More relevant today than ever before-
you listening, self-assured Obammunist boneheads?
Phil Donahue Show (1979):
Donahue: When you see around the globe the maldistribution of wealth, the desperate plight of millions of people in underdeveloped countries, when you see so few haves and so many have-nots, when you see the greed and the concentration of power... did you ever have a moment of doubt about capitalism? And whether greed is a good idea to run on?
Friedman: Well first of all, is there some society you know that doesn't run on 'greed'?
Do you think Russia doesn't run on 'greed'?
Do you think China doesn't run on 'greed'?
What is 'greed'? Of course none of us are greedy...
it's only the other fellah that's 'greedy'. [laughter]
The world runs on individuals pursuing their self-interest.
The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaucracies. Einstein didn't construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn't revolutionize the automobile industry that way.
In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you're talking about -the only cases in recorded history- are where they've had capitalism and largely free-trade.
If you want to know where the masses are worse-off -worst off- it's in exactly the kind of societies where they depart from that.
So that the record of history is absolutely crystal-clear: that there is no alternative way -so far discovered in improving the lot of ordinary people- that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by the free-enterprise system.
Donahue: But it seems to reward not virtue as much as ability to manipulate the system.
Friedman: And what does reward 'virtue'? Do you think the communist commissar rewards virtue? Do you think a Hitler rewards virtue?
Do you think American presidents reward virtue?
Do they choose their appointees on the basis of the 'virtue' of the people appointed, or on the basis of their political clout?
Is it really true that political self-interest is somehow nobler than economic self-interest?
You know, I think you're taking a lot of things for granted- just tell me where in the world you'll find these angels that are going to organize society for us... well, I don't even trust you to do that! [laughter]
Milton Friedman capitalism Phil Donahue Show debate re. greed