Once upon a time, there were these things called "prices." The market (I.e. You, me and joe six-pack down the street) determined them with every single transaction we made. Although we still use prices in our everyday lives in order to make decisions, these prices are no longer freely determined by the market. They are distorted, and the source of that distortion rests at the FOMC.
The Federal Reserve and global central banks, by controlling interest rates (the price of money) through their control of the supply of money and credit, have destroyed the market's price mechanism. The difference between direct price controls, like what we have seen in communist countries, and what we have in the United States today, is only one of degree. The government does not set the price of bananas or computers, but it does set the price of money and by doing so, distorts prices across the entire economy, thus destroying price discovery and the very essence of a free market.
Another way to think of the FOMC's setting of interest rates is to compare it with rigged "democratic" elections. Let' shave a look at one of America's popular demons, Saddam Hussein. In the Iraqi elections back in 2002, the now deceased dictator reportedly won 100% of the popular vote. People were photographed at the polls, and every one of the more than 11 million eligible voters participated, according tot he government. But who actually believes that the price mechanism of democracy was actually working in that country?
The same principle holds in the market for money and credit. We have interest rates, but they are rigged, and rigged by a central authority of 12 (or right now technically 10) unelected bureaucrats. We have prices, but they are distorted. We have the vestiges of a free market, just as Saddam had the vestiges of democracy, but they are in a coma.
To tell us what the Fed has done, and what it continues to do to the real economy and to the free market, we have contributing editor for the popular financial blog ZeroHedge, Bob English, on Capital Account today. He is also editor of Economic Policy Journal.