I'm not someone who argues that there is no legitimate place for government within a free market economy, but I am someone who believes that role must be very limited and monitored in the way business practices should be monitored.
The government's focus must be on maintaining open and fair competition. It has served this role well at times and it can do so in the future.
Problems arise when the government, for any
reason, decides to assist one or more parties in competing.
With such intervention there is usually a component of quid pro quo, but the practice isn't driven by corruption alone. Ideological influences can be the driver and in some ways this is more problematic.
If a government offical assists one company or industry to compete in return for something as crude as a bribe, such instances can be discovered and once discovered, effectively dealt with.
If the return on the assistance is financial but fits within the legal framework of campaign financial law, it is more insidious but at least a correlation between donations and influence can be shown and voters can react accordingly.
If however, the intervention is based on ideology, it is generally because the ideologue is not a particular fan of the system and wishes to undermine or drastically change it rather than simply inluence it. That intervention often isn't intended to benefit one commercial party as it is to limit the ability of all.
I don't know how much you know of the Gibson Company's difficulties with the Obama Administration, but it's worth looking into. In this case the government is not attempting to keep the competitive field of guitar manufacture level. From what I can tell it ties it's intervention into either ecological concerns or the enforcement of international trade agreements. Either is clearly bogus.
Gibson imports certain rare woods from India to be used in manufacturing its guitars. They can import the raw wood and have American workers use it to create fretboards or they can import fretboards assembled by Indian workers and incorporate them in its guitars.
The government of India is OK with Gibson importing the raw wood.
The Obama Administration has declared Gibson's possession of the raw wood to be illegal and sent an FBI swat team to raid it's factory in Tenessee and sieze the supplies.
Gibson operates in a union free, Right to Work state and the Gibson CEO is a fairly prominent Republican who has donated to Republican campaigns and causes.
Gibson's competitors all import the rare wood and have American workers assemble it, they are all unionized, and all are headed up by Democrats. The Administration has taken no action with any of these companies.
The Administration's solution for Gibson's problem?
Gibson must import the finished fretboards from India and lay off it's workers who assemble them in the US.
Thats the government protecting us from corporate greed?
I'm sure Gibson's unionized and Democrat run competitors are benefiting by this intervention, but it seems to be more of a case of punishing one company rather than helping others.