There are a lot of ways in which different economies operate, or we can say how the market operates in different economic systems like command economies and mixed economies.
But in this article, we focus only on one of these which is the free market economy and we will look at the characteristics as to how it is different from others along with its benefits and problems of the same.
1. What is Free Market Economy?
The economic system that operates solely on demand and supply in the market is known as a free market economy.
It is not governed or controlled by the government, unlike the command economy where not only the government fixes the production and sales but also decides the pricing.
The ownership here is under private individuals or private companies who freely trade with one another.
2. More about the Free Market Economy
However, if we really look at pure free market economies we will realize that it is an idealistic view as opposed to what is actually happening in the world.
This is because in a very realistic and pure free market system a person (seller) can sell any goods that he likes at whatever price that deems suitable to him/her without any restrictions whatsoever of age, tariffs, or any other kind of regulations.
And if we really go in accordance with this definition then, even everyday items like alcohol or alcoholic beverages can actually be bought and consumed by literally anybody.
Even the import and export business of the goods will be disturbed a lot as now there will be complete exemption of duties or other taxes applicable on the same.
This is why what we see nowadays, in the modern world, are actually mixed economies where some part is the free economy and others regulated like the command economy.
Having a pure free market economic market is nearly impossible for sustainable growth and development of the region.
3. Characteristics of Free Market Economy
3.1. Private Ownership of Resources
Since most of the resources are owned privately either by individuals or by companies there is a freedom of all operations associated with it.
The production, supply, allocation, and exchange are not really governed by the government or any other controlling body.
3.2. Thriving Financial Markets
The markets in a free economy are financially thriving and this is because of the widespread presence of financial institutions like banks and brokerages.
These provide individuals and companies with all the financial help that is required for the smooth exchange of goods and services and also help them with investment.
3.3. Freedom to Participate
Freedom is the most important and the biggest hit of the free market economy. Individuals or private companies have the right to produce sell or buy any product that they like.
They can sell them in a way that seems suitable at prices that they feel are well suited for their product/services.
4. Benefits of a Free Market Economy
4.1. Freedom to Innovate
Innovation is the biggest advantage of a free market economy. The owners of different businesses have the choice and the full rights to come up with new products or with variations and even new ideas which they feel will satisfy their customers.
Also, there is no foundation of time, whenever they are ready they can go ahead and launch these.
They do not have to get any government approval before coming up with any new kind of products/services and can easily do their own research, identify gaps, and launch new products to meet the requirements.
There will also be competition between other companies trying to fill the same gap but it is a healthy competition and helps people to choose and get the better product suited for them.
4.2. Customers Drive Choices
Due to the new innovations and more varieties, the last deciding factor for any product or service is the customer. The customers have the power to decide what product will sustain and what will not.
They will obviously pick the one from the given options that suits best their requirements, fits their price budget, and is reliable.
Sometimes, they can actually even govern the price point because if a competitor is offering a product similar to yours at a much lower price the customers tend to buy it from them, hence making you eventually change prices of your products as well.
5. Drawbacks of a Free Market
5.1. Dangers of Profit Motives
So, with freedom comes responsibility but when there is no checking then there is a possibility that the responsibility is not given enough importance or it is overlooked for other motives.
This is what sometimes happens in a free market economy, people get so motivated towards earning a profit in their business that they forget other things.
We clearly know that all businesses run with the motive of earning good profits but this should not be done at the cost of the proper health and working conditions of your workers or even worse your consumers.
This means that when you are given freedom to operate in all the ways that deem suitable to you, there should not be further exploitations.
Do not compromise on product quality, workers’ health and safety, and the environment in any manner; just so that you can make that extra profit.
5.2. Market Failures
Since everything in a free market economy depends solely on the customers implying that the market is actually what runs this economy.
So, this creates a very huge dependence, and in the case of any disaster or calamity, the whole economy is completely shaken.
However, these kinds of breakdowns are not just limited to these natural occurrences but also the real estate market crash or any other such causes that can lead to a collapse of the market.
The impact is harder because, everything is interdependent from production to supply, which in turn can lead to people losing their jobs and unemployment leading to homelessness.