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Milton Friedman answers RonChapmanJr



February 16, 2010 – Comments (12)

RonChapman has a post on why he thinks the US economy will collapse.

Reasons Why I See the U.S., its Economy, and Ultimately the Stock Market Collapsing

Reason #1 

Greed: a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed

Economist Milton Friedman answers RonChapmanJr.

Economist Milton Friedman taught Donahue a lesson when Phil attempted to equate greed with capitalism.

Friedman regards free enterprise as the best economic system ever developed by civilization and cites history as the proof of his contention.


12 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On February 16, 2010 at 1:28 AM, Harold71 (< 20) wrote:


I was totally 2 clicks away from posting that as a reply. 

Great Minds...

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#2) On February 16, 2010 at 1:41 AM, Harold71 (< 20) wrote:

Ron is a good man.  But he should go after the deeper cause -- the total lack of a free-market money system



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#3) On February 16, 2010 at 2:23 AM, AntiRonChapmanJr (< 20) wrote:

I wouldn't consider that an answer.  :)

Does capitalism = greed? It can, and often does, but does it have to?  I would think, no, it does not.  I'm a fan of capitalism but I can live and work within the system without being greedy.   Capitalism does not absolutely have to be driven by greed.  An adherence to the following verse could also lead to the same benefits as a capitalistic society.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."

Colossians 3:23-24


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#4) On February 16, 2010 at 8:03 AM, carcassgrinder (34.00) wrote:


I tend to agree with you minus the religous motivation.  I think a main point that Donahue should have pursued is the deeper meaning of the phenomena of "greed". 

Friedman defines greed as "humans desire to pursue self interests"...and I would agree...except he left out a key shoud be "humans desire to pursue self interest AT ANY COST" any cost to the environment or the well being of others or to moral and ethical codes of civilized society.

The pursuit of happiness should never be mistaken for greed.  I love Donahue....but he let this guy off way to easy. 

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#5) On February 16, 2010 at 10:19 AM, 4everlost (29.01) wrote:

IMO you could replace the word greed with corruption and then the thought starts to make some sense.  Our country has plenty of business owners/leaders that are ethical, charitable, honest and believe in building value for customers, employees, etc.  A majority of the problem is due to power hungry, unethical and corrupt players.

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#6) On February 16, 2010 at 10:46 AM, 4everlost (29.01) wrote:


"I love Donahue....but he let this guy off way to easy."

It may be that Donahue truly believes that greed = capitalism making it difficult for him to make the intellectual leap you mentioned.  I agree that's what he could have said.

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#7) On February 16, 2010 at 1:39 PM, Melaschasm (70.37) wrote:

Using a different definition of greed does not change the accuracy of what Milton Friedman said.  If you prefer to use a different definition, then just substitute economic self interest, everywhere Milton says greed, and he is still right, and capitalism is still the best economic system so far.

The reason that Donahue didn't argue with Milton about the definition of the word greed, is because the debate was about capitalism.

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#8) On February 16, 2010 at 2:27 PM, FleaBagger (27.54) wrote:

As Ron pointed out, there is no disagreement between what he said in his anti-greed post and what Friedman says in this video. Note that Friedman doesn't fall into the trap of saying that greed is good, as an Objectivist might, but points out first that people are greedy in any economic or political system, and second that capitalism benefits the poor. I heartily agree with both Ron and with Friedman (in these cases anyway) and I was waiting with bated breath for one of our progressive friends to accuse me of hypocrisy. I didn't think you would conflate the personal, spiritual vice of greed with the societal freedom of capitalism.

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#9) On February 16, 2010 at 2:36 PM, FleaBagger (27.54) wrote:

I almost forgot to mention: it was not greed that gave rise to capitalism in America, but it was greed that turned us away from it.

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#10) On February 16, 2010 at 4:49 PM, APJ4RealHoldings (39.50) wrote:

Good post Abitare.  

I guess what can frustrate many of those today are the disregard some multinationals have for ethics, and the environment in having goods manufactured. 

Capitalism was the ideal system when paired with enforced property rights AND real antitrust enforcement.

INSTEAD we have, as of late been stuck with large oligopolies across many key industries that control too much.  And at the same time many countries outside the US, lack enforceable property rights to protect their citizens individually and fail to protect their environment around them.  Conversely, for the most part, we stay protected over here. 

We need to reintroduce free enterprise in this country and around the world with some real, enforceable property rights & antitrust enforcement. 

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#11) On February 18, 2010 at 12:28 AM, FleaBagger (27.54) wrote:

Also, this seems pretty hypocritical for someone who keeps posting crap about the need for government to nationalize health care, seize control of energy producers, and ban gambling and speculation.

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#12) On February 18, 2010 at 12:45 AM, AvianFlu (< 20) wrote:

Thanks for posting! That was great!

It turns out there are a lot of great Friedman videos on youtube that I highly recommend. They may be 30 or 40 years old, but they are more relevant than ever today.

And what a nice addition to having flawless logic.

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