Free markets get a bad rap these days, as do most forms of capitalism.
That's a very bad omen for the future income growth and prosperity of today's typical and heavily indebted American families.
In large measure, that negativism toward markets is the result of individual ignorance, political malfeasance and protectionist measures on the part of government and union leaders around the world.
In even larger measure, however, it's the result of growing globalization and competition for the consumers' dollars.
What's at stake is the 'value for money' market exchange system which works best in a free choice consumer driven society.
Consumers' decisions ultimately determine where capital and labor 'go' explains the power of consumer choice and free markets:
"Insofar as an economy is market-oriented, the ultimate determinant of “where money goes”—that is, of where resources, including labor, go; where the course of productive activity goes; where financing goes—is the detail in the pattern of consumer spending (including consumers’ decisions on how much, how long, and in which specific forms, to save). . . .
Consumers’ decisions ultimately determine where capital and labor ‘go’ and what their values are in alternative uses. If you’re skeptical and are in search of some evidence in support of this claim, consider that protectionism in nearly all of its forms and guises is a direct attempt to change the way consumers spend their money (in order, be aware, to give owners of capital a say that such owners would not otherwise have in determining the course of productive activities)."
Free markets work best for society, as individual consumers are in control.
We seem to have forgotten that simple fact and placed government and union 'leaders' in control instead of individuals.
That's a very big mistake and an ongoing expensive one as well.
Global competition isn't always fun, especially for losers, but it's always the best way to play.
That's my take.