Milton Friedman and The Big Lie
The Big Lie – a term coined by Adolf Hitler in 1929. Hitler’s book Mein Kampf. describes The Big Lie as a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe that anyone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously”. Welcome to Economic Rationalism, Milton Friedman and Big Lie.
To be fair to Milton Friedman the man and not just my image of him, it is likely that he considered himself nothing less than Albert Schweitzer-like in his pursuit of the good of humanity. It is curious therefore that his theories have resulted in so much deep suffering and pain for the world’s poor. His judgement in pushing an agenda of deregulation and elimination of restrictions to the open market must now be re-evaluated. In light of two global financial collapses, firstly in 1987 and more recently in 2008 (as yet unresolved) the entire notion of open slather by what is laughably called “market forces” begs to be revisited with enhanced powers of comprehension. It’s time we understood it’s a Big Lie.
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Theories . . . as Goethe once observed are grey but the Tree of Life is evergreen. Friedman’s theory rested neatly and essentially on the notion that if we lift barriers to trade and remove constraints on companies being able to make a profit – otherwise known as deregulation – then hey presto! The magical and one must understand BENIGN forces that represent the market in it’s free flowing glory will make everything . . .better. Righto. And bollocks.
Milton Friedman had a sense of invincibility that was no doubt boosted by receiving the Nobel prize in 1976. And . . .his claim that the Great Depression of the 1930’s could have been avoided by monetary policy is about to be tested for real. Watch this space. Who is punting on avoiding a depression by the Quantitative Easing -Also Know As printing more money? Not as simple as a few simplistic theories is it Milt? Could this be part of his Big Lie?Perhaps he should have considered that before selling billions into economic servitude for the price of his little gold statue.
In any case the man who thought himself to be so right was clearly so wrong. About many things apparently. But hey he had a nice smile and knew lot’s of fancy economic words so by all means let’s keep following his theories into the black hole of economic infinity. D’ya thnk? If you ever wondered what really happens when Quantitative Easing gets together with free flowing market forces just watch this short, humourous and instructive little video, it may even have caused Milton Friedman to stop and consider the truth about the Big Lie.