Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Milton Friedman and Scandinavia

I think his [Milton Friedman] belief in the superior efficiency of free markets to government as a means of resource allocation, though fruitful and largely correct, was embraced by him as an article of faith and not merely as a hypothesis. I think he considered it almost a personal affront that the Scandinavian nations, particularly Sweden, could achieve and maintain very high levels of economic output despite very high rates of taxation, an enormous public sector, and extensive wealth redistribution resulting in much greater economic equality than in the United States. I don't think his analytic apparatus could explain such an anomaly.
--Richard Posner

I wonder how Friedman would have explained Scandinavia. I wonder how anyone does who unwaveringly champions the free market, small government, and low taxation. If Posner's correct, Friedman couldn't explain it, and he felt bothered that he couldn't. I feel bothered that economists and politicians with Friedman's influence continue touting a system--ours--in which there's such a gross and unfair distribution of wealth and so much suffering among the young and not-so-young when nations such as Sweeden seem to point to a better way that combines the best of the free market with the best of big government to foster opportunities for the greatest degree of happiness for the greatest number of people.

Isn't this what a nation should primarly be about?


Anonymous said...

Milton Deadman said...