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Monday, October 05, 2015 12:52 PM

Milton Friedman Accurately Explains the Immigration Problem in US and Europe, Government, Taxes, and Economic Freedoms in General

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In previous articles I summed up the immigration problems in Europe and the US as the direct result of an "unlimited demand for free services, free shelter, and free food".

Let's tune into what Economist Milton Friedman has to say about Illegal Immigration.

Also consider Milton Friedman Quotes.

Friedman on Governments

  • Governments never learn. Only people learn.
  • If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand.
  • A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.
  • One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.
  • Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.
  • I am favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it's possible.
  • Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government.

Friedman on Free Trade

  • Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.
  • Well first of all, tell me: Is there some society you know that doesn’t run on greed? You think Russia doesn’t run on greed? You think China doesn’t run on greed? What is greed? Of course, none of us are greedy, it’s only the other fellow who’s greedy. The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests. The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way. In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history, are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade. If you want to know where the masses are worse off, worst off, it’s exactly in the kinds of societies that depart from that. So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear, that there is no alternative way so far discovered of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by the free-enterprise system.
  • When unions get higher wages for their members by restricting entry into an occupation, those higher wages are at the expense of other workers who find their opportunities reduced. When government pays its employees higher wages, those higher wages are at the expense of the taxpayer. But when workers get higher wages and better working conditions through the free market, when they get raises by firm competing with one another for the best workers, by workers competing with one another for the best jobs, those higher wages are at nobody's expense. They can only come from higher productivity, greater capital investment, more widely diffused skills. The whole pie is bigger - there's more for the worker, but there's also more for the employer, the investor, the consumer, and even the tax collector. That's the way the free market system distributes the fruits of economic progress among all people. That's the secret of the enormous improvements in the conditions of the working person over the past two centuries.

Friedman on Kennedy

In a much quoted passage in his inaugural address, President Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country." It is a striking sign of the temper of our times that the controversy about this passage centered on its origin and not on its content. Neither half of the statement expresses a relation between the citizen and his government that is worthy of the ideals of free men in a free society. The paternalistic "what your country can do for you" implies that government is the patron, the citizen the ward, a view that is at odds with the free man's belief in his own responsibility for his own destiny. The organismic, "what you can do for your country" implies that government is the master or the deity, the citizen, the servant or the votary. To the free man, the country is the collection of individuals who compose it, not something over and above them. He is proud of a common heritage and loyal to common traditions. But he regards government as a means, an instrumentality, neither a grantor of favors and gifts, nor a master or god to be blindly worshiped and served. He recognizes no national goal except as it is the consensus of the goals that the citizens severally serve. He recognizes no national purpose except as it is the consensus of the purposes for which the citizens severally strive.

Friedman On Drugs

  • See, if you look at the drug war from a purely economic point of view, the role of the government is to protect the drug cartel. That's literally true.
  • Now here's somebody who wants to smoke a marijuana cigarette. If he's caught, he goes to jail. Now is that moral? Is that proper? I think it's absolutely disgraceful that our government, supposed to be our government, should be in the position of converting people who are not harming others into criminals, of destroying their lives, putting them in jail. That's the issue to me. The economic issue comes in only for explaining why it has those effects. But the economic reasons are not the reasons.

Mish Comments

The war on drugs, the war on poverty, US drone policy, collective bargaining of public unions, tariffs and protective subsidies, and the war on freedom (perversely labeled as homeland security and NSA anti-terrorism) have all taken huge tolls on the US prosperity.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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