For John, BLUF: If you want to know what could go wrong without free markets, think of Venezuela. Nothing to see here; just move along.
My Middle Brother, the Progressive, was conducting an EMail exchange with his younger and older Brothers and one of the points he made was that when he listened to the readings at Mass they didn't seem to talk about Capitalism. I think the point he misses is that the freedom provided by Christianity, halting though it may have been in implementation,♠ allowed for the growth of free markets. And, the Protestant Reformation was a further impetus to economic growth. While this article in Bloomberg View doesn't approach the question from a religious point of view, it does make the point that poverty is reduced through free markets.
The sub-headline is:
Few things in human history have done so much to reduce absolute poverty.
The author is Professor Noah Smith.
Here is the lede plus one:
Harvard economist Dani Rodrik has a long and thoughtful essay about the shortcomings of neoliberalism -- the economic program of free markets and free trade. He writes:Hat tip to the InstaPundit.Economists’ contributions to public debate are often biased in one direction, in favor of more trade, more finance, and less government. That is why economists have developed a reputation as cheerleaders for neoliberalism, even if mainstream economics is very far from a paean to laissez-faire. The economists who let their enthusiasm for free markets run wild are in fact not being true to their own discipline.As someone who has done decades of pioneering work in the field of trade and growth, and who has been intimately involved in practical policy-making, Rodrik is as much of an expert on this topic as anyone. But although his criticisms are accurate, he overlooks much of the good that neoliberalism has done.
Regards — Cliff
♠ Implemented by men, all of whom have fallen short of the Glory of God.