Originally Posted by TimeSpiral
There is no such thing as a free market. It's a myth!
We live in a Global Economy.
Hiding behind the veil of the mythical "Free Market" when arguing policy is virtually useless in real world applications. It's kind of like -i in math. It doesn't really exist, but is useful during theoretical calculations and fractal progressions. The "Free Market" is a benchmark sometimes used to calculate economic theory, but it doesn't actually exist.
I've been down this road with Iowa before. I really like the mathematical comparison you made. That does present a good way to think of he concept.
The way the concept is often presented is as a set of ideas and principles in an economy that promotes(not necessarily effectively) using those ideas and principles in the running of the economy.
Due to this understanding, the US has a free market economy. It is apparent that we do not operate in a perfect free market due to regulation, interference, etc. On a loose, general level we try to use the free market, but usually resort to more mixed economy.