Geek with a .45 makes an important point in this current post. I often hear the planned economy folks talking about the horrible perils of the free market. They have a point. The market is not an all-knowing, all-seeing hive mind. At best it represents the collected wisdom from a huge number of professionals. At worst, market movements are based on total SWAGs or groupthink reinforced by peer pressure and investor dollars. But the important thing to remember is that the free market is fundamentally free.
The free market is the result of allowing people to spend their money how they choose and with whom they choose. They get to use their insight and their money how they see fit and with whom they see fit. This is their fundamental right as free individuals. The more you infringe on this process, the more you must infringe on the fundamental rights of property and association.
Now some of these infringements are good ideas. I don't mind financial professionals having to be regulated and licensed to handle other people's money any more than I mind engineers having to be licensed to design a bridge other people will drive across. Ditto independent auditing requirements. But ultimately these laws reinforce the market by insuring the trustworthiness of free market agents. This is a good thing.
Still, I'm wary of those touting ideas like planned economies. Because they're ultimately about removing free choice from a group of people, in favor of something else. Often that something else defaults to decisions by a bunch of political appointees who could never get anywhere in the free market. And if the free market continues to be a nuisance to these people, soon that group denied free choice will grow include you and me.
Markets are ugly and they're messy. They're fallible and they can be manipulated. They can definitely use some level of regulation just to maintain trust and honestly. But they're free and that, in and of itself, is worth something.