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free market

A Dictionary of Economics
John BlackJohn Black, Nigar HashimzadeNigar Hashimzade, Gareth MylesGareth Myles

free market 

A market in which people buy and sell voluntarily, without legal compulsion. Neither the quantities traded nor the price at which trade takes place are subject to control by third parties. This is not to say that such markets operate without legal regulation: the participants have to conform to laws concerning health and safety, weights and measures, labelling requirements, and so on. The essential point about these rules, however, is that they lay down the basis for property rights and contract law. The actual initiative to trade still lies with the market participants, on both sides.