In Greg Mankiw’s intro text books he provides seven principles of economics, one is that sometimes governments can improve markets. Sometimes government can screw up markets too. This recent New York times piece discusses how cheap basic pain medication (morphine) can not be purchased in developing countries due to international laws aimed to prevent the spread of heroin. Sometimes markets fail, a recent Atlantic monthly article discusses Bill Clinton’s new foundation that tries to create markets for AIDS drugs and bio-friendly products by agreeing to purchase large quantities. Often Clinton works with developing countries to purchase medicine to distribute it to the poor. In which case I think governments are improving on markets.
The Atlantic article is subscription based, but a link to help you find it is here.