Milton Friedman and Phil Donahue – 1979

In this 1979 excerpt from the Phil Donahue Show Milton Friedman brilliantly clarifies the case for free market capitalism as a means for pulling people out of poverty.

Pay particular attention at the 2:25 mark when Donahue laments: “Capitalism appears to reward the ability to manipulate the system.” While I enjoy Mr. Friedman’s response, I would add this:

“What exactly is the system that you speak of?  Is it the political system?  If so, wouldn’t it be advisable to reduce rather than increase the effects and influence of government and politics in the private economy so that government officials couldn’t be used as tools by unscrupulous people?”

This video should be required viewing by high school students.  It clearly demonstrates socialist arguments for egalitarian justice typically come from an emotional rather than logical and fact-based world view.

A relatively recent (and popular) distortion of Friedman’s views comes from Niomi Klein’s book, Disaster Capitalism.  Her theory posits that capitalism only spreads when a disaster is induced on an economy and its people.  She supports  her argument by misstating history and by applying flawed analysis of cause and effect.  She wrongfully attacks Friedman.

A through review of the book and Ms Klein’s misuse of Friedman’s views is provided by Johan Norberg in his October 2008 post at Reason.

No doubt, Ms Klein is well intended and is disturbed by the injustice she see’s in the world.  Unfortunately she  relies on distortions of history and attacks on a dead man to make her flawed thesis fly.  History has shown that fascist regimes are sometimes (not always) started by people with good intentions.  It has also demonstrated that these governments always erode into something less noble.

Here’s another video which includes excerpts of Klein and Friedman.  Some of Friedman’s comments were no doubt recorded before Klein was old enough to feed herself.  Who appears to be more scholarly and credible to you?

When Klein speaks “we” means socialists and “they” means free market capitalists.

You’ll have to decide for yourself whether you think Ms. Klein’s book has merit.  Don’t buy Ms. Klein’s  book. Go to your library and check it out.  When your done, do a little reading about Milton Friedman and read some of his books.  If you do, you’ll understand who makes more credible and fact-based arguments.

Perhaps this study will provide some context for what our government is doing today.   What do you think?

Videos provided via YouTube by Mearbhrach’s Channel and Advocate1234 of copiousdissent.


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