There's a lot of talk these days about the "failure of the free market". But do free markets actually exist?
A free market is one where the price of a good or service is purely based on how much buyers are prepared to pay. Any market that involves government subsidies or tax breaks is therefore not a free market, since the price of the good or service is affected by the government intervention.
For example, the housing marketplace is not a free market because the government provides tax breaks for homeowners that makes purchasing a house artifically more attractive than renting one. In addition, it allows a home seller to pocket up to $250,000 of profit with no capital gains tax. The government is effectively lowering the cost of home ownership at the expense of renters.
Many people think that a free market implies an unregulated market. This is not true. It's entirely appropriate for a government to enact laws that protect people from antisocial activities such as pollution or misleading advertising.
Healthcare, energy, farming and banking are all examples of markets that are not free. So the phrase "failure of the free market" is misleading since - as far as I can tell - they don't exist.