The current state and the current banking sector require each other. They are so reciprocally intertwined that each is an extension of the other. Remember this the next time somebody tells you, as New York Times columnist Bob Herbert did, that “free market madmen” caused the current financial crisis that is threatening to undermine the global economy. There is no free market. There is no “laissez-faire capitalism.” The government has been deeply involved in setting the parameters for market relations for eons; in fact, genuine “laissez-faire capitalism” has never existed. Yes, trade may have been less regulated in the nineteenth century, but not even the so-called Gilded Age featured “unfettered” markets.