Τετάρτη, 10 Φεβρουαρίου 2016

10 φράσεις του Μίλτον Φρήντμαν που κάνουν έξαλλους τους αριστερούς

1. “The Great Depression, like most other periods of severe unemployment, was produced by government mismanagement rather than by any inherent instability of the private economy.”

One of the favorite arguments of modern leftists is that the Great Depression was somehow caused by an “unfettered” free market in the 1920s. Needless to say, this is blatantly false, as Friedman points out in this quote from the 1962 classic, Capitalism and Freedom. It was rather the excessive government entanglements instigated by the Wilson, Hoover and Roosevelt Administrations which created, and later prolonged, the Depression.


2. “The world runs on individuals pursuing their self 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.”

Friedman made this quote in an interview with Phil Donahue in 1979. Leftists love to decry “greed” and “selfishness” as reasons why the government must get involved in what should otherwise be private affairs. However, as Friedman points out, while alluding to Adam Smith‘s “invisible hand,” personal initiative is what drives others to do good for society, sometimes unintentionally. Even the most selfish and loathsome individual must please others if they wish to get ahead.


3. “Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government.”

When progressives attempt to justify market regulations, they often claim it is only for our own good. If corporations were left to do their own bidding, bigwigs would have no problem alienating consumers in order to make an extra dollar. However, it is government, not private entities, which has a history of violating basic human rights. While companies must remain accountable to consumers if they wish to prosper, governments must be accountable to no one.


4. “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.”

Referring to the central tenet of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations in his 1980 book Free to Choose, Friedman tears down the forever-enduring mantra of class warfare espoused by so many leftists. While leftists wish to destroy the rich in order to help the poor, Friedman points out that the former is not necessary to produce the latter. We should pursue policies that benefit all parties, namely a free market.


5. “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.”

In this quote, Friedman makes a reference to the same theory he posits in his famous “pencil” segment. Free markets create some of the only forces that can bring together millions of people from completely different backgrounds and unite them all in a common, mutually beneficial cause. Each country and citizen may have a different talent or resource to offer, but those only become of use when fused together through the power of capitalism.


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

Also lost in modern leftist thought is that not every transaction has to involve someone being “taken advantage of.” While there are certain actors in the marketplace who certainly have more bargaining power, they seek to benefit by offering labor and goods to those beneath them on the socioeconomic ladder. It is up to each party in a negotiation to determine if they would be better off following a proposed transaction. Only those involved in such a free exchange have the ability to truly understand the stakes and determine the most desirable result.


7. “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.”

Here, Friedman decries the ineptitude of government. No matter what simple service is tasked to the state, it appears all too obvious that bureaucrats will perform that task in a manner much more expensively and much less efficiently than do private actors. There are a number of reasons why this happens, but perhaps most importantly, government does not have find itself with the same necessity to adapt in order to survive.


8. “I think the government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem and very often makes the problem worse.”

Friedman made this statement in his 1975 book An Economist’s Protest. There are literally too many examples of this in action to list, but needless to say, Friedman has plenty of evidence to substantiate his claim. Far too often, when government attempts to extend a “helping hand” to those in need, no matter the reason, those being “helped” actually end up getting harmed.


9. “Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.”

Another brilliant quote from Capitalism and Freedom, it is of particular importance now. Just as Republicans from 2001-2009 attempted to give as much power as possible to George W. Bush, Democrats have made the same overtures during the Obama Presidency. In the interim, whoever has controlled either chamber of Congress is seemingly always trying to eliminate debate and expedite government action. However, we must always ponder not how any government policy might be utilized by current actors, but by future actors.


10. “Indeed, a major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that it . . . gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.”

In this final amazing quote from Capitalism and Freedom, Friedman explains that one cannot claim to be in favor of “freedom” without being in favor of free markets. Indeed, true liberty cannot exist if one is not free to engage in voluntary and mutually beneficial transactions. If someone is advocating against such free market policies, it is fair to say that their problem is not with capitalism, but with individual freedom.



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