Families that Discuss together, stay together

Families that Discuss together, stay together
Families that Discuss together, stay together

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Free To Choose, Milton and Rose Friedman

My Summary and Response to the Book:

In their book, Free To Choose, Milton and Rose Friedman write to the common person why a moderate free market system is the best mode of government. They tout that a free market with limited government regulation far surpasses the rate of financial progress for all classes, verses a stagnant socialist system that destroys incentive and growth. Societies that do not permit the free market have huge gaps between the rich and the poor. The socialists believe that the fault lies in the man and not in the system so they continually make the system bigger and more comprehensive to fix the “faulty man”. A free market grows wealth by allowing the individual to do what he does best in his own way within the law. The difference is that with socialism, massive amounts of energy and spending is focused on coercive measures of conformity whereas in the free market most of the energy is focused on innovation and production.

They recommend that the government be limited and that power should never be used to provide benefits. They harmonize with the words of John Stuart Mill, “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.” Welfare programs are coercive. “New Deal” programs have proven to be very inefficient. Resolving to teach solutions to the ordinary person, the Friedman’s give solutions for reducing and eventually phasing out Social Security and other “cradle to grave” programs. They advise putting education back into the parents’ hands where it belongs.

Three equalities are explored—equality before God, equality of opportunity and equality of outcome. During the United States’ Founding period it was the equality before God that was sought. Shortly after the Civil War greater opportunity for all men provided a new equality never before enjoyed by all men of all races—it was the equality of opportunity. Both equalities did not limit freedoms, but expanded them. Since the early decades of the last century a new kind of equality has emerged that is destroying our freedoms—it is the equality of outcome. “Everyone should have the same level of living or of income,” write the authors, “[and] should finish the race at the same time. As the Dodo said in Alice and Wonderland, ‘everybody has won, and all must have prizes.’” The goal is fairness, a very vague notion. In the end the talented lose the incentive to achieve and the mediocre are rewarded—all are in a decadent decline towards destruction. Under this false notion of fairness the government must grow stronger and more comprehensive to make things more and more “fair” as the rapacious special interest groups grovel for more.
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