Monday, June 6, 2011

Milton Friedman on Greed (1979)

This is an appearance of the influential economist Milton Friedman (1912 - 2006). Although he was wrong on monetarism, Milton Friedman was a strong voice of freedom against a predominate socialistic thinking public that existed during the 1960's and 1970's. In particular, notice Donahue's socialistic counter statements.

Milton Friedman and Walter Block had an interesting discussion about how free-market Friedrich von Hayek's famous work, The Road to Serfdom (see my earlier post) was, which can be found here. It was based on a paper by Walter Block. Friedman stressed the political climate at the time the book was wrote, whereas Block pointed out there were too many utilitarian and central planning insertions that would lead to a non free-market society. Although both make true claims, Block's claim is closer to how it is actually used in today's contexts, that is, it is regularly used to sanctify any position as a free-market position through misquotes. However, it's still an interesting read.

Friedman and Hayek were economic liberals and libertarians. They are widely read by all, especially Republicans (who want to sanctify their position). Block and Friedman's son David, who is mentioned, are Anarcho-Capitalists. It's entertaining to see these two great thinkers argue. Friedman uses a lot of ad hominem attacks, while Block uses some fallacious counters himself, like 'but your son also believes that too' type. Nevertheless, you can hear the great Milton Friedman below:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

'The Jokes that Ended the Dream'

You probably believe the commonly held position that Communism failed due to the lack of incentives. Those that are a little bit more educated would probably have heard of Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk's arguments against the labor theory of value and the Marxist exploitation theory, which can not be explain with regards to the stages of production and interest rates. Later, Ludwig von Mises argued that Socialism would fail, due to not having a pricing system that serve as allocator of scare resources within the economy. Even much later, Hayek argued the central planning could not satisfy the knowledge problem individuals. However, did you ever hear of Socialism failing because popular social criticism through humor?

In fact, many individuals were imprisoned in the Communist Eastern Block countries, like Hungary, which imprisoned 1,000,000 people in a population of 10,000,000. Socialism certainly is an easy target for the butt of jokes. After all, it is a system based on economic fallacy, covered up with lies, secrecy and coercive force. Nonetheless, Western people, including Eastern Europe, seem to have a long tradition of critic directed at authority that is unconquerable. I would suggest Aesop as being one of the first. One of the latest, however, would be 'Hammer & Tickle' by Ben Lewis. I think that this type of medicine would be good for the United States, which has been inidated by leftists and neo-conservatives, who believe in this type of unworkable system.

I know one joke about Communism was told to me by my uncle. I'll try to retell it as best as possible. He told it using 'dollars' though. 'A man when down to the local grocery store and began complaining about the price of the milk. "Why is this $1.37? I can buy this down the street for only $.75!" And the store owner replied, "Yeah, you can buy it for $.75, but it all sold out at $.60!"

I haven't seen that joke anywhere yet, but it reminds me of when I was at a local store and one clerk was telling the other clerk that a guy was there earlier complaining about how expensive a drink was. And the clerk said "...then why don't you go somewhere else?" (If you didn't think that was funny, it's because you don't understand economics!)

The follow is some clips from the movie version of the book:


This one is good for remembering what the social theories were for four leaders of the Soviet Union.

The rest will be listed on  hyperlinks: