If the stories in this book tell us anything, however, it is that the free market can also lead to situations of reduced freedom. Markets are born free, yet no sooner are they born than some would-be emperor is forging chains. Paradoxically, it sometimes happens that the only way to preserve freedom is through judicious controls on the exercise of private power. If we believe in liberty, it must be freedom from both private and public coercion.

“It will end wasteful competition,” said James Taggart. “We’ll stop scrambling to beat one another to the untried and the unknown. We won’t have to worry about new inventions upsetting the market. We won’t have to pour money down the drain in useless experiments just to keep up with overambitious competitors.”

Brickell remained as opposed as ever to the idea that governments should intervene. “Hayek [the Viennese economist] believed that markets would create a rhythm of their own, that they are self-healing. That is something we all should remember and honor today,” he told the audience. “When governments arrive to help, there is always a price to be paid that often takes the form of greater regulation.”