Markets are the most potent antipoverty engine there is – but only where they work well. The caveat is crucial.
Left to themselves, markets can fail. To deliver their full benefits they need support from a set of rules, customs, and institutions. They cannot operate efficiently in a vacuum. If the rules of the market game are inadequate, as often they are, it is difficult and time-consuming to set them right. Many countries, to their citizens’ detriment, have not yet been able to do so.
Markets are not miraculous. There are problems they cannot address. If their platform is unsound they do not even solve the problems they are supposed to solve. Viewed as tools, markets need be neither revered nor reviled-just allowed to operate where they are useful.