Economists' usual list begins with distribution of income. There is no reason to believe that the distribution of income that emerges out of market processes is desirable or acceptable. Unbridled market forces without any role of government might lead to a large number of people living under subsistence. This is an area for government to do something. We know that unbridled economic forces can lead to big booms and big recessions. We need to do something about that. We know that a market can lead to pollution -- and there's an important role for government there. We know that there will be under-investment in public goods. As we think about the innovation economy, we should remember that most of the innovation in the private sector is based on research financed by the government, such as its role in developing the Internet.
Joseph Stiglitz, on question "In what sphere of life, if any, do you think it most important to limit the influence of market forces?", in "Nobel Laureates Offer Views on the Economy", Wall Street Journal (Sept. 3, 2004)