Skip to main content

View Diary: RIP Milton Friedman (42 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Milton Friedman: What conservatives could have... (13+ / 0-)


    What few people realize is how much Reagan and his conservative GOP successors twisted Friedman's theories to suit their political ends.  Friedman thought money supply was an important part of the economic puzzle; conservatives ran with it and said that it was the whole thing.

    Conservatives also picked and chose which parts of his theory to accept based, again, on their political needs.  They went really contrary to his views on government contracting and how to deal with corporate malfeasance.

    I could go on, but suffice it to say that conservatives hijacked Milton Friedman's name to justify their own failed policies.

    •  Spot on! (10+ / 0-)

      I am one of those libertarian Democrats, and have long felt that Friedman (and Hayek) offered a great deal - to Liberals and Conservatives, and most certainly libertarians.  But, as we've seen with the experiment of the past 6 years - the "as applied" GOP was interested in the the theories of Friedman and other invisible-guiding-hand believers only as a fig leaf for essentially naked personal greed.  

      •  Hayek should have realized that (2+ / 0-)

        his theories were going to be used to soak the poor and feed the rich. His academic works will forever be taunted by the Social Darwinism that they inspired.

        Today "balance in the media" means a balance between political fact and conservative ideology.

        by Joe B on Thu Nov 16, 2006 at 10:34:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Academics are theorists. (4+ / 0-)

          They have little interest as a rule in the practical implications of the adoption of their theories.  They operate in a very partial and fragmented discipline that celebrates theoretical consistency rather than any measurable contribution to human welfare.

          I don't think it is fair to hold someone advancing a theory as responsible for all the subsequent distortions and misapplications to which that theory may be yoked.

          "Being a politician is a poor profession. Being a public servant is a noble one." - Herbert Hoover

          by LondonYank on Thu Nov 16, 2006 at 11:01:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Neither one spoke out against their mis-use. (0+ / 0-)

          Enough for a 1-way ticket to hell for both of them.

          I'm not ready to make nice, I'm not ready to back down, I'm still mad as hell... Dixie Chicks

          by UndercoverRxer on Thu Nov 16, 2006 at 11:08:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  In understand your point (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LondonYank, niremetal

          but I'm not sure I agree with you. New ideas and knowledge, while they can always be twisted by others, but should never be suppressed because of potential misuse. New ideas and knowledge are essential for progress. Stem cell research could be used for horrific purposes, but that doesn't mean the science shouldn't be developed. Just because satellites can be used to eavesdrop does not mean they shouldn't be developed. The same is true for ideas - just because they can be perverted, does not mean they shouldn't be mentioned.

          Instead, I think the problem is that the ethical implications of new ideas and discoveries are not sufficiently addressed. Part of the problem is that most people can't or won't spend the time to educate themselves and they thus cannot be part of a reasoned debate.

          I think a partial solution is for academic ideas or discoveries that are relevant to public policy, whether they political science, economics or science (among others) also be explained in lay terms by the person who made the discovery. In other words, academics do a poor job explaining their results to the public.

    •  oh classical liberalism, and random thoughts (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LondonYank, montpellier, niremetal

      Right, the implementation of his theory was all wrong.  But that was said about Marx. (Now if only we would have truly liberalized the economy and gotten rid of government for everything other than national defense. Then the system would work, it would suffer none of the failures of implementation like communism or other economics theories. But oh wait, in the history of the united states we've kind of tried that. And people were starving and dying in poverty. And people decided they didn't like it.)  Milton Friedman is still a visionary in my book.  But free-market capitalism is a lot like like religion, or socialism.  It's nice idea in theory, but that only gets you so far. Human being exploit the system.  That's just basic game theory for you.

      There are protectionist Republicans and it seems as if many in charge now(albeit outgoing)  are in favor of BIG business, not free business enterprise. They interfere all the time with tax loopholes and displays of favoritism.  The student loan industry is a perfect example.  Take Sallie Mae for instance.  It was the Repubs (and Boehner) who essentially pushed to destroy competition amongst lenders with the Singer Holder Rule.  Bad conservatives.  Not in the spirit of Friedman or Smith at all.  Bad bad.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site