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Noah Smith

The Free Market Probably Isn't Making You Sick

Just as zealots once oversold the benefits of laissez-faire economics, detractors now take their critique too far.
A foot in neither camp.

A foot in neither camp.

Source: Hulton Archives/Getty Images

Neoliberalism is a common word in Europe that is slowly making its way across the Atlantic. Basically, it’s another name for free-market, laissez-faire ideology -- the “liberal” in the word comes from classical liberalism, which was the British term for what Americans might call libertarianism.

Anyway, neoliberalism has become a charged word -- a lightning rod for everything the left wants to push back against, both in Europe and in the U.S. British writer George Monbiot blames it for many of our current economic and social troubles: