Milton Friedman on greed, capitalism — and the alternatives (video)

Something to tide y’all over until the results from Florida start rolling in.

(H/t: Jonah Goldberg, who calls it a useful reminder “that we’ve seen all this nonsense [about greed] before. Note the year: 1979, the tail-end of another president’s single term.”)

The full interview is in parts one, two, three, four and five and covers topics ranging from auto bailouts to environmental regulations to the minimum wage. (See? Jonah was right: It’s nothing new.)

It’s a lot to watch. But if you do, you just might learn something.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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42 comments Add your comment

Dusty

January 31st, 2012
4:44 pm

Awww Kyle, I don’t want to read all that stuff ’cause I’m still in shock over the last subject.

Some people want the government to take care of them, tell them how to live, make their decisions, and then think they are not paying for their own loss of freedom.

Amazing! Then along comes Obama to give them their lockdown government. Surely there are more smart Democrats than THAT!!!!!! Please give me a little hope. Anybody???

David Green

January 31st, 2012
4:54 pm

Kyle you need to find someone with some credibility and not someone like Milton Friedman whose economic theories were used by Pinochet to destroy Chile’s economy. I suggest that you educate yourself by reading “The Shock Doctrine The Rise of Disaster Capitalism written by Naomi Klein as your ignorance borders on the pathological as does the average conservative.

Dusty

January 31st, 2012
5:00 pm

David Green,

Snobbish pseudo-intellectuals are neither attractive nor informative. Same for “shock doctrines”.

Please take your ill mannered comments to the laundry. You are a guest here, not the host.

Rafe Hollister

January 31st, 2012
5:03 pm

Let me get this straight, Augie Pinochet used Milton Friedman’s economic theories to destroy Chile’s economy. Kinda like Barry Oblamer used Keynesian theories to destroy America’s economy?

Gotta read up on Chile’s economy, I thought it was doing better than ours.

Rafe Hollister

January 31st, 2012
5:10 pm

From Economywatch.com

Chile has a strong economy, characterized by high volumes of foreign trade and a sound economic policy. Chile’s exports account for 40% of its GDP and have experienced growth of 4% since 1999.
____________________________
Seems 4% is pretty darn good compared to our measly 1.7%, last qtr.

Of course, they probably have some one in charge that is more economically oriented than Barry Oblamer. Guess ole Milton did not do that much damage if they recovered that quickly.

Helps if the guy in charge is not trying to implement an agenda rather than pulling the economy out of the ditch.

Dusty

January 31st, 2012
5:14 pm

Rafe,

I was also under the impression Chile’s economy was OK.

After their rescue of those miners miles underground in the most miraculous achievement in present history, I have held the citizens there in high esteem. Their concern for those miners no matter the cost was inspiring. It was just one event but such a good one.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

January 31st, 2012
5:15 pm

Don’t bother watching libs, the dude won’t be giving up any info in regards to gaming the food stamp system and the like.

He probably doesn’t even speak your language, that being Elbozoin.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

January 31st, 2012
5:17 pm

Liberals are a total drag on the whole system, it’s like trying to fly a plane with a bunch of people hanging off of it.

Linda

January 31st, 2012
5:24 pm

Friedman was an American economist, statistician, academic, author & recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. He was the 1st or 2nd most influential economist of the 20th century. He was a reformed Keynesian. If Clinton, Bush & Obama had followed his principles, we would have NO natl. debt today.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

January 31st, 2012
5:24 pm

Can you imagine what it would have been like back in the days of the Wild West to have a couple of panty waist libs in the back of your covered wagon, whining and moaning all the way across the country?

I would have traded their asses to the injuns for a bottle of firewater.

Rafe Hollister

January 31st, 2012
5:36 pm

I Report
As Rush Limbaugh says, we could quickly balance our trade with China, if we could send them a couple hundred enviro wacko, occupy Bejing, big spending, debt loving, bed wetting libs.

Linda

January 31st, 2012
5:43 pm

One hour & a half. Comments from 2 liberals. I bet a wad of food stamps they are NOT busy watching the videos!

I bet the opinion writer of the cult blog is beating his head against the wall that Kyle beat him to the punch of presenting these videos first.

arnold

January 31st, 2012
5:56 pm

When I was in graduate school, Milton Friedman’s economic followers were called Friedmaniacs. They are still considered maniacal nut cases.

Jimmy62

January 31st, 2012
5:56 pm

David Green: Pinochet only partially enacted Friedman’s ideas. Then he went off the reservation and did his own thing and that’s when it all fell apart. “Shock Doctrine”, which I have read, is full of inaccuracies and even “facts” that simply aren’t true.

Of Pinochet was also an authoritarian ruler, and another Friedman, one Thomas of the NYT, probably loved him because he loves all authoritarians because “they can get stuff done.” Just like China.

And as others have pointed out, Chile currently has one of the strongest economies in South America, with less of a welfare state than we have.

Linda

January 31st, 2012
6:13 pm

arnold, You are a perfect example of the reason we must remove progressives from every level of education. Are you aware that you were taught a different US history than those of us who are older? If Friedman was wrong & Keynes was right, why is our economy still in a mess & why are we $16 T in debt?

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

January 31st, 2012
6:29 pm

Democrats always forget half of Keynes’ theory, wherein the government is small enough to run surpluses during good economic times.

Democrats: Keynesian retards.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

January 31st, 2012
6:30 pm

Libtards fear free markets. They need government to protect them from folks who don’t mind working for a living.

Kyle Wingfield

January 31st, 2012
6:39 pm

David Green: You suggest more credibility and then bring up … Naomi Klein?

Look, some people love Friedman and some people hate him. Here are the facts:

From 1973, when Pinochet staged the coup, through 1989, his last full year in power, Chile’s economy grew by 80 percent, after adjusting for inflation. This was among the best growth rates in Central and South America and, for further comparison, topped every member of the USSR in that time (save tiny Georgia and, economically speaking, Turkmenistan). In just 16 years, Chile’s economy surpassed the size of Peru’s, which was one-third larger than Chile’s in 1973.

The democratic government that took over in 1990 largely kept or built upon most of the reforms from the 1970s and ’80s. From 1973 to 2010 the Chilean economy quintupled in size, easily the best performance during that time span in South America.

None of this is to defend Pinochet in all respects; he was a brutal dictator. Nor to say Friedman and his colleagues got everything exactly right; after the problems in Russia with private property rights and the rise of the oligarchs, he revised his mantra of “Privatize, privatize, privatize” to “Privatize, privatize, privatize — but first, the rule of law.” But this idea that the Chicago Boys nearly destroyed Chile, and that the country has become a regional economic power in spite of their efforts to tame inflation and open the economy to global trading, is what’s pathologically ignorant.

MarkV

January 31st, 2012
6:48 pm

I have not had time to view the interview, only a short piece, but in that part it was obvious that Friedman was debating, in my view, wrong choices – free market system vs. government-run economy. I do not see any responsible people arguing in favor of government-run economy. I will watch more when I have the time, but just as a government-run economy is a bad idea, so is the fantasy of those who believe that government should not be involved in the market at all. Therefore, for reasonable people it becomes a question of the appropriate amount of involvement, and not of some sharp differences in philosophies.

Dusty

January 31st, 2012
6:48 pm

Great response, Kyle. A positive statement of reason.

ragnar danneskjold

January 31st, 2012
7:03 pm

You cannot watch Friedman and not love him. What a great mind, and a wonderful sense of reality. Not like the failed utopians in this world.

carlosgvv

January 31st, 2012
7:19 pm

Milton Friedman was a brilliant conservative economist who won the Nobel prize. However, there are equally brilliant liberal economists whose philosophy is quite different. So, we non-economists will have to think for ourselves on this.

arnold

January 31st, 2012
7:20 pm

“Linda

January 31st, 2012
6:13 pm

Linda

January 31st, 2012
5:24 pm

“arnold, You are a perfect example of the reason we must remove progressives from every level of education. Are you aware that you were taught a different US history than those of us who are older? ”

Are you older than 72?

JF McNamara

January 31st, 2012
7:20 pm

Hardcore Republicans are a trip.

I don’t think there are a lot of Americans out there who want to do away with capitalism. That must be what you guys here on the radio or something, because I’ve never met an American who didn’t like capitalism.

What people do want to get away from is some of the intrinsic unfairness that develops in a capitalist system that is unchecked. When you allow those winning the game to bend the rules to stop others from moving up, then capitalism will fail.

For example, take a game of monopoly. Unlike our brand of capitalism, the only disadvantage any player has is who rolls first. What happens in the game is that one person ruthlessly drives everyone else out of the game. The other players are so defeated near the end of the game that there is no way that they can actually catch up. That point is where capitalism fails, because at that point there is no reason to continue to play the game. Players lose their motivation.

Friedman is right, and I don’t think a lot of liberals would actually disagree with him about the self preservation and working aspects. They just want a fair system to keep the game from going into the area where there is no point in playing the game anymore.

Our forefathers understood this perfectly, and that is why we have antitrust regulations, Glass Steagall, and the inheritance tax. They had lived through the Trust era, the great depression, and time when individual citizens had more money than the government and understood that those eras only existed because capitalism was allowed to go on unchecked.

They were just as smart as us, and we need to listen to them. We’ve already seen the consequences of ignoring them in 2008.

Briley Parkway

January 31st, 2012
7:21 pm

Frumunda, John Maynard Keynes couldn’t carry Milton Friedman’s jockstrap….and history has proven that time and again

Hillbilly D

January 31st, 2012
7:28 pm

a useful reminder “that we’ve seen all this nonsense [about greed] before. Note the year: 1979, the tail-end of another president’s single term.”)

Comparing apples to oranges. Unemployment was high then but not as high as now. Inflation was high then and it’s not as high now, although higher than the figures show. In the time since 1979, real wages have stayed flat or gone down for a large percentage of the population. Real income at the top levels have risen sharply, in the same time. The trend toward off-shoring, while in full swing in the blue collar sector back then, hadn’t got started in the rest of the employment sector. Of course, few outside the blue collar world gave a damn about jobs going out of the country back then. Funny how things can change when it gets close to home.

Different times, different circumstances. In 1979, the pendulum was at the apex of its arc in one direction and now it’s high on the arc on the other side of its path.

Typical Liberal Blogger

January 31st, 2012
7:29 pm

Obama gonna by me a house and I aint’s gots to pay nuthin!

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

January 31st, 2012
7:39 pm

I don’t think there are a lot of Americans out there who want to do away with capitalism.
———

Maybe not, but when one gets into our White House, it’s a huge problem, as the economy-wrecking Obozo demonstrates.

To quote your big-eared fascist, “at some point, you’ve made enough money”. Friend of capitalism? Only an idiot would respond in the affirmative.

harold

January 31st, 2012
7:44 pm

Nobody argues that capitalism isn’t the best way to advance the standard of living. The argument is over the “already-enhanced-by-capitalism” status quo and the issues that arise in governing hundreds of millions of citizens…. Abortion. Taxes. Education. Infrastructure. Defense. If you’re pro abortion you are not automatically anti-capitalism. If you don’t believe that the infrastructure needs a refresh, then you’re not anti-capitalism.

And the idea that capitalism can be defined by how greed affects it is equally stupid.

The leap of logic is absurd. You’re all arguing the same point from the same side, and it appears that you all think the winner is the one with the most eloquent put down.

Rafe Hollister

January 31st, 2012
7:57 pm

Hillbilly D
I’m no expert here, but as for inflation, you can’t compare the numbers now with during the 70’s. The government has drastically changed the way inflation is measured. They deliberately removed items from their survey that they deemed were too volatile, like food and gas. They have also “fixed” the unemployment numbers as well. CBO today reported that “real” unemployment is about 10%.

Don’t know what good the numbers are that people use everyday, when we all know they are rigged.

Linda

January 31st, 2012
8:11 pm

Mr. McNamara@7:20, You’ve never met an American who didn’t like capitalism? Does that mean that you haven’t met Obama in person?

Capitalism is unfair. It separates the winners from the losers. Only dictators can declare what is FAIRNESS.

If I’m not mistaken, our forefathers never lived thru the Great Depression, as you claimed. The Great Depression nor this Great Recession would have never happened had the fed. govt. stuck to the principles of the Constitution & stayed out of the free market. This Great Recession would be over had our lawmakers conformed to the principles of Friedman.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

January 31st, 2012
8:12 pm

Looks like Romney is going to take Florida by about 15%-16% over Gingrich.

Astounding turnaround in 10 days following South Carolina.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

January 31st, 2012
8:31 pm

The Great Depression nor this Great Recession would have never happened had the fed. govt. stuck to the principles of the Constitution & stayed out of the free market.
——

Correct.

More interference in free market capitalism = bigger economic meltdowns.

Thanks, Democrats.

@@

January 31st, 2012
9:14 pm

Success is a ladder you cannot climb with your hands in your pockets.- American proverb

An AMERICAN proverb.

Kewl!

I would add that “Success is a ladder we cannot climb with government’s hands in our pockets.”

Dusty

January 31st, 2012
9:37 pm

There is an air of unfairness about this Florida vote.

Romney spent many millions more than Gingrich in his efforts to win Florida.

Almost sounded like people voted on the one that had the most money.

I hate elections that sound like they are won with money. Then comes Obama. Is big money going to reelect him? That’s a disturbing thought.

I love this country. Going downhill does not suit me.

Hillbilly D

January 31st, 2012
9:57 pm

Rafe @ 7:57

Good point about the skewing of the numbers. I forget what inflation was but seems like it was around 12-15% in the late 70’s. (remember the Misery Index?) I don’t really know what the numbers are now but I do know that I keep close track of my non-discretionary expenses, each year; i.e. what I have to spend to live. For 2011 they were up about 7% and for 2010 it was over 6%. So, inflation isn’t as bad as the Carter years but it’s much worse than what the “numbers” show, at least in my household. And hey call me selfish but my household is what I base things on.

Hillbilly D

January 31st, 2012
10:00 pm

The Depression of the 1930’s wasn’t anything new. The U. S. had panics in 1819, 1837, 1857, 1873, 1893 and 1907, just to hit the high spots.

Michael H. Smith

January 31st, 2012
10:35 pm

Uh Dusty, Fairness that guarantees the result you desire is not a Constitutional protect right or an American principle, founding or otherwise. “The Equal Fairness” dogma of “Social Justice” belongs to and is drawn from a page in the lexicon of obama and the Marxist.

The coinage of politics found in free and open democratic elections has two sides, Dusty: Money&Speech

Some people can speak louder than others because they’ve earned the PRIVILEGE to have their speech heard over the rest who have earned less voice with which to speak. It is this principle and only upon this principle that I can reasonably justify my support and advocacy of a two tier(10/15) “Flat Tax”.

Yes, the so-called “Evil Rich” should pay a slightly higher(progressive) tax rate – not out of some Marxist fairness or redistribution stupidity – but because of and for the very politically superior privilege that their abundance of money gives to them in the form of that politically “LOUDER VOICE” on the side of speech.

Nevertheless, speaking the right message often trumps speaking the wrong one loudly.

The country will be in good hands so long as those hands don’t belong the obama and the democrats, Dusty &@@.

Romney 2012

Michael H. Smith

January 31st, 2012
10:43 pm

Two oopsy above and it is past my bedtime… Goodnight to all.

Donna

February 1st, 2012
7:31 am

Need to also read Growing Unequal? Income Distribution and Poverty in OECD Countries —- And the winner here? CHILE
Chile’s score of 0.50 is far higher than the overall average (0.31) of the rest of the countries. The indicator showed 18.9% of Chileans are poor, which almost doubles the figure of 10% for the OECD’s overall average. Chile has the third-most number of people living in poverty on the list, trailing only Israel and Mexico.

Released on April 12, Growing Unequal? brings together a range of analyses on the distribution of economic resources in OECD countries. The evidence on income distribution and poverty covers, for the first time, all 30 OECD countries in the mid-2000s, while information on trends extending back to the mid-1980s is provided for around two-thirds of the countries.

The report also describes inequalities in a range of domains (such as household wealth, consumption patterns, in-kind public services) that are typically excluded from conventional discussion about the distribution of economic resources among individuals and households. Precisely how much inequality there is in a society is not determined randomly, nor is it beyond the power of governments to change, so long as they take note of the sort of up-to-date evidence included in this report.

http://www.oecd.org/document/4/0,3343,en_2649_33933_41460917_1_1_1_1,00.html

Donna

February 1st, 2012
9:19 am

See also Divided We Stand: Great information published on the disparity and inequality between rich and poor across the globe. In Chile the difference is the largest at a rich to poor ratio of 27:1

http://www.oecd.org/document/51/0,3746,en_2649_33933_49147827_1_1_1_1,00.html
In the three decades prior to the recent economic downturn, wage gaps widened and household income inequality increased in a large majority of OECD countries. This occurred even when countries were going through a period of sustained economic and employment growth. This report analyses the major underlying forces behind these developments:

- An Overview of Growing Income Inequalities in OECD Countries (free .pdf)

- Special Focus: Inequality in Emerging Economies (free .pdf)

- Part I. How Globalisation, Technological Change and Policies Affect Wage and Earnings Inequalities

- Part II. How Inequalities in Labour Earnings Lead to Inequalities in Household Disposable Income

- Part III. How the Roles of Tax and Transfer Systems Have Changed

David Green

February 1st, 2012
6:05 pm

Kyle

In 1982 in spite of adhering to the Chicago doctrine Chiles economy crashed, its debt sky rocketed and unemployment hit 30 percent 10 times what it was under President Allende. The main cause being the Enron-style financial houses that were freed from regulation who then proceeded to buy up all of the counties assets on borrowed money to the tune of 14 billion. Pinochet created a corporatist state that which many Chileans came to see as a war of the rich against the middle class and poor. By 1988 when the economy had stabilized, and was growing rapidly 45 percent of the population had fallen below the poverty line. The richest 10 percent of Chileans saw their income increase 83 percent. Even in 2007 Chile remained one of the most unequal countries in the world ranking 116 out of 123 counties in which the United Nations tracks inequality making it the eighth most unequal country on the list. From Chapter 3 subheading The Myth of the Chilean Miracle in the book The shock Doctrine written by Naomi Kline.

Time after time I’ve watched front men for the republican party such as yourself help elect into office men like Reagan whose policies set into motion the very conditions that eventually led to the economic meltdown in 2008. It was under his watch that the Fed. RICO laws were created that allows the govt. to steal the property of anyone accused of a crime before being convicted. With Bush 2 we ended up with poisoned peanut better, spinach and tomatoes and paying for a war {Iraq} this nation was tricked into waging on false pretenses. As well as the socialization of risk by bailing out the mega banks

It is a well know fact that republican politicians are bought lock, stock and barrel by the corporations who fund their reelection campaigns who then only pretend to serve the people and only talk like a conservative in order to get reelected. Indeed David Ralston is so brazen and attached to the system of bribery here in Georgia that he believes that he can kill the ethics reform bill and still get reelected.

In reality Kyle what you are defending is a gradual merging of corporate power and influence with the state {Fascism as defined by it’s creator Mussolini} which always leads to the vast majority of the population living in poverty while the elites continue to build their wealth at the expense of everybody else. As a self professed Christian you suffer from a vary bad case of self deception otherwise you would hang your head in utter shame.