Friday, November 17, 2006

Vale Friedman

If there is a more evil tenet in economics than that greed should be allowed to govern the course of human relations, I don't know of one.

The man who most strongly espoused it
has died.

Freedom is of course a wonderful thing. But those who advocate its increase conveniently ignore a truth about it: the more money you have, the more freedom you have. Increasing choice sounds great, but when you need to pay for that choice, increase means decrease for those without means. It's curiously Orwellian.

In a Rawlsian world, or one in which there were not the huge imbalances in personal worth that our world not only tolerates but encourages, perhaps allowing the markets to make our choices and restricting governments simply to manipulating the means of exchange would be good ideas. But in this one, they simply lead to richer rich people and poorer poor. The market does not put a price on sharing, nor on many intangibles that matter to us, nor, importantly, on anything that is not traded here and now, such as our future.

2 Comments:

Anonymous SinisterBaby said...

Friedman's "fight inflation first" dictum was popular after the stagflation of the 70s, however, it was his "small government" mantra that really appealed to conservatives like Reagan. Ironically, Reagan rescued the American economy in 1983 with Keynsian government spending, and the greatest peacetime military buildup in history.
Friedman died according to Keynes, who observed that we all die, in the end.

November 18, 2006 at 6:03 PM  
Anonymous SinisterBaby said...

Oops. I stuffed up the last sentence. It was supposed to be a play upon words. Maybe if you squint at it... And there's that errant comma. Oh well.

November 18, 2006 at 11:28 PM  

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