Because a market system relies on the assumption that players are constantly involved and unequally enabled, a market system is distinguished specifically from a voting system where candidates seek the support of voters on a less regular basis. However, the interactions between market and voting systems are an important aspect of political economy, and some argue they are hard to differentiate, e.g. systems like cumulative voting and runoff voting involve a degree of market-like bargaining and tradeoff, rather than simple statements of choice.
Heavy reliance on many interacting market systems and forms is a feature of capitalism, and advocates of socialism often criticize market features. This article does not discuss the political impact of any particular system nor applications of a particular mechanism to any particular problem in real life. For more on specific types of real-life markets, see commodity markets, insurance markets, bond markets, energy markets, flea markets, debt markets, stock markets, online auctions, real estate market, each of which is explained in its own article with features of its application, referring to market systems as such if needed.
The term 'laissez-faire' ("let alone") is sometimes used to describe some specific compromise between regulation and black market, resulting in the political struggle to define or exploit "free markets". This is not an easy matter to separate from other debates about the nature of capitalism. There is no such thing as a "free" market other than in the sense of a black market, and most free-market advocates favor at least some form of regulated market, e.g. to prevent outright fraud, theft, and retain some degree of credibility with the larger public. This political debate is out of the scope of this article, other than to note that the "free" market is usually a "less regulated" market, but not qualitatively different from other regulated markets, in any society with laws, and that what opponents of "free markets" usually seek is some kind of moral purchasing rather than pure rationing.
As this debate suggests, key debates over market systems relate to their accessibility, safety, fairness, and ability to guarantee clearance and closure of all transactions in a reasonable period of time.
Banks, themselves, are often described in terms of markets, as "transducers of trust" between lenders (who deposit money) and borrowers (who take it out again). Trust in the bank to manage this process makes more economic activity possible. However, critics say, this trust is also quite easy to abuse, and has many times proven difficult to limit or control (see business cycle), resulting in 'runs on banks' and other such 'crises of trust' in 'the system'.
However, market systems are usually flexible enough to be refined and have its detailed rules adjusted so as to regain the trust of participants relatively quickly - most market systems tend to degrade gracefully, with a few exceptions, e.g. hyperinflation, South Sea bubble, tulip boom, dotcom boom, depression, that are very damaging, but nonetheless relatively infrequent.
Government must play key role in environment; Costs: Free-market system can only do so much in efforts to reduce pollution
Mar 30, 2003; Earth Day 2003 is just around the corner: April 22. It's been 33 years since the first Earth Day celebration, and we are making...