"The free market is efficient!"
This is one of the most obvious lies that is spread by the press, the history books and the paid mouthpieces of the capitalist class (i.e. "journalists").
The argument is quite simple: in a system is based on profit performance is what counts. Consumers' choices will weed out overly greedy companies who engage in abusive practices, produce inferior products, or ripoff customers.
But a quick glance at the facts proves otherwise.
The U.S. health care system is the most expensive in the world, but the World Health Organization has found that it is 37th in the world when it comes to health care outcomes. Americans pay top dollar but get 37th-rate service because the entire system is organized around making profit. Every time someone sees a doctor, they pay; every test that is ordered, the patient pays; every claim that is filed with an insurance company, the company tries to dispute the payment in order to get the consumer to pay more so that the insurance company will make higher profits.
The American health care system is a lethal nightmare that is great at making corporations money but is terrible at delivering health care.
In the late 1990s, Firestone tire company knowingly and willingly manufactured faulty tires. During the period when the tires were made, the workers at Firestone's plants were on strike because they felt they were being overworked, which undermined the plants' safety standards (apparently the inspection time was too low). Instead of lowering the number of hours and increasing the amount of inspection time, the company hired scabs to work the 12 hours shifts. Many of these scabs were also unqualified.
The company did this because it is concerned about 1 thing and 1 thing only: PROFITS!!! Everything is subordinated to PROFITS!!!, including what ought to be the prime consideration when manufacturing something, which is safety. As a result, hundreds of people have lost their lives and how many more have been crippled? How many have had their lives ruined by this system and its ruthless pursuit of profit?
Another example of free market madness: the California power crisis in the late 90s. The overwhelming majority of consumers in California want cheap, dependable electricity. Are they getting it? HELL NO!
In California, the state lifted restrictions on competition between private power providers. "Now, rates will be lowered by 25% thanks to the efficiency of the free market," the supporters of privatization said. Rates have skyrocketed 325%, power providers sold the power plants since operating them cut into profit margins, thinking that they could buy the power from neighboring states on the all-mighty market. Now rates are going up in neighboring states (in Arizona they are up 300% according to ABC nightly news, 1/20/01) because the market decides, supply and demand is the law. Imagine your electricity rates being tied to the price fluctuations on stock prices!
Consumers are at the mercy of the corporations, not the other way around.
If the free market is so efficient, why do people starve while food companies destroy their grain surpluses? If the free market is so efficient, why do the top 300 billionaires have as much wealth as the combined 50% of the Earth's population? Why did 7 million American workers, in the midst of an economic boom, lose their health care? If the system is so efficient, why do we have homeless people sleeping in the doorways of unused skyscrapers in our inner cities? Why do billions and billions get spent on weapons of warfare, on weapons that can wipe life off the face of this planet, when our neighborhoods and schools are crumbing?
Because the entire system is based on PROFITS!!! and not human need or efficiency. This system is so inefficient, so gluttonous, so greedy, so wasteful, so monstrous, that it must be overthrown and replaced with a society run democratically, from the bottom up, on the basis of human need.