`Adam Smith Wasn't Completely Correct, Either'

While few would argue the merits of a command economy over that of a market system, Gary S. Becker in his article concerning the benefits of a "privatized" economy makes no mention of the extensive state intervention necessary to keep the free-market working. ("Surprises in a world according to Adam Smith," Economic Viewpoint, Aug. 17). Let there be no mistake here, supply and demand don't always meet amicably. Apart from the obvious examples, such as the minimum wage, farm subsidies, and rent control, perhaps nowhere is the need for government regulation more necessary than in the very backbone of the capitalist world--the securities markets. The recent free fall on the Nikkei exchange and the even more disturbing free-for-all on the new Shanghai exchange tell a tale of markets arguably too free. While Karl Marx was definitely wrong, Adam Smith wasn't completely correct, either. Evidently, his invisible hand sometimes needs a sight stick.

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