Want A Brilliant-Yet-Simple Explanation Of What’s Right With Free Market Enterprise And What’s WRONG With Liberalism? Milton Friedman Has It.

A reader sent me a link to great conservative economist Milton Friedman appearing on the Phil Donahue program 33 years ago (just as America was in the dismal throes of the Carter administration).

You can’t put it any better than this 2 1/2 minute explanation as to why free market economies thrive and leftist economies fail.

Milton Friedman and Phil Donahue Discuss Capitalist “Greed” vs. Socialist Redistribution of Wealth [1979]
On April 1, 2010, in economy, by velvethammer

Watch as economist Milton Freidman smacks down Donahue’s equating of capitalism with greed. If only Friedman were alive today to take Obama to school. What a debate that would be. Obama would not know what hit him, he would be left in a stuttering, stammering pile of um’s and uh’s. If only…

Milton Friedman as charming as he is brilliant. As gentle as he is razor sharp.


Donahue: When you see around the globe the mal-distribution of wealth, the desperate plight of millions of people in underdeveloped countries, when you see so few haves and so many have-nots, when you see the greed and the concentration of power, did you ever have a moment of doubt about capitalism and whether greed is a good idea to run on?

Friedman: Well, first of all, tell me is there some society you know that doesn’t run on greed? You think Russia doesn’t run on greed? You think China doesn’t run on greed? What is greed? Of course none of us are greedy; its only the other fellow who’s greedy.

The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests. The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way. In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade. If you want to know where the masses are worst off, it’s exactly in the kinds of societies that depart from that. So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear: that there is no alternative way so far discovered of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.

Donahue: But it seems to reward not virtue as much as ability to manipulate the system.

Friedman: And what does reward virtue? You think the communist commissar rewards virtue? You think a Hitler rewards virtue? You think – excuse me, if you will pardon me – do you think American presidents reward virtue? Do they choose their appointees on the basis of the virtue of the people appointed or on the basis of their political clout? Is it really true that political self interest is nobler somehow than economic self interest? You know I think you are taking a lot of things for granted. bJust tell me where in the world you find these angels who are going to organize society for us? Well, I don’t even trust you to do that.

Some choice Freidman quotage:

“The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit.”

“Nobody spends somebody else’s money as carefully as he spends his own. Nobody uses somebody else’s resources as carefully as he uses his own. So if you want efficiency and effectiveness, if you want knowledge to be properly utilized, you have to do it through the means of private property.”

“Governments never learn. Only people learn.”

“So the question is, do corporate executives, provided they stay within the law, have responsibilities in their business activities other than to make as much money for their stockholders as possible? And my answer to that is, no they do not”

“The only way that has ever been discovered to have a lot of people cooperate together voluntarily is through the free market. And that’s why it’s so essential to preserving individual freedom.”

“Most economic fallacies derive – from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.”

“Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.”

“What kind of society isn’t structured on greed? The problem of social organization is how to set up an arrangement under which greed will do the least harm; capitalism is that kind of a system”

“History suggests that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom. Clearly it is not a sufficient condition.”

“The society that puts equality before freedom will end up with neither. The society that puts freedom before equality will end up with a great measure of both.”

Ah!  The good old days when communist leaders could sip on fine cognac and eat caviar from the luxury of their Black Sea dachas while exhorting the proletariat to keep up the heroic fight for “the workers of the world”!!!

And now communist North Korean leaer Kim Jong Il – who lived a life of mind-boggling luxury while his people literally starved to death by the millions – is gone, too.

The left loves workers, everyone knows that, right?  That’s because they are fed lies by the ton by mainstream media propaganda that could have come from Stalin’s TASS or from Hitler’s Ministry of Propaganda.

Joseph Stalin loved the worker so much that he came up with a way guaranteed to have zero percent unemployment: if you ended up being unemployed, he declared you “indolent” under his “no shirking” policy and sent you off to a slave labor camp to be worked to death (see a Reader’s Digest version of that article here).  It was amazing how “motivated” workers were to participate in Stalin’s workforce!!!  Call it “GDP growth the hard way!”

No-one is unemployed, but many are in labour camps.”

Because that great big huggable socialist Joseph Stalin just loved his workers to death.  Literally.

That’s what you get when you take out the so-called “greed” incentive in an economy, for what it’s worth.

And what is the goal of our very own “deal leader” in America today?

Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.” — Michele Obama

See ya at camp, and I sure hope you’re looking as forward to your “re-education” and your opportunity to “move out of your comfort zone” when you’re “required to work” as I am!!!

Arbeit macht frei, mein comrades.  Arbeit macht frei.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

3 Responses to “Want A Brilliant-Yet-Simple Explanation Of What’s Right With Free Market Enterprise And What’s WRONG With Liberalism? Milton Friedman Has It.”

  1. Robbie Says:

    awesome – to liberals good intentions are more important than actual results. which is a horses ass way of going about anything.

  2. Robbie Says:

    me is this really michael moore?

  3. Michael Eden Says:


    I certainly agree that there are many liberals who have “good intentions,” and that of course when their policies turn disastrous it is immediately excused on the basis of said “good intentions.” But of course when a Republican policy doesn’t work out, it is because said Republicans are “evil.” Good intentions are simply not allowed in the case of Republicans.

    I’m having an interesting discussion with my conservative friend from Sweden, Penumbra, who said:

    Liberals are talking only about rights, no obligations, and when something goes wrong, it’s always someone else’s fault.

    That caused me to think a little bit about a connection I hadn’t previously made. And I responded:

    That is very insightful. It’s one thing to understand that blame and demagoguery are quintessential to the modern Democrat Party, and it’s one thing to understand that the Democrat Party is the party of “give me my rights and make someone else responsible to provide them by imposing the duties on THEM; but it’s insightful to recognize that the former is actually the inevitable result of the latter as you do here.

    Liberalism means never having to ever accept blame for anything no matter how diastrous it turns out to be. If they can’t make a Republcian responsible somehow, THEN it’s passed off as “good intentions.”

    Take our debt: it isn’t $16 trillion; it’s $211 TRILLION. And it turns out that Democrats – who imposed Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid WHEN THERE WERE VASTLY SUPERIOR PRIVATIZED SOLUTIONS AVAILABLE THAT THEY DIDN’T WANT BECAUSE THEY FAVORED DICTATORIAL GOVERNMENT – are nearly ENTIRELY responsible for that massive unpayable debt.

    So what do they do? They blame Reagan and Bush, who combined are maybe responsible for somewhere close to 1% of that mindboggling sum (Democrats being responsible for the rest). And if you actually get to an honest discussion where you can say, “But look at these Democrat programs and the insane debt they imposed on the nation to bankrupt the country,” well, THEN you’ll get “But they meant well, so it was okay.”

    But all that said, I believe there are a LOT of liberals today who have ANYTHING but “good intentions.” These people are just evil, and all they want is more and more government control. They want the power to dictate who wins and who loses. And they want to create a society in which they can guarantee their power in perpetuity based on the ability to buy votes by offering benefits that someone ELSE will invariably be forced to pay for.

    And if we go bankrupt and millions of people starve to death or die due to medical neglect, they frankly don’t give a damn.

    An awful lot of liberals have genuinely evil intentions, I would argue.

    P.S. I obviously have no idea about the “Michael Moore” thing. But it WAS an interesting discussion.

    Milton Friedman was truly quite an incredible man to be willing to share himself with idiotic young people like that….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: