It turns out that free markets are not just an absence of government intervention, or even a simple and clear set of rules. Liberal market economies require a huge amount of what you might call "software" to run: not just a good legal system, but respect for the law; not just a central bank, but consensus about the central banker's role; not just unrestrained trade, but a shared set of assumptions about what sorts of trades are fair; not just penalties but trust; not just anti-corruption laws, but a society that demands corruption cease, rather than attempting to use it to get around inconvenient but necessary rules.

via Doing Business In Iraq - Megan McArdle - Business - The Atlantic.