Sunday, May 06, 2012

Milton Friedman - The Free Lunch Myth



80 Comments:

At 5/06/2012 8:49 AM, Blogger Jon said...

Why are we still listening to Friedman? As Brad Delong recently explained (linked via Krugman here), I think we can at this point judge his claims to be false.

His theories sounded plausible so maybe you can't blame him for accepting them. But now they've been implemented. Chile, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Nicaragua, Haiti. All of Africa basically. Today austerity is tried in Greece, Ireland, and Spain. The worst performing sectors in EU. Finally more mainstream people, like DeLong, are admitting what the hard left has been saying for a long time. Friedmanite policies are a disaster.

 
At 5/06/2012 8:58 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"... I think we can at this point judge his claims to be false"...

Well maybe jon but you would have specify which planet Friedman's claims are wrong on...

Maybe on planet Krugman where 'pandering to parasites' is cool Friedman's claims might possibly be wrong...

 
At 5/06/2012 9:14 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

Yes, I'll stop listening to Friedman right away. According to Jon, there IS such a thing as a free lunch.

Thank God Jon cleared that up for us.

 
At 5/06/2012 9:52 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Jon says "Why are we still listening to Friedman?"

Because he made valuable contributions for a better understanding of economics.

 
At 5/06/2012 9:59 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Ben S. Bernanke
March 2, 2004
Money, Gold, and the Great Depression

"In contradiction to the prevalent view of the time (1963), that money and monetary policy played at most a purely passive role in the Depression, Friedman and Schwartz argued that "the [economic] contraction is in fact a tragic testimonial to the importance of monetary forces.""

 
At 5/06/2012 10:04 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Why are we still listening to Friedman?

What everyone said above and a 2011 survey of economists named him the 2nd most influential economist in the 20th century.

 
At 5/06/2012 10:08 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

"Milton Friedman was also known for his work on the consumption function, the permanent income hypothesis (1957), which Friedman himself referred to as his best scientific work... was best known for...the quantity theory of money... Other important contributions include his critique of the Phillips curve and the concept of the natural rate of unemployment (1968)...monetary history and theory, and the complexity of stabilization policy."

 
At 5/06/2012 10:09 AM, Blogger Pulverized Concepts said...

According to Delong: "The end of American preeminence in education, the collapse of private-sector unions, the emergence of a winner-take-all information-age economy, and the return of Gilded Age-style high finance have produced an extraordinarily unequal pre-tax distribution of income, which will burden the next generation and make a mockery of equality of opportunity."

But that's not a result of the adoption of "Friedmanism", which never happened. Delong's position is that a free market economy produces "instability" that can only be addressed by enlightened economic engineers like himself. Economic problems are caused by the undirected, self-interested choices made by independent actors. Only an all-powerful state can direct individual choices into the channels that will produce the most equality and collective prosperity.

There's nothing to prevent pseudo-thinkers like Delong from resurrecting a Robert Owenesque utopian community where he and his acolytes could live in harmony and set an example for us free market Philistines. But he doesn't. I wonder why not.

 
At 5/06/2012 10:48 AM, Blogger Jon said...

I agree that Friedman was extremely influential. His influence has been very negative.

I think ideologues can always say that the system they advocate has never really been tried. So you have to look at where he's had more influence and where he's had less. So for instance S Korea, Japan, the US especially up until 1980 has followed a path quite opposed to what Friedman would recommend. Africa, Haiti, Latin America. These places had Friedman imposed on them by force. Russia after the fall. None reflect Friedman's ideal methods, but nothing ever could. Chicago trained economists ran Latin America from about the 70's and on for the next 30 years. They were called the Chicago boys, the same name given to those that implemented free market reforms in the Soviet Union following the collapse.

The methods most closely associated with Friedman imposed over the last several years would be in Ireland, Greece, and Spain. Those that followed a different path were Iceland and Argentina.

I think the difference between the left and the right is that the left is very interested in actually looking at the results of these policies. Know history. The right just has theories that make sense to them in their heads, so there's no need to look to the real world consequences.

 
At 5/06/2012 10:56 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

I think ideologues can always say that the system they advocate has never really been tried. So you have to look at where he's had more influence and where he's had less

I suppose that's what you and your hero, the hypocrite capitalist, Noam Chomsky say. Yet, when you look at where socialists have had the most influence, you see nothing but shit holes.

And Russia after the fall, where the population is living better than it ever has in its history, is clearly an example of the failure of Friedman's ideas. Yes, this is a land where Friedman was "imposed" on a population that had for 70 years been voluntarily accepting torture at the hands of the Socialist government - when they weren't being shot for trying to escape, of course. Oh, the glory days.

I think the difference between the left and the right is that the left is very interested in actually looking at the results of these policies. Know history. The right just has theories that make sense to them in their heads, so there's no need to look to the real world consequences.

The irony once again sails over Jon's head. This is particularly rich for a proud Socialist, considering the bloody history of Socialism.

 
At 5/06/2012 11:35 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

In a desperate attempt to discredit the success of free markets, Jon simply selects economically dysfunctional regions and countries and proclaims that they are suffering from having had "Friedman imposed on them". Jon, Chomsky and their ilk are hoping to blunt the stark comparison that the success of capitalism makes to the absolute failure of socialism. Is that it, Jon? Is that what the left has been reduced to? Pathetic.

Stalin was right about one thing anyway - people like Jon truly are "useful idiots".

 
At 5/06/2012 11:45 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

Dead Che,

V.I. Lenin coined the term "useful idiot". Please keep your blood-thirsty communist and socialist dictators straight :)

And Jon is indeed a textbook ideal example.

 
At 5/06/2012 12:04 PM, Blogger Jon said...

You're long on name calling and short on argument.

 
At 5/06/2012 12:18 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Jon, have you ever read any of Milton Friedman's books?

If not, I recommend "Captialism and Freedom" and also "Free to Choose". It would be interesting to get your thoughts on these specific writings.

 
At 5/06/2012 12:31 PM, Blogger Jon said...

I have not read a book, but I did watch the full 10 hours of the FTC series on PBS.

 
At 5/06/2012 12:36 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

"

I have not read a book, but I did watch the full 10 hours of the FTC series on PBS."


Great, and your general thoughts are?

 
At 5/06/2012 1:00 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Dead Che simply and accurately identified you, Jon, based on your own fact-free, logic-free and historically inaccurate comments. Dead Che is generous in concluding that you're a mere Muppet.

 
At 5/06/2012 1:08 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"I think ideologues can always say that the system they advocate has never really been tried"...

Well now this is interesting considering its coming from someone who looks to Krugman for direction apparently...

"Africa, Haiti, Latin America. These places had Friedman imposed on them by force"...

Wow jon, I never realized there was a 'Friedman Force Commando' out there and that they held such sway over so many different areas of the globe...

Who knew?!?!

 
At 5/06/2012 1:19 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Well jon a suggestion though its not 'lite' reading but consider the following that can be had online: The Failure of the New Economics: An Analysis of the Keynesian Fallacies
By Henry Hazlitt 1959

 
At 5/06/2012 1:23 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

You're mistaken, Juandos. Our Jon looks to Noam Chomsky, a shining example of capitalism in action, who made his millions by being a socialist ideologue claiming that socialism has never really been tried before.

 
At 5/06/2012 2:02 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"You're mistaken, Juandos"...

Yeah methinks, I sort of thought so...

"...a socialist ideologue claiming that socialism has never really been tried before"...

Chomsky would have a heck of time spinning this success story...:-)

 
At 5/06/2012 2:15 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Buddy, I will get back to you on that.

With regards to a theory never really being tried, I'm not denying that on the left we sometimes say a given state is not really an example of Socialism. Like the Soviet Union. My point is you do have to at some point look at the real world and draw conclusions despite the fact that nothing meets your idealized model.

Latin America, Hait, and Africa may not be perfect free market economies, but they took hard turns towards Friedman's prescriptions within the last 40 years or so. Look at the IMF's structural adjustment programs. That's a Friedmanite wet dream, and it's the world of Africa.

South Korea is a capitalist state. It was basically fascist. Extremely authoritarian and fairly brutal as I understand it. But it followed Keynsian methodologies. Same in Japan. Same for the US post WWII and up until Friedman policies came to dominate. And our economic performance was stellar and has since declined.

The Soviet Union wasn't Socialist. The core of Socialism is worker control of industry and the workers had basically zero control. But it obviously wasn't Friedmanite either. I agree that we can draw lessons from the failure of central planning. If you want to say it's closer to what I recommend than what Friedman would recommend I can accept that. Let's look at it and draw lessons. That's my point here. When do you actually look at the world? The excuse that we can never draw lessons from the real world because nothing met the Friedmanite ideal is to me a cop out. Friedmanites don't want to look at the world because they know when they do they'll look bad. I think you need to give it up and look at evidence at some point.

 
At 5/06/2012 2:28 PM, Blogger Jon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 5/06/2012 2:35 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Latin America, Hait, and Africa may not be perfect free market economies, but they took hard turns towards Friedman's prescriptions within the last 40 years or so"...

What nonsense!

Mexico has been socialist since before Moses broke the tablets...

Every latin American country south of Mexico except for Costa Rica has been either neo-socialist or despot driven chaos until recently for a few that have finally figured it out...

Africa?!?! Which countries?

Maybe S. Africa possibly but most of the countries on the African continent are either wallowing a Mugabe like paradise or in the throes of a sharia enhanced hell on earth...

Friedman?!?!

Where does anyone see any real Friedman in any of this?

 
At 5/06/2012 2:37 PM, Blogger Abir Mandal said...

Jon does not have a single thought, general or otherwise, not fed to jim by obama's ringmasters. France and Greece are doing so well thanks to free lunches. Moron.

 
At 5/06/2012 2:38 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Juandos, you can read Chomsky's reaction to the black book here.

 
At 5/06/2012 2:42 PM, Blogger Abir Mandal said...

Jon you can take econ 101 in any community college. Maybe even for "free".

 
At 5/06/2012 2:42 PM, Blogger Jon said...

For some discussion on economic policy in Africa go here. Also here.

 
At 5/06/2012 2:52 PM, Blogger juandos said...

jon the 'here' you indicate is a collection of books by a variety of writers...

BTW Chumpsky wrote several books, which one are you refering to?

I tried reading "Profit over People" and I had to wonder, "just how low is the bar at MIT?"...

What's really bizzare is that simple skeptism should have people scratching their heads at most of his stuff...

 
At 5/06/2012 2:59 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

The excuse that we can never draw lessons from the real world because nothing met the Friedmanite ideal is to me a cop out.

Yeah...the excuse that we can never draw conclusions from the real world socialist experiments because they failed to reach the sprout wings and fly socialist ideals of the capitalist millionaire Chomsky is also a cop-out.

It just happens to be a cop-out modern day socialists like.

 
At 5/06/2012 3:38 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

Jon stands upon the corpses of more than 100 million dead victims of socialism and cries out:

"When do you actually look at the world? The excuse that we can never draw lessons from the real world because nothing met the Friedmanite ideal is to me a cop out. Friedmanites don't want to look at the world because they know when they do they'll look bad. I think you need to give it up and look at evidence at some point." -- Jon

It is really hard to imagine anyone more deluded.

It is far past time that civilized men treat the Jons of the world with the same contempt that we appropriately direct at fascists. The idea that marxists should be spared the condemnation and derision that their malignant ideology so richly deserves on the self-serving claim that their intentions were pure, or that their ideas have never really been properly implemented only allows these degenerates the opportunity to inflict more suffering and murder more innocents.

We do not allow fascists to hold tenured positions at our colleges and universities, giving them the captive attention of our youth and paying them to indoctrinate the next generation.

If a professor were to openly declare his support for fascism and then proceed to write one factually false book after another questioning the holocaust and claiming that the Third Reich didn't really represent a fascist system, or that Hitler wasn't really a fascist, he would be fired immediately. And yet, look at how easily tenured, leftist scum, like Noam Chomsky, have indoctrinated and twisted someone like Jon:

"I'm not denying that on the left we sometimes say a given state is not really an example of Socialism. Like the Soviet Union ... The Soviet Union wasn't Socialist."

Do we have to live through another socialist inspired holocaust before we finally say "NO MORE"?

 
At 5/06/2012 3:42 PM, Blogger juandos said...

jon these two links you posted: Africa, neo-liberalism and anarchism and Neoliberalism in Africa, Apocalyptic Failures and Business as Usual Practices have obviously never had the pleasure of visiting Liberia or Zimbabwe, countries where anarchy reigns supreme...

 
At 5/06/2012 3:56 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"Why are we still listening to Friedman? As Brad Delong recently explained (linked via Krugman here), I think we can at this point judge his claims to be false."

~Jon, who believes ever syllable Fidel Castro ever uttered.

"(linked via Krugman here)"

Krugman opines about a theoretical space alien invasion and the wonderful economic effects: "If we discovered that space aliens were planning to attack and we needed a massive buildup to counter the space alien threat and really inflation and budget deficits took secondary place to that, this slump would be over in 18 months. And then if we discovered, oops, we made a mistake, there aren't any aliens, we'd be better"

Such is the nonsense little Marxists like Jon believe.

 
At 5/06/2012 4:04 PM, Blogger Ken said...

The idea that free markets or "Friedmanism" has been implemented in South America is laughable.

The idea that they have been tried in Africa, yet those who disagree do not "know history" is even more laughable.

I think the difference between the left and the right is that the left is very interested in actually looking at the results of these policies

The idea that leftists are not ideologues, but fact finders and "interested in... looking at results" is just another example of the left's great lie.

 
At 5/06/2012 4:12 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"Africa, Haiti, Latin America. These places had Friedman imposed on them by force."

What a bunch of generalized nonsense. One need only compare the past decade's perfomance of "neoliberal" Colombia vs. Jon's ideal paradise in Venezuela.

 
At 5/06/2012 4:43 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Jon, we don't bother arguing with you because we know you are exactly what you accuse others of being: a fact-free acolyte who willfully ignores the evidence to blindly follow your ideology. You list Chile and Argentina as "disasters," yet they have the highest GDP per capita in South America, in Chile's case, precisely because it adopted Friedman's recommendations more than any other South American country, as Mark has pointed out before. It is a joke to say Haiti embraced Friedman, and your favorite sources, DeLong and Krugman, are both jokes. To say that "austerity" is what is failing Greece, after decades of implementing the moronic socialist policies that you espouse, is to blame the medicine for the infection, something socialist dimbulbs like yourself are only too glad to do.

 
At 5/06/2012 5:42 PM, Blogger Ed R said...

Friedman is certainly overrated by the right, but he does have more to offer than Mises or Hayek.

 
At 5/06/2012 5:47 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Juandos, you may have clicked the link to Chomsky's reply to the Black Book before I had time to correct it. Try it now.

I read "Profit Over People" and I have to admit I was disappointed. He doesn't build a solid case in rebuttal to the right. I think it was just a collection of speeches, so it wasn't as detailed as I would have liked.

If you are interested in recommendations I would suggest "Against Capitalism" by Albert Schweikart for a detailed defense of Socialism over Capitalism, both moral arguments and comparative arguments. For a good book covering the historical ramifications of various policies, whether left or right wing, I recommend Ha Joon Chang's "Bad Samaritans".

Methinks writes:

Yeah...the excuse that we can never draw conclusions from the real world socialist experiments because they failed to reach the sprout wings and fly socialist ideals of the capitalist millionaire Chomsky is also a cop-out.

I agree.

 
At 5/06/2012 5:48 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Paul writes:

Krugman opines about a theoretical space alien invasion and the wonderful economic effects:

And Krugman is right. Is it insane? Absolutely. But on Capitalism if you don't have ever increasing demand you have a lot of suffering. You have to always consume more, more, more. That's why you are encouraged to throw things out. Don't settle for the iphone 3. You need to upgrade to the 4. Throw out that 1 year old computer that is perfectly good because the new one has a few more features.

This is why WWII ended the Depression. We needed demand, and the government provided it. Sure, we'd build a boat, ship it across the Atlantic, and perhaps watch it sink in the process. Good. Build another one. It ended unemployment and was great for the economy.

It's an insane unsustainable system. Read Schweikart's "Against Capitalism" to understand why ever increasing consumption, rather than increases in leisure time, is to be expected on Capitalism.

Sprewell, to evaluate Chile you need to consider how it performed during the period for which the Chicago School of economics was in control, not after they were all fired and state control had resumed to levels at the prior Socialist days and beyond.

Friedman's Chicago trained economists delivered their economic plan (referred to as "The Brick") immediately after democracy was ended and Pinochet took control. Pinochet immediately set to work with privatization, removal of price controls, etc.

Also concentration camps for union organizers and intellectuals, where thousands were murdered and tortured.

It wasn't long before unemployment had gone from 3.8% under Allende to above 25% under Chicago school direction. Inflation soared to 350%, the highest in the world. Slashing of welfare state measures coincided with this. Caloric consumption for the lower income groups and unemployed fell through the floor. Children would pass out in class from lack of food.

 
At 5/06/2012 5:49 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Friedman gloated of the brief turn around near 1980 as unregulated finance led to some speculative bubbles. In 1982 the whole banking system collapsed, requiring state bail out. They pretty much gave up on the right wing experament at them time. The Chicago Boys were fired in the ensuing few years.

Paul says look to Colombia. It's a similar approach. There's no place more dangerous for a union organizers as the right wing junta murders them off for the benefit of corporations. Colombia is the leading arms recipient from the US in our hemisphere. So it's the same story. Dictatorship and terror for the imposition of right wing economic policies. That's Friedman's legacy.

 
At 5/06/2012 6:13 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

But on Capitalism if you don't have ever increasing demand you have a lot of suffering. You have to always consume more, more, more

Total tripe.

That's why you are encouraged to throw things out. Don't settle for the iphone 3. You need to upgrade to the 4.

Uh...no. You have it exactly backwards. The iphone 4 is produced because Apple knows that people who have an iphone 3 would prefer the enhanced features of iphone 4 and, in acting on their preferences, they will buy an iphone 4. Nobody is encouraged to do anything. People like me who don't care, will not upgrade because I don't want my phone speaking to me. The option is the consumer's. If you deny the consumer the option, you're impoverishing him. And, by restricting options, that's what socialism does in the best case.

This is why WWII ended the Depression.

If only that were true, but it's still more fact-free tripe.

Sure, we'd build a boat, ship it across the Atlantic, and perhaps watch it sink in the process. Good. Build another one. It ended unemployment and was great for the economy.

Not good, chap. Stocks and flows. You do not get rich by destroying and rebuilding the same thing over and over. That's running up a down escalator. You waste resources and get tired and hopeless, nothing more.

War is not good for capitalism. It's excellent for Socialism, though. To convince people to make the sacrifices necessary, you need an outside enemy you're always fighting.

It's an insane unsustainable system.

Yes, Socialism is an insane and unsustainable system. Well, I don't mean "unsustainable". I mean it's a system of impoverishment and human beings can survive in extreme poverty, so I guess it's "sustainable".

Read Schweikart's "Against Capitalism" to understand why ever increasing consumption, rather than increases in leisure time, is to be expected on Capitalism.

Why would somebody read total drivel? You need to put down the uninformed drooling of Schweikart and pick up a basic economics test, Jon.

The first thing you will learn is that economics is the study of human behaviour in an environment of unlimited wants and needs and limited resources. Did you catch that? Unlimited wants and needs. The reason that people in capitalist countries consume so many goods is because they can and they want to. Nobody is stopping people in capitalists countries from working less, consuming fewer products and taking more leisure. I know plenty that do. Socialism forces that choice on people. Capitalist countries do not.

Friedman's Chicago trained economists delivered their economic plan (referred to as "The Brick") immediately after democracy was ended...

Not immediately, Jon, they first had to get rid of Allende who was busy scrapping the constitution and going on one the famous expropriation binges you leftists are so fond of. Allende scrapped Democracy - and decency.

 
At 5/06/2012 6:14 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Jon,

"There's no place more dangerous for a union organizers as the right wing junta murders them off for the benefit of corporations."

That's the song and dance Jon and his communist friends like to sing, anyway. In truth, some of those unionists, especialy the pro-FTA ones, have been killed off by Jon's terrorist buddies in FARC and ELN. Other unionists were actually working for the guerillas. In any case, violence against unionists fell off a cliff under the stewardship of the great Uribe. I pointed this out to a Colombian communist "labor organizer" at a forum a couple yrs ago, his own handouts with stats from his labor union CUT showed he should have been praising Uribe.

As Cato explains, "the real story in Colombia is not the current level of violence but its dramatic fall in a relatively short period, and the credit due the Colombian government for the progress. The number of assassinations of union members in Colombia has dropped sharply since 2001, a year before Colombian president Álvaro Uribe was sworn into office. From about 200 assassinations a year in 2001 and 2002, the number fell by half in 2003 and has continued to fall since then. (See Figure 1.) The AFL-CIO claims 38 unionists were assassinated in 2007, while the Colombian Ministry of Social Protection counts 25. Even if the higher AFL-CIO figure is accepted, that would mark a plunge of more than 80 percent in assassinations of trade unionists during President Uribe's time in office; the decrease would be nearly 90 percent if the Ministry of Social Protection figure is accepted. Either number represents remarkable and welcome progress under President Uribe."

All this while the Colombian "neoliberals" ran rampant, bringing Colombia back from near failed state. Simultaneously, they chased Jon's Marxist buddies back into the jungle, killing off most of their leadership that hadn't already jumped into Chavez's loving arms next door in Venezuela.

Jon also uses the words "Dictatorship and terror" and "junta" in describing the democratically elected civilian leaders of Colombia. That should tell you all you need to know about how vast Jon's knowledge is of Latin America.

 
At 5/06/2012 6:26 PM, Blogger Pulverized Concepts said...

"Friedman is certainly overrated by the right, but he does have more to offer than Mises or Hayek."

Your correct in the sense that von Mises posits that the state CAN'T enhance the economy with redistributionist schemes and manipulation of fiat money, as they continue to prove on a daily basis.

 
At 5/06/2012 6:37 PM, Blogger Ken said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 5/06/2012 6:37 PM, Blogger Ken said...

But on Capitalism if you don't have ever increasing demand you have a lot of suffering.

This doesn't make sense. Capitalism is the only proven way to decrease suffering and the average person out of poverty.

That's why you are encouraged to throw things out. Don't settle for the iphone 3. You need to upgrade to the 4.

No one is "encouraged to throw things out". The reason to buy the iPhone 4 (especially the 4S) over the iPhone 3 is because it is unambiguously better than the 3G. The services, the memory, the speed, the camera, everything. I could have stuck with the 3G (I did for four years) for much longer. It did most things well enough. But once I started looking at the 4G, it was hands down better. The reason people typically buy new things is because they are better.


This is why WWII ended the Depression.

Your proposition is building multibillion dollar war ships, then destroying and sinking them, in addition to killing hundreds of thousands of young men actually "ended the Depression"?

It ended unemployment and was great for the economy.

It was good for the G variable in the computation of GDP. To suggest that it was good for the average American is to declare you are ahistorical.

to understand why ever increasing consumption, rather than increases in leisure time, is to be expected on Capitalism.


Americans have more leisure time now than at any other time in thepast half century (I'm betting for the last two centuries, the data linked doesn't go back that far).

The rest of your comment is more of the same ignorance of facts, statistics, and history.

 
At 5/06/2012 8:06 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Nobody is encouraged to do anything.

Really? Have you ever watched television and seen a commercial? Are commercials intended to persuade consumers to make rational choices? Or are they instead an effort to compel you to purchase whether you need it or not? Companies seek profits, not your rational interest.

Not good, chap. Stocks and flows. You do not get rich by destroying and rebuilding the same thing over and over.

Depends who you are. If I'm an unemployed window fixer and somebody goes through a suburb with mansions and smashes all the windows, this will help me get richer. It reduces the wealth of the rich man, but increases my income. That can be for the good of an economy when you have underutilized resources. If the rich man has a pile of cash he's not spending (and doesn't really need) and it falls into my hands while I'm unemployed, I'll spend it, and that helps the economy.

War is not good for capitalism. It's excellent for Socialism, though. To convince people to make the sacrifices necessary, you need an outside enemy you're always fighting.

Really? You don't think capitalists are interested in cheaper labor and resources? Given that the barriers to that are often government, you don't see how the incentive structure on capitalism leads immediately to war? What has the US been doing for the last 60 years? Spending about as much as the rest of the world combined on "defense" even though our nation hasn't actually been attacked since when? 1812 (remember, Hawaii was not a US state in 1941). And you don't think the investor in arms manufacturing is happy to see war? These assertions you make are so transparently false it's bizarre you seem unaware of it.

Allende scrapped Democracy - and decency.

Up is now down. Allende scrapped democracy and Pinochet re-installed it.

 
At 5/06/2012 8:07 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Paul writes:

the real story in Colombia is not the current level of violence but its dramatic fall in a relatively short period, and the credit due the Colombian government for the progress

Doesn't change what I said. You can still be the world leader in murder of union organizers and make progress. The fact remains that Colombia is our hemisphere's leader in arms receipts as we continue to back the right wing government.

BTW, they may nominally be a democracy, but I understood that to be of questionalble legitimacy.

Ken writes:

This doesn't make sense. Capitalism is the only proven way to decrease suffering and the average person out of poverty.

So what you're saying is that there was no alleviation of poverty in the Soviet Union from 1917 to 1989? No poverty in China was alleviated under Mao? Go to Gapminder.org and track Russia. Notice what happens to life expectancy when free market reforms were introduced.

Read your own first link on leisure time. There's no debate that family working hours have risen dramatically over the last 40 years. Yet leisure time is supposed to be up? How is it that women didn't work prior to 1970 and now they've had to enter the work force just to make ends meet, and yet leisure time is up? This makes no sense.

 
At 5/06/2012 8:26 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"If you are interested in recommendations I would suggest "Against Capitalism" by Albert Schweikart for a detailed defense of Socialism over Capitalism, both moral arguments and comparative arguments"...

I'm sorry jon but there are NO rational or cogent pro-socialist arguments out there...

I've seen socialism practiced in all its sordid forms all over the planet and have yet to see a success story...

You know what the sure sign of failure of a socialist run country is jon?

Take a guess, the answer is really very obvious...

 
At 5/06/2012 9:20 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Have you ever watched television and seen a commercial?

Only if there are cats involved and then my husband forces me to watch them.

Are commercials intended to persuade consumers to make rational choices?

Uh...no, Jon. They are intended to persuade me to buy the product. Whether that choice is rational for me or not is up to me to decide. It certainly isn't something for you to judge.

Or are they instead an effort to compel you to purchase whether you need it or not?

You don't seem to grasp the ocean of difference between persuasion and compulsion. Commercials can't compel anyone to do anything. There is nothing morally wrong with persuasion - offering a product which you can voluntarily refuse, making it attractive to you. Compulsion is the domain of Socialists who decide what others should and shouldn't have, what's rational and what isn't and compel entire unwilling populations to goose-step to their drum at the point of a gun.

Depends who you are. If I'm an unemployed window fixer and somebody goes through a suburb with mansions and smashes all the windows....etc.

What the hell does that have to do with capitalism? How is the destruction of capital stock good for capitalism? I have news for you, Jon, the unemployed glazier (why he must be unemployed is a mystery to me) is not capitalism. It's an unemployed glazier.

It reduces the wealth of the rich man, but increases my income.

Since vandals are more likely to strike poorer neighbourhoods, it likely reduces the wealth of the poor, but that's beside the point. I just felt like I need to give a nod to the ever present class warfare in your examples.

The glazier gets a little income, but the hat maker is denied income. See, the rich dude was going to buy a new top hat and a cane (to smite the indigents with, obviously). Now, he can't because he has to spend the money on a new window. The milliner is poorer. How are we better off now?

If the rich man has a pile of cash he's not spending (and doesn't really need) and it falls into my hands while I'm unemployed, I'll spend it, and that helps the economy.

Good Lord, you are such an economic illiterate that it's hard to believe you're an adult. Are you an adult?

First of all, you are in no position to judge how much money anybody else needs. I don't know when you began to feel you have the omniscience of God, son, but usually people are medicated for such delusions of grandeur.

Second, the rich man's money isn't sitting around in a pile of cash. It's invested in businesses - in productive activity. He funds the little start-up companies that allow poor kids with great ideas but no money to execute on those ideas and become rich.

See, your spending doesn't help the economy. His investing does.

Given that the barriers to that are often government, you don't see how the incentive structure on capitalism leads immediately to war?

No. You know why? Because I'm not insane and my thought process is not a long string of logical fallacies and total bullshit.

What has the US been doing for the last 60 years? Spending about as much as the rest of the world combined on "defense" even though our nation hasn't actually been attacked since when?

Well, first of all, all of your beloved socialist countries in Europe (you know - the ones that are too poor to have air conditioning so that people drop like flies every time there's a heat wave) just love all that spending because the U.S. subsidizes their defense budgets. I would love to find a way to stop government robbing me to subsidize them.

 
At 5/06/2012 9:20 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

But, again, what the hell does the U.S. government's spending on bridges to nowhere and NATO have to do with capitalism? Unlike socialists, capitalists don't need to convince people to sacrifice for an illusive greater good. Thus, capitalists don't need a bogyman. Socialists do. Governments of all countries need bogymen to convince people that their pockets are picked for a good cause, but that has nothing to do with capitalism. It has to do with the sliminess of government - a government socialists wish to empower.

So what you're saying is that there was no alleviation of poverty in the Soviet Union from 1917 to 1989?

No. And poverty relative to the Capitalist West became more pronounced with every passing decade. But why believe me - a person who actually lived in Moscow, behind the iron curtain when you can listen to the BS of people theorizing in the warmth of their well-appointed homes in the West?

Once again, I would dearly love to send you back to the "riches" we were forced to endure in the Soviet Union so that you can writhe in your blood-soaked version of heaven.

Alleviate poverty. Now, I've heard everything.

 
At 5/06/2012 9:20 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 5/06/2012 9:24 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Go to Gapminder.org and track Russia. Notice what happens to life expectancy when free market reforms were introduced.

Go to the WHO, Jonny, and see how Soviet life expectancy compared to life expectancy in the U.S.

 
At 5/06/2012 9:29 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 5/06/2012 9:31 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

What would Milton Friedman say about the mandated use of ethanol?

 
At 5/06/2012 9:34 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

How is it that women didn't work prior to 1970 and now they've had to enter the work force just to make ends meet, and yet leisure time is up?

Yeah, because wiping the shit off your ass and changing your diapers wasn't "work" and women didn't fight tooth and nail to get away from you and into the relative quite of an office. They were forced into it by the falling living standards as evinced by computers, larger homes, more and better appliances, cell phones and all the other proofs of poverty.

And, of course, since commercials ensure that we are compelled to buy all these things, we unwillingly trade leisure time for ipads and X-boxes - without which we obviously can't make ends meet.

But, let's not forget that the Soviet Union (which did compel everyone to work, including women. Often forcing them to toil in inhumane and dangerous conditions) alleviated poverty. I mean, we didn't have toilet paper to wipe our butts with, but we were certainly richer than those hanging-on-by-an-ipad Americans.

 
At 5/06/2012 9:37 PM, Blogger Russell said...

Jon,

Alleviating poverty? I guess I never thought of it that way, but perhaps you're on to something here. Instead of describing the 120 million people that were murdered under various communist regimes of the last century, we can say that communism alleviated poverty for these people. It also alleviated living for them, but that's beside the point.

That you think government of any sort can alleviate poverty leads me to believe you might be crazy. That you think a communist government can do it removes all doubt.

 
At 5/06/2012 10:26 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Jon,

"Doesn't change what I said. You can still be the world leader in murder of union organizers and make progress."

The trendlines run completely counter to your argument. An economically vibrant Colombia emerged while much fewer communist organizers, I mean "unionists", reached room temperature. Meanwhile, Venezuela sank into the muck under your hero Chavez.

"The fact remains that Colombia is our hemisphere's leader in arms receipts as we continue to back the right wing government."

Well yeah, we send them alot of bullets to kill off your FARC friends. Security and prosperity are mutually reinforcing. One of the side benefits of dead terrorists is it opens up wide swaths of the jungle to drilling for oil. :)

"BTW, they may nominally be a democracy, but I understood that to be of questionalble legitimacy."

Oh, is that what you "understand?" Which Marxist douchebag gave you that information? I'm sure it didn't come from any actual Colombians, or from your own experiences there. Colombia's national government operates under a vibrant democracy. Sadly, the same cannot be said next door in Venezuela under the fatboy Chavez regime.

 
At 5/06/2012 11:26 PM, Blogger Bobby Caygeon said...

Why is anyone even bothering to argue with this Jon fool. He actually argued Stalin and Mao reduced poverty while not mentioning the countless dead constituents left in their wake.

We don't argue with scum we merely acknowledge its presence through disinfecting.

 
At 5/06/2012 11:27 PM, Blogger Bobby Caygeon said...

Why is anyone even bothering to argue with this Jon fool. He actually argued Stalin and Mao reduced poverty while not mentioning the countless dead constituents left in their wake.

We don't argue with scum we merely acknowledge its presence through disinfecting.

 
At 5/07/2012 1:31 AM, Blogger Abir Mandal said...

Bobby: I think most people, including me, get riled up after hearing decent and rational men like Friedman denigrated.

 
At 5/07/2012 6:53 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

Well, Bobby, while I usually ignore Jon, I just felt like it yesterday. You know, the mood struck me.

There are a disturbing number of kids who repeat this stuff like drones. If any of us can put even a speck of doubt in their minds, that's a good thing. Usually, the guy you're responding to is not your whole audience.

 
At 5/07/2012 7:42 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

Jon is a decent person who does not shout insults, call names or use Ad Hominems and he expressed an opinion about the philosophy of Friedman and look at the folks who responded.

name calling and Ad Hominems because you disagree with his opinion.

Some of ya'll are 3rd graders pretending to be adults.

you have certain folks here that ya'll just cannot abide so you attack them personally..for their views....

 
At 5/07/2012 7:56 AM, Blogger Jon said...

Honesty, even for enemies of the state, does not come easy for people completely inculcated with their state's propaganda.

Let's suppose you assert that Hitler ate one 6 month old child a week and I say no, that's not what he did. "But Hitler killed 6 million Jews!! I'm outraged at your apologetics for Hitler."

Well, I have this weird way of thinking which says we should be truthful. Let's go ahead and talk about Hitler's genocide. But let's not make stuff up.

Did poverty drop under Stalin and Mao? Yep. Did Stalin and Mao also introduce policies that led directly to the starvation of millions? Yep. Both can be true. Poverty is defined as living under a certain income. If that reduced under Stalin and Mao then it reduced under Stalin and Mao. This doesn't change their other crimes. Be an adult rather than a childish propagandist and face reality even when it means saying something positive of an enemy of the state.

Actually if you click the link to the Chomsky book above he talks about the studies conducted which reveal to us how many were starved by Mao. It turns out the same study also looks at the number of lives saved by Mao due to some health programs that he developed, which reached more rural people. As I recall the estimate of the number of lives saved actually exceeds the number of people starved. In an effort to blunt the Commissar's here that will object to such a statement let me say that THIS DOES NOT ABSOLVE MAO OF THE STARVATION!!! However, the fact that only certain information from the study filters through the US propaganda system (only that which serves the state interest of criticizing the enemy of the state) is quite telling.

 
At 5/07/2012 8:17 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

Well, I have this weird way of thinking which says we should be truthful. Let's go ahead and talk about Hitler's genocide. But let's not make stuff up.

I'm trying to figure out if you're so delusional that you don't even understand that you're living in a fantasy land or if you are so ignorant that you don't realize virtually everything you spout here is made-up crap, straight from the old Soviet tradition of re-writing history.


Did poverty drop under Stalin and Mao? Yep.

Nope. Still wrong no matter how many times you say it.

Both can be true.

They can, but they're not. the Ukraine was the bread basket of Europe. By 1964, the Soviet Union no longer produced enough grain to feed the population. Stalin introduced policies specifically targeted toward impoverishing the peasants (the largest segment of the population - as if they weren't impoverished already) to redirect resources toward the building his Brave New World. He emmiserated the entire population. Seriously, Jonny, you need to pick up a book written by an actual historian sometime.

Nice try rehabilitating Mao, Jonny-boy. I don't know much Chinese history, so I won't challenge the saved lives claim - although your grasp on both reality and history is so poor, it's probably not true. I'll pretend it is.

He doesn't get credit for "saving lives" for the same reason you don't give a child molester "credit" for taking the molested child to the doctor to get his vaccinations. Moreover, Mao gets "credits" taken away from him for having the temerity to decide who should live and who should die.

That you don't understand the pure evil of that tells us something about the Socialist Brain. And it doesn't tell us anything really heartening.

 
At 5/07/2012 8:38 AM, Blogger Paul said...

Ha, look at Larry the Liberal rush to Commie Jon's defense. Solidarity forever!

 
At 5/07/2012 8:51 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

You know, Jonny, we should be on our knees thanking Hitler. If he'd listened to his generals and started the war later, he would have had the atomic bomb at his disposal. Hitler actually SAVED lives by going to war too fast.

Glory be to Hitler.

I mean, I don't think killing lots of Jews is a plus for him, but let's give him credit for all the lives he saved, eh?

 
At 5/07/2012 9:26 AM, Blogger Paul said...

Methinks,

Also, it's well known that Hitler loved dogs. Let's all follow Jon's
advice and accentuate the positive!

 
At 5/07/2012 9:38 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

Ya, mein herr!

And if it weren't for Stalin's indiscriminately throwing the disposable population of Russia at the Germans, Stalin may not have won the war.

Let's remember the bad stuff they did. Sure. Of course, but don't forget to give them credit for lives created and saved. You know, let's not makes stuff up or pretend that Hitler's love of dogs or Stalin's love of cinema didn't make up for their systematic murder of tens of millions of people.

 
At 5/07/2012 9:45 AM, Blogger Abir Mandal said...

You mean Hitler would have saved or created lives. Like Obama does to jobs.
Jon: Hitler was a national socialist. Ergo, a collectivist.

 
At 5/07/2012 9:49 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

Yes, Abir. Hitler saved lives by going to war before his war machine was fully mature.

He bred a vicious SS that taught German soldiers that Russians were sub-human and Germans tortured and raped women along their march toward Moscow. That created lives.

You see?

Mmmmmkay?

 
At 5/07/2012 9:54 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

Stalin didn't only love cinema, he loved children too. There's a famous photo of him holding up and smiling at a little girl....whose entire family he just murdered. But he left the girl. Although she was declared an enemy of the state since she came from a family of traitors. But still. He didn't kill her right away.

You know, let's not get carried away with the anti-Stalinist propaganda.

 
At 5/07/2012 10:01 AM, Blogger Abir Mandal said...

It's amazing how socialists can save or create things at the drop of a hat.

 
At 5/07/2012 10:05 AM, Blogger Abir Mandal said...

Jon said...
"I have not read a book..."

That's obvious.

 
At 5/07/2012 12:06 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Methinks, you are talking about how I think Mao should be given "credit" and putting "credit" in quotes, but I didn't use the word "credit." I'm saying let's face reality. If his rural health programs saved lives, should we not say that?

If Hitler liked dogs, should we pretend he hated dogs? Some people can't say anything else. They have to say that Hitler hated dogs, because they are so committed to demonizing official enemies that they just can't admit anything that doesn't reflect negatively. That's the mentality of the propagandist.

I've heard recently the science denial community is fond of noting that OBL believed in AGW. This is supposed to reflect negatively on climate scientists apparently. For the Commissars I suppose it does. For people that can accept truth even if uttered by an official enemy it's not a big deal.

 
At 5/07/2012 12:50 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Oh, no, my dear Jon. You misunderstand me! I agree with Paul. we should accentuate the positive!

Sure, Mao slaughtered millions of people. Hey, nobody is perfect!

Sure, Hitler systematically murdered millions of people, but we'll focus on his irrelevant love of dogs.

Yeah, okay, Stalin launched an organized campaign to impoverish the vast majority of the country, but since he increased GDP as measured by inedible Soviet statues and murdered millions, we'll call it "alleviating poverty".

Let's not be so beastly as to use the rivers of blood, the unimaginable torture and the merciless slaughter of history's butchers to "propagandize" against them.

Heaven forbid. No!

Let's instead go after Milton Friedman.

 
At 5/07/2012 2:08 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Jon's really just asking us to consider for a moment the awesome efficiency of authoritarianism. Why, just look at all the free health care Fidel ladled out once all the troublemakers were lined up against the wall and shot!

 
At 5/07/2012 2:38 PM, Blogger efimpp said...

>What everyone said above and a 2011 survey of economists named him the 2nd most influential economist in the 20th century.


Very proper argument indeed in the context of the discussion. And who was named the first in this survey?? You Know Who?

 
At 5/07/2012 2:49 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

to name that person in THIS blog is nothing short of blasphemous!

 
At 5/11/2012 5:19 AM, Blogger Anthony Juan Bautista said...

Expansion of credit causes booms and busts. The last time I checked, it's the Fed who leads in this arena. So, I'm still with Friedman on this one...

 
At 5/11/2012 10:50 AM, Blogger Jon said...

Buddy was asking for my thoughts on Friedman's Free to Choose series.  I turned it into a blog post that you can read here if you are interested.

 

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