All this fashionable talk of the "free market", but is there really a example of such? I have never seen one... not even my local farmers' market lives up to this utopian ideal. The use of the phrase seems more of a (psychologically slanted) ploy to get the masses to equate/knee-jerk capitalism with freedom/liberty.
I think there are many examples of such, yeah. But it depends how you define "free market".
Generally when people use this term, I think that they are talking about things such as:
- Private ownership/equity
- Independent price controls (e.g. no or few centrally-directed pricing mechanisms)
- Private stock ownership
- Private retail trade as well as private person-to-person trade (e.g. something like eBay)
- De-centralised wage structures (e.g. no centrally-controlled wage fixing mechanisms)
Those are the sorts of things I equate to a free market system. And in many respects, several of these also relate closely to other concepts of "free" systems (such as free association, which is obviously integral to ensuring that several of the above items are actually possible).
So, no, it's not a ploy - I just think that you can't take these phrases to their extreme conclusion. In the same way that you take the idea of "free market" to its ultimate utopian ideal (which is a somewhat farcical concept), there are those on the right wing of politics who suggest that any government intervention or central control systems automatically equate to "socialism" or "communism".
Neither point of view is really accurate, because even the most free market system is still going to have certain control mechanisms put in place (which may be as simple as government-mandated safety restrictions around things like food safety or vehicle safety, for example).