Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Economist magazine on Milton Friedman

You may have noticed The Economist's Obit on Milton Friedman, which was "Milton Freed Man".

The following would have been my letter to the Editor, if I had got around to it in time:

SIRS - Your unthinkingly fulsome praise of Milton Friedman is inappropriate, even for an obituary.

Friedman did not "free man". Rather, he freed the rich to become even richer - at the cost of the US as a nation, at the cost of increasing the gap between the rich and the poor, and at the cost of worsening the environment:

* The aggressive ascendancy of Friedmanism and its allies has resulted in the growing gap between the rich and the poor that has been highlighted more than once by The Economist itself.

* The influence of Friedmanism and its allies has resulted in the trade and other imbalances that now imperil the United States as a country (though no one there seems willing to face that fact).

* Much more dangerously, Friedmanism and its allies are worsening the climate chaos that bedevils the future of the whole of humanity.

Will Keynesianism be able to rescue us from those triple dangers? Perhaps from the first danger, though I have my doubts about that possibility.

In any case, the second and third dangers cannot be overcome except by new global agreements and legislation – which Friedman so chafed against, even at the national level.

Prabhu Guptara
Weinfelden, Switzerland Sphere: Related Content

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