Tag Archives: Milton Friedman

THE WORD “AUSTERITY” IS PROPAGANDIC

Many words are chosen and brought into common use to further an agenda.  Our favorite example is “Capitalism”, a term that implies a system based on money, a system based on wealth.  Thus a system which is based on the freedom of everyman to exchange goods and services with his neighbor has become known by a name that implies something quite different.  The word “Capitalism” comes with an agenda.  Words that come with an agenda are propagandic.  Most people would look unfavorably on a system built around wealth but who could be against a system built on ‘pleasant companionship with friends or associates’?  There was a reason Karl Marx chose to identify the two systems as Capitalism and Socialism rather than as Free Markets and Government Controlled.

Now we look at “austerity.”  Say what you will about European Socialism, it does provide a comfortable life style.  Savor six week vacations, short working hours, retirement at age 55 on a government guaranteed income sufficient to live in modest comfort.  Some would argue that you give up many individual freedoms in exchange for that.  However, I ask how can you give up something you never had?

Merriam-Webster defines austerity as “stern and cold in appearance or manner, giving little or no scope for pleasure.”  That is not at all what advocates of “austerity” in Europe are calling for.  What they want is a responsible government that does not spend what it doesn’t have.  Yet they allow themselves to be known by a word that would identify them as seeking an uncaring government that leaves little or no scope for pleasure.  Thus applied, the word austerity is propagandic.

The irony of propagandic is the acceptance and use of words by the targets against whom the term was coined.  Even Milton Friedman called the Free Market system Capitalism.

 

SNIPPETS FROM ELSEWHERE

Closing words at the end of the second presidential debate:

I believe that the free enterprise system is the greatest engine of prosperity the world’s ever known. I believe in self-reliance and individual initiative and risk takers being rewarded.   President Barack Obama

Real Clear Politics reaction:

I have no doubt that Obama believes he believes in free enterprise — except in the case of health care policy, the auto industry, the housing market, education, banking, job creation, manufacturing, green energy and so on and so forth.

If you believed the free enterprise system is the mechanism of great prosperity, your crowning achievement might not be legislation that constricts competition in health care, layers it generously with regulations, institutes effective price controls, coerces participation and sets up a government board to mete out advice on rationing.

Put it this way: Folks who admire free enterprise seldom spend two months bashing private equity to kick off a re-election campaign for president.

About bailouts, by Steven Haywood:

Milton Friedman liked to say, the capitalist system is a profit and loss system.  The losses are just as important as the profits because they discipline ongoing resource allocation.  Bailing out losing firms assures us of mediocre economic growth.  Haywood [edited]

When losses are made, under the present system these losses are borne by the individuals who sustained them and took the risk and judged things wrongly, whereas under State management all losses are quartered upon the taxpayers and the community as a whole.  The elimination of the profit motive and of self-interest as a practical guide in the myriad transactions of daily life will restrict, paralyze and destroy British ingenuity, thrift, contrivance and good housekeeping at every stage in our life and production, and will reduce all our industries from a profit-making to a loss-making process.  Winston Churchill 1947

If Obama is re-elected,
He will fundamentally transform America from a society that strives to eliminate class to a society of four classes: wealthy elites, government and union bureaucrats, the growing dependent poor, and a shrinking pool of working gainfully employed taxpayers supporting everyone else.

MILTON FRIEDMAN ON GREED

Milton Friedman was not only a brilliant economist; he was a great debater as well. He had a knack of going straight to the core of an issue. He spoke in words anyone could understand, a rare talent among those in his profession.

Economics is an in-exact science, comprised less of facts and more of schools of thought. The belief in free markets, the sanctity of private property and the Rule of Law is known in the field of economics as “the Friedman school”. Friedman is a Nobel Prize winner but the highest honor an economist can earn is to have the world  add the word “school” to your name.

Here is Friedman’s response to Phil Donohue’s version of the age old question, isn’t capitalism a travesty on the poor?