Law & Economics Working Papers
The major function of criminal law in a capitalist society is to prevent people from bypassing the system of voluntary, compensated exchange—the "market," explicit or implicit—in situations where, because transaction costs are low, the market is a more efficient method of allocating resources than forced exchange… When transaction costs are low, the market is, virtually by definition, the most efficient method of allocating resources. Attempts to bypass the market will therefore be discouraged by a legal system bent on promoting efficiency.
Bernard E. Harcourt, "Neoliberal Penality: The Birth of Natural Order, the Illusion of Free Markets" (John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics Working Paper No. 433, 2008).