Today would have been economist Milton Friedman’s 100th birthday. Friedman was far from perfect, philosophically. He was, indeed, the coauthor of the infamous 1946 pamphlet “Roofs or Ceilings?”, which Ayn Rand ruthlessly dissects in The Letters of Ayn Rand. That said, I have a great deal of admiration for Friedman, above all for his intellectual style. He had an almost unmatched ability to communicate complex, controversial ideas with clarity and charm.
Archive for July, 2012
If you would like to ask me a question, you can submit it here.
According to Obama, anyone proud of his own achievements and opposed to having the government tax and regulate them more must be so deluded as to think he never received any benefit from others. Since anyone living in society obviously has benefited from others, individual achievement is, well, not quite a myth, but a bit of a delusion.
Individual businessmen? Sure they contribute something, but it’s small change compared to the contribution of others—especially the state.
Obama wants to wipe out the enormous difference between people like my grandfather, who succeed because they choose to think, create, work, and build—and those who don’t.
What’s the biggest threat to economic freedom? An answer I’m hearing more and more often today is cronyism—businessmen seeking special favors from government.
There’s no question that a lot of businessmen are in bed with government—that they are asking for and getting special favors, exemptions, subsidies, and controls. But that is only one part of today’s real problem: the mixed economy.
Cronyism is not a system all its own. It is a product of today’s mixture of capitalism and state control. Under capitalism, the government’s only role is to protect voluntary trade by barring the initiation of force from human relationships. But once the government itself starts initiating force—regulating this, redistributing that, picking winners and losers—then the only thing that can result is pressure group warfare. One group lobbies for its favor, another group lobbies for its, all resulting in more and more government burdens placed on the rest of us.
Frankly I think putting the focus on cronyism is a copout. I suspect that for some at least it’s a way to try to curry favor with the left by blaming businessmen for today’s problems.