It wouldn’t be Milton Friedman if he didn’t go to extremes in his argumentation. I do not belong to those who are passionate followers of his proposals. Most of all, I think his proposals are primarily academic because they would not have a chance of being tested/implemented in today’s pluralist democracies.
However, I think it is very good if, from time to time, one gets a reminder, sort of like a periodic injection – a reminder that the principle of personal freedom is at the root of our Western societes. We may not be aware of it today but if it weren’t so, we wouldn’t look back at a couple of thousand years of evidence of what human beings have done to increase their freedom.
In the battle between individualism and collectivism, I would offer the following observation: There is no idealistic or material value anywhere in the world whose origins are not either in the brains or hands of individual human beings (for the football fans I add “also in the feet of human beings”)! The individual is the atom of everything but, at the same time, no individual can get far on his own if there is not a society where individuals demonstrate solidarity. Limit the individual and you limit the quality of society.
Why do I present this in this blog? I do so because what we are seeing in today’s Eurozone are exclusively actions by governments and other official bodies. Whether it is Greece or Germany, Spain or Austria – it is governments who think that they can steer economies through plans instead of through incentives.
It is unimaginable to me that Greece would be in the dire straits which it is in today if there hadn’t been absolutely mad government decisions (and behavior!) over the last 3 decades. Today, it seems that many Greeks have become helpless as a result of that. Greeks who probably would have done quite will if not hindered by others now pay dearly for not having been allowed to do quite well.
Those who still think that all answers can and will come from the Greek government are urgently recommended to watch the below videos. One doesn’t have to go through all of them. It suffices to watch the first and the last one.
Nr. 1: The power of the market
Nr. 2: The tyranny of control
Nr. 3: Anatomy of a crisis
Nr. 4: From cradle to grave
Nr. 5: Created equal
Nr. 6: What’s wrong with our schools?
Nr. 7: Who protects the consumer?
Nr. 8: Who protects the worker?
Nr. 9: How to cure inflation?
Nr. 10: How to stay free