Milton Friedman on Limited Government

This video touches on a lot of critical ideas that seem to be missing from the politics of today. I think a lot of people who consider themselves educated haven’t really considered this perspective very seriously.


Professor Friedman let me ask you what may turn out to be a long and rather convoluted question. You’ve said that the objectives of the people who have created social security programs, the people who want to provide for the aged, who want to provide for the poor, who want to achieve objectives that have been identified with minimum wage and social security, that the objectives were valid and you share them. Now, if you share them, how would you have achieved those objectives?

Friedman: The only way you can achieve them. In my opinion, which is by voluntary cooperative action. You see I think there’s been one underlying basic fallacy in this whole set of social security and welfare measures. And that is the fallacy — this is at the bottom of it — the fallacy that it is feasible and possible to do good with other people’s money. Now you see that view has two flaws. If I’m going to do good with other people’s money I first have to take it away from them. That means, that the welfare state philosophy of doing good with other people’s money, at it’s very bottom, is a philosophy of violence and coercion. It’s against freedom, because I have to use force to get the money. In the second place, very few people spend money as carefully as they spend their own […]

How are we ever going to achieve peace and prosperity through violence and coercion? It doesn’t make any sense, sillies!

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