"Free or Equal", A look back at Milton Friedman

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Forum topic by superstretch posted 10-18-2011 03:43 PM 1311 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10-18-2011 03:43 PM

I don’t know if anyone has seen the special that was on PBS last night, “Free or Equal”, but it seems especially appropriate in light of the OWS movements that have been going on around the world. Last night was really the first time that I’ve heard more than anecdotes about the man or his name mentioned alongside people like Ron Paul.

As I’m not an economist, this look back on the 1980 series “Free to Choose” was very enlightening and I wondered what others had to say about Milton Friedman and his philosophies.

Teaser video:

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

7 replies so far

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#1 posted 10-18-2011 04:14 PM

Dan, I believe most of the turmoil we see in the national and world economy is the result of “growing pains” associated with the globalization of the marketplace.

Basically, the problem boils down to the fact that while many nations participate, each has it’s own set of rules for its own players. How well would the NFL work if each team had its own rule book? There would be constant squabbling about which rules to use in a game, which ones gave an unfair advantage to a certain team, and so forth.

Just as an example, if one country allows sweatshops that force their workers to toil 12 hours a day for pocket change, how can a U.S. factory operating under U.S. labor laws compete?

I doubt the solution will come in my lifetime. Possibly, there could one day be a worldwide governing body on trade and labor practices. Or maybe the “new world order” will come to pass, and there will only be one government for everyone.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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#2 posted 10-19-2011 07:05 AM

thanks dan for the video; i’ve always liked to hear thomas sowell, and milton friedman speak
i wish there was away stop the academic restructionists,that grow our government ranks and keep pushing our nation to a socialist way of life.
may the rise of the Tea Partiers be ever so pointed, come Nov. 2012

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#3 posted 10-19-2011 11:45 AM

This is really BS and propaganda. Monopoly capitalism is what we have without any rules or regulation now. It has lead to a few greedy corps destroying the world economy. The US tax payers bailed the gamblers out because they are too big to fail. Domestic competition is what has always produced quality products and bargains for consumers. Now, we are just getting lots of cheap junk on the market.

Nobody attends Tea party events anymore. They figured out they were little more than fools and whipping boys for the elite. They did elect almost a 100 to the last Congress. Their elite backers were appauled by their out of control antics that caused the down grade of US credit. Boner couldn’t whip his boys into line. What the heck kind of a Speaker of the House is that?

OWS agenda is supported by about 75% of the population. A recent Time Magazine poll revealed the majority of Americans say neither party represents their interests in Congress. People are starting to wake up. Will they get it in time to cause change in 2012? Who knows? The people will demand another FDR. will it be Obama in 2012? Or somebody else in 2016? I don’t know, but the Koch brothers have anointed Chris Christie for the 2016 R nomination. He will be running with Mitt Romney this next fall. I doubt if they can win if Obama gets his head out of where the sun never shines in time.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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#4 posted 10-19-2011 08:13 PM

Topa- Thanks for the comment. The reason why I posted this here was to try to get both sides of the argument. I should mention though, that the US isn’t really a free market economy.. if it was, we wouldn’t be having these problems—taxpayers wouldn’t be bailing companies out (shareholders, perhaps, if invested enough), competition would be at an all time high (and we wouldn’t be stagnating on the technology front, compared to Japan and HK), and politics wouldn’t even be a player, ending lobbying, special interests, etc.

I won’t really touch on the Tea Party, as that was really just a showcase of what politicians will say they are to get into office..

Last I heard, the approval rating of OWS was around 54%, but that was as of last Friday or so. Last night, I typed up some thoughts on the misalignment of what OWS is protesting against compared to what they contribute that problem to. In fact, Friedman and Norberg hit on exactly that point.

Ultimately, the proof is in the pudding, and places like Chile, Hong Kong, and Estonia show the successes of FMC. Heck.. even the boom in the late 80s and 90s can be linked back to Friedman’s influence with Reagan.

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

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#5 posted 10-19-2011 08:56 PM

To comment on Charlie’s conclusion, there soon will be world economy and government. The only problem is its going to also come with a religous system. How will the world work together? A single world religion will be established as manditory for all people. The world elites already believe it, and its New Age Luciferianism.

-- And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord... Colossians 3:23

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18639 posts in 4128 days

#6 posted 10-19-2011 09:04 PM

By Free Trade, I mean free and open to all while they have barriers on our exports.

The Time polls and others show from about 70 to 85% support for the goals of the OWS movement.

The boom of the 90s was fueled by technology. It would have happened no matter what the policies were. Bringing those products and services to market was not an economic policy issue, simply a matter of getting the price down to affordable to middle class income levels. Greenspan was hailed as a great hero. He was a total disaster that happened to be there when it happened. He even admitted to Congress that everything he believed in about the magic hand of the market taking care of fraud and other criminal activities was wrong. WE now have the derivatives disaster as his legacy.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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1531 posts in 3146 days

#7 posted 10-19-2011 09:37 PM

Topa- To a certain extent, even I support OWS, but I arrive at a different conclusion as to the root cause of the problems they mention. Sadly, a lot of OWS-ers obfuscate the issues with the whole “I’m a hipster that went to college, couldn’t find a job, and now have huge loans, so I deserve a bailout” line. How is their greed and irresponsibility any different from those in charge of the banks?

In a FMC economy, the banks wouldn’t have gotten the bailouts.. but then they probably also wouldn’t have needed them, as the market (nee the consumer) would have done the regulating.

I’ve never been a fan of Greenspan.. Nor of Bernanke and the rest of the current crew. History is just repeating itself by us taking advantage of a boom and driving it into the ground by our newfound (and newly-lost) wealth.. But to clarify, Greenspan laid the blame not on the ideal of capitalism, but on the implementation of it in the US.

You mention tech being the source of the 90s boom.. FMC encourages even faster growth in those areas, which drives down prices and makes things accessible to all. In Norberg’s presentation, he compares the percentage of luxury appliance ownership among people in poverty. Around 50% own an air conditioner now. Almost all of them own a refrigerator and a microwave. That really speaks to how far down prices have gone and how lucky we are to have access to these now “staples”. With prices down and competition fierce, technology would advance at much higher rates. We now have sites like Yelp. Craigslist, Angieslist, Google reviews, etc., all accessible via computer or smartphone. If that doesn’t shape and benefit a capitalist economy, what will?

Friedman didn’t just operate on principals and theories.. He had measurable and sustainable positive results in places where they embraced FMC.

Anyways.. Topa, I appreciate your comments. I’m still a youngin’ that hasn’t had the chance to see all angles of an issue or experienced more than a generation’s worth of problems. I apologize if the paragraphs above are somewhat disjointed.. I’ve been writing this comment on and off for about 20 minutes ^_^

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

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