free market’, “I say to you againe, doe not call up Any that you can not put downe” [see] which is to say, it’s not what you really want. You’re selling and being sold a bill of goods. Don’t believe the hype. Caveat Emptor.