Tag: Milton Friedman

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There is one and only one social responsibility of business–to use it resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud. – Milton Friedman Many companies today neglect this […]

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Quote of the Day: Intentions and Results

 

“One of the greatest mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.” — Milton Friedman

One thing the media has harped on with the Democratic presidential candidates that dropped out — especially Elizabeth Warren — is that the intentions of the policies and programs they offered were good. Medicare for All. Free tuition. Disarming ordinary citizens. Intersectionality. All, supposedly, were offered with the best of intentions. Which incidentally, are the paving stones for the road to hell.

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Here are highlights from his interview with Russ Roberts in 2006: I’ve always felt that the big defect politically of the Federal Reserve is precisely that so much depends on unelected representatives. The central bank is treated as if it were the Supreme Court. That’s why during the Depression, there was no effective controls on […]

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What Is the Purpose of a Corporation?

 

In a memorial service honoring Milton Friedman held at the Hoover Institution shortly after his death in 2007, Hoover Senior Fellow Edward Lazear hit the nail on the head when he said, only half in jest, “It is amazing how many people can best Milton in an argument when he is not in the room.”

His remark has added relevance today because last week the Business Roundtable (BR), a non-profit comprised of CEOs of major U.S. organizations, did battle with an empty chair with its short announcement entitled, “Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation.” The statement rejects the received wisdom—boldly pronounced in Friedman’s famous 1970 New York Times Magazine article, “The Social Responsibility Of Business Is to Increase Its Profits”—that corporate directors and officers should maximize shareholder value rather than some nebulous concept of social responsibility.

In tune with our populist times, the BR’s declaration has been interpreted in the press as  a conscious rebuke of Friedman for his propagation of what the late Lynn Stout termed  “The Shareholder Value Myth.” Friedman treated his statement as a means to an end.  The corporation that seeks to maximize its profit within the rules of the game will maximize social welfare as well. But the new wisdom is that Friedman’s model invites dangerous and selfish actions. That’s why the New York Times used the following caption for its story on the BR’s statement: “Shareholder Value Is No Longer Everything, Top C.E.O.s Say.”

Middle-Class Welfare and Fake Partisanship

 

It’s possible that Milton Friedman was ultimately a communist–as he says, he sometimes liked to talk demagogically: The class war of Watts vs. Beverly Hills. But it’s doubtful. What he was is a contrarian–he liked to shock public opinion. Contrarianism seems to be a combination of astute observation and lack of tact. This is what Aristotle calls wit, educated insolence. Friedman’s argument about middle-class welfare ultimately says what we all know to be true. It’s sent me thinking.

Peter Robinson 30 Years After “Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall”

 

On this special 50th episode of Whiskey Politics, we are honored to welcome Peter Robinson, Speechwriter to President Ronald Reagan. Among hundreds of other speeches, Peter is now celebrating the 30th anniversary of the history-making Brandenburg Gate speech where against advice from the White House, State Department, and Germans, President Reagan called on General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall!” We discuss this pivotal moment in history, the relationships with Margaret Thatcher and Milton Friedman and his upcoming Ricochet and Uncommon Knowledge interview with Pat Sajak at the Reagan Library.

Quote of the Day: Liberty and Equality

 

A society that aims for equality before liberty will end up with neither equality nor liberty.

And a society that aims first for liberty will not end up with equality, but it will end up with a much closer approach to equality than any other kind of system that has ever been developed.

Fundamental Transformation … of the Tax Code

 

I’m writing this at the inspiration of @jamielockett in the interest of demonstrating that we conservatives can and do say “yes.” Some of us may have already broached the subject of whether or not we’re actually conservatives, but whatever, Mr. Lockett. ;)

So, how do we on the Right not merely say “no”? I began discussing the topic here, but I’ve since had the opportunity to think about just what sort of reforms we can advocate which are not merely a return to the past but a way forward into the future; a revolution if you will that might permanently change the game.

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“I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the […]

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Uncle Milt’s Fencing Exhibition

 

Some weeks ago on one of the podcasts, Rob recalled Milton Friedman explaining how assuming that his opponents were arguing in good faith both added years to his life and helped him win more debates. Watching some old videos of the great man on YouTube, I came a fantastic example of the Great Man doing just that:

In it, a character straight out of casting for a 1970s student activist — you simply cannot un-see that hat — filibusters Friedman for nearly two minutes about his criticisms of “so-called communist countries” like the Soviet Union and the general wickedness of capitalism and Western colonialism, earning a round of applause from the audience for his efforts. Within minutes, however, Friedman’s utterly turned the tables, laying out all the ways in which the questioner used wrong facts to come to wrong conclusions and generally make a fool of himself. Best of all, it worked: within minutes, he’d turned the crowd, and without even seeming to break a sweat.

Save or Kill – Ricochet Edition

 

save or killThis past weekend, I did a pop-culture post based on a game Collider uses on its website called “Save or Kill.” The premise is that you are presented with two icons, both threatened with being wiped from existence forever, and must choose which of the two to save; you cannot save both. The game works best when you really love both icons, so it becomes a real Sophie’s Choice.

That first post didn’t get as many responses as I’d hoped — though my thanks to those who did participate, and there’s still time to jump in! — so I’m tailoring the game in this post with options better-suited to the interests of the Ricochetti.

So, read the list of the choices below and — in the comments — post which of the two icons you’d save for each of the ten choices. There’s no obligation to explain your reasoning, but I think it’ll be more fun with it. The criteria you use for judging is entirely up to you: you can do this based exclusively on personal preference, or on which option you feel is more important to society. Also, if you’re not familiar with both options in a scenario, feel free to abstain from that particular scenario.

Why Philosophers Hate Economists

 

I can’t be the first person on Ricochet to have noticed that philosophers and economists don’t always get along. The tension between the two bears some resemblance to the tension between conservatives and liberals. As the old trope goes, conservatives believe that liberalism is wrong, while liberals believe that conservatism is evil. Similarly, when economists and philosophers disagree, the economists believe it’s because the philosophers aren’t making sense, while the philosophers believe it’s because the economists are morally bankrupt.

Do you have a theory about this? I do. Here goes: