Sunday, November 19, 2006

Milton Friedman: Capitalism No...Corporatism Yes!

In all recorded history there has not been one economist who has had to worry about where the next meal would come from.

Peter Drucker (1909 - 2005)

Milton Friedman the Nobel Prize winning economist passed away recently. Those who think they know capitalism will eulogize Friendman as a friend of capitalism and the free market but a closer analysis of Friedman’s ideas show that his ideas were more in line with the New Fascism that runs this country under Corporatism. Friedman was a member of many so called think tanks including the “Hoover Institute." People who scream that this is laissez-faire capitalism lack a serious understanding of economics but most economists appear to be clueless at what this is really about too.

Friedman believed that America worked best under the “invisible hand” of allowing markets to proceed without any government intervention as stated by Adam Smith. However, this is one of the great ruses of the American Political System. In Friedman’s world the cost of pollution was externalized to the public. In a true laissez-faire system if you pollute it you pay to clean it up and restore it. Basically what Friendman advocates was government welfare for corporations, in other words..Corporatism! In Friedman’s world the public or the government pays for the corporation’s true external expense so that the company can be prosperous. Just check out all the government write offs, tax breaks, grants, and other nonsense the oil industry gets from the federal government. This is capitalism? Looks like pure government welfare to anyone with an IQ above that of a ground hog!

This form of Corporatism can be seen in many industries today. Take the illegal immigrant population that work in many corporations and even small business. The argument is made by the Neofascist Chambers of Commerce that these businesses couldn’t survive without this cheap labor and would go out of business and people would lose their jobs. So frickin what…that’s called Capitalism! If you can’t make it as a business why should the public pay your expenses for medical and other charges for the illegal immigrants? Go out of business...the weaker business shouldn't survive now should they under a true capitalistic society!

This is corporate welfare at its best! Another example of this are related health costs and problems associated with pollution that companies refuse to talk about. This is all Friedman’s world. A world in which companies have no responsibility but only look at the bottom line while taking money out of the pockets of the populace because they externalized the true costs to us. This is called Capitalism? I don’t think so! Friedman was an arrogant man who never truly understood systems. A system whether it’s a lake or economic one has inputs, outputs, flow etc., Friedman like many economists take the data they like and ignore what they don't like (the externalities), and they call it a free market. I doubt if most intelligent people would agree. So the next time someone screams free market find out how much you are paying because there exists few free markets in the world. As someone once said…”there is no free lunch.”

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