Viral capitalism

How the free market mutates and survives

The free market grows and explores like an organic system, formed by billions of minute democratic decisions made by consumers every hour. Its unique ability to adapt means it can rise to any challenge, including environment crisis. Those who wish to contain this power - and to plan our futures from the centre -  are gravely mistaken, argues Madsen Pirie.


Like a virus, free market capitalism mutates to take advantage of new opportunities and to move into new territories. Unlike a pathogenic virus, however, it is symbiotic with human nature, and is one of the most benign institutions that human beings have ever created, perhaps even the most benign. This is the main reason why capitalism will survive and prosper after the pandemic: it is not a fixed thing, but something that has shown remarkable strength in adaptability and endurance, and in its ability to change with changing circumstances.

It was not created deliberately, but emerged as a consequence

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Minnie 9 February 2021

Someone needed to say this. Many on the left speak about the free market as if it is imposed on society. The free market is what happens if you leave people alone and let them make their own decisions.