[…] Unhampered markets, as Mises pointed out in The Anti-Capitalist Mentality, rely on market “democracy” because consumers and companies are free to exchange products and services. Thus, each market action is a referendum on the value of each business or industry.
There is no top-down effect, but pure spontaneity built on voluntary actions. However, consumers can change their minds about any specific business at any time. The reasons are diverse: there may be a more cutting-edge product offered elsewhere. Consumers may perceive quality to be higher with competitors. New entrepreneurs may be able to offer lower prices. Some companies may response to these challenges with new innovations of their own. Though others may prefer to do nothing mroe than demand government “protection.”
Business “guilds” — to use a European term — have evolved from the status of pre-Christian Roman mutual aid networks to groups of people dedicated to the same craft who seek government-granted monopolies. These government-granted favors gant them a reprieve from teh discipline of the marketplace. […]