Basic Economics: Milton Friedman- The Role of Government in a Free Society




Source: Basic Economics– Professor Milton Friedman

Source: FreeState Plus

My idea of an ideal society, or a “Utopia,” is a society where the people are in charge of not only their Government but also their own individual lives, where people have what Libertarian economist Milton Friedman called maximized freedom and responsibility for the individual, where people have the right to live their lives as they see fit as long as they are not hurting anyone else. I don’t agree with Milton Friedman on economics, at least not on everything.

For example, he believed that government had no role in the economy from a regulatory or a supportive standpoint.  I think Government does have those roles, not a dictatorial role, but a supportive role, to provide a safety net and not a welfare state for people who fall through the cracks of capitalism, for example, welfare, unemployment insurance, and Social Security.  These empower people at the bottom to acquire the skills and sometimes retraining they need to be self-sufficient.

Economist Friedman believed in a completely free market when it came to the economy and that government had no role in it.  I believe in American capitalism, which has a mix of private market economics and a robust private sector, but with solid regulators to prevent and punish abuses in the system such as slave labor, slave wages, and unsafe working conditions. We need these regulators along with a strong but affordable safety net, not welfare state, to empower people to become self-sufficient.

When I talk about maximizing freedom, I mean maximizing the freedom of people to live their own lives as they see fit as long as they are not hurting anyone else.  That means legalization with regulation of marijuana, not that I would ever smoke or use it except for a medical condition. Legalize, with regulation, gambling, including casinos, and it looks like casinos will be headed to my Free State of Maryland, which will bring in thousands of much-needed jobs if the industry is regulated properly.

Legalize, with regulation, prostitution.  Again I believe government shouldn’t be involved in how people live their own lives, and as long as the prostitution industry is regulated properly, it can be as safe as possible while controlling the spread of disease.  As things stand, the oldest profession in the world is still in business and thriving, but we currently have little, if any, control over it. Again, I would never pay for sex, but I don’t have the right, nor does Government in my opinion have the right, to make this decision for others.

Under the U.S. Constitution, homosexuals have the same rights as straight people, but their constitutional rights aren’t protected completely, with adoption and marriage as good examples. But under the Constitution, since gay people (note the word people) have the same rights as straight people, so also should their constitutional rights be protected.

As on most things, I’m pro choice on reproductive rights, because again I don’t believe government has the right to make medical decisions for women, or men for that matter.  I’m also pro choice on physician-assisted suicide for mentally competent patients who have unbearably painful medical conditions without a chance for cure, again because I believe Government doesn’t have a role in making medical decisions for people.  These decisions should be left to individuals and their doctors.

As I’ve said before, if people have all the options in front of them, they’ll generally make the best decisions for themselves and their families. So let’s let them and let government do what they do best, and perhaps the only thing it does well, which is to play a supportive role and protect people from abusing each other. Laws should be written to protect people from hurting others, not themselves.

Basic Economics: Milton Friedman- The Role of Government in a Free Society

About Rik Schneider

Blogger/writer on a lot of different subjects.
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