It is not, however, the only thing that needs protection in a society and to be honest, when the chips are down, it's certainly not the first thing that needs protection. Unless and until we are willing to change our societal rules to 'suceed or die', we have other responsibilities besides simply free market protection.
What you see throughout history is that countries that adopt free market policies, and protection of this market, hugely increased their standards of living. We can see it happening right now in the BIRC countries.
What you see right now in those countries is what happens when any country goes from the 3rd world to first.
This is also what made the US to the superpower that it is/was. People flocked by the millions to the US for a chance to grow up in a society where you are free to chase your own rainbow. It did not have any migration laws, because it did not need to protect the nanny state. Business was booming, the US owned the largest portion of businesses around the world. But in less then 30 years they went from the worlds largest creditor, to the worlds largest debtor. When we clean this mess up here in the EU, the spotlight will be on the US. You guys will have to go over this fiscal cliff, my concern is if Obama is up for the task or will he kick the can down the road. At least with Romney you would have had someone with some economic sense at the wheel.
And we've run out of un-owned resources and people to exploit, so we aren't able to continue the boom times. We _could_ invade canada or mexico...
BRIC countries are already starting to slow their growth and will continue to do so because growth isn't sustainable forever. Unless we find new resources here or get out of the gravity well into space, growth like we just saw for the last 100-200 years is just not going to happen.