Is laissez-faire capitalism such a good thing?

From Poverty to Prosperity is full of excellent quotes. Here’s one from Robert Solow:
It is far from obvious to me that the way to foster competition is to leave the private sector alone. The private sector does not much like competition; it has its own ways of creating monopoly power, restricting access to wealth (and therefore to political rights), and preserving vested interests. It is no easy matter for a society to get the benefits of competition without the disadvantages of oligarchy, and there is no reason to believe that laissez-faire will do the trick.

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