MAY 13, 2015 10:00am ET

Theories abound as to what caused the recent Baltimore urban riot, and the vast majority of them focus attention on the obvious problems of police, policing, racism, profiling and possible abuse. But looking at these issues is like treating a cough as if it is the actual cold. Social commentators and politicians are addressing the effects of a problem, not the cause. They are reacting to a problem instead of responding to it.

The problem of Baltimore and every other urban riot in America — including Ferguson, Mo., and the Rodney King riots in South Central Los Angeles — is the lack of a market economy.

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