16.11.06

More Milton Friedman

Earlier, I noted that Milton Friedman, a truly influential economist and political thinker, passed away.

As I said in the earlier post, better minds than mine are going to pay tribute to him and his ideas. So rather than try to match their efforts this time, I'm going to link to an essay he wrote in 1978 called "Is Capitalism Humane?"

Give it a read. For me, the "money quote" is the following. It sums up how I think the "common good" can and should be obtained, even if it doesn't always work in an imperfect world:

I am saying only that a set of social institutions that stresses individual responsibility, that treats the individual—given the kind of person he is, the kind of society in which he operates—as responsible for and to himself, will lead to a higher and more desirable moral climate than a set of institutions that stresses the lack of responsibility of the individual for what happens to him and relieves him of blame or credit for what he does to his fellowmen.


Personal freedom and personal responsibility for a better world, baby. Perhaps it doesn't always work out that way in the real world, but it's got a good beat, and you can dance to it.

More later.

1 Comments:

At 9:04 PM, Blogger X said...

Today is a sad day.

For your readers who wants to find out more about Friedman, the following link has some good videos (thanx to Greg Mankiw):

http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2006/08/some-tv-is-worth-watching.html

 

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