In this episode of Milton Friedman’s T. V. series “Free to choose” Swedish author Johan Norberg travels in Friedman’s footsteps to revisit the idea of the struggle between freedom and equality. Norberg analyzes the present-day importance of Friedman’s ideas in the 2011 world of globalization and fiscal disaster. Norberg introduces Freidman as one of the greatest economist in the past several decades, saying “that Friedman did more for freedom then anybody else in recent decades.
Friedman convinced many nations to embrace economic freedom. For example, the small country of Estonia, Prime Minister Mart Laar took his inspiration from Milton Friedman’s book “Free to choose. ” He decided to imitate the true free-market system, with zero tariffs, a flat tax, and a minimum of regulations. Despite the problems of 2008’s financial crisis, Estonia is widely seen as the most successful of the former communist economies. Free markets have spread throughout the world.
At the same time the fastest human progress ever, and it has been led by countries that opened up their economies. In fact, average incomes around the world have almost doubled. The Statistics since Friedman did his series in 1980 stand evident that the free markets not only advocate productive efficiency but also, cultivate tranquility and unity of the peoples of the world. Percent in extreme poverty have been halved since Friedman did his series in 1980. Amazingly 730 million people have been liberated from poverty.
Every year life expectancy around the world has increased by 3 months, despite AIDS and despite malaria. Infant Mortality, which is the risk of parents loosing their child, has almost been cut in half. These results were that Friedman predicted free markets could bring about. Since 1950 Hong Kong’s GDP per capita has increased more than ten times. Friedman concluded that, “this success hasn’t been achieved by government action, by someone sitting in one of those tall skyscrapers telling people what to do.
It’s been achieved by allowing the market to work. The complete absence of tariffs, or any other restrictions of trade, is one of the main reasons why Hong Kong has been able to provide such a rapidly rising standard of life for its people. ” Hong Kong is now part of China but at times seems more like Hong Kong took over China, rather than the other way around. The communist neighbors saw the success of Hong Kong then decided to set their markets free. The free market system is both creative and destructive.
To illustrate this, as people began to buy cellphones, they got rid of their home phones. And then, there is no need for all those workers who use to connect homes to wires, and repair telephone lines. Thousands of people who worked hard, and supported their families, and through no fault of their own lost their jobs, and skills that might not be in demand as the technology takes a new turn. Some success by creating the new smartphone and become very wealthy while others are stuck with an obsolete technology.
Some win, some loose, and the result is something that most people have a problem with: inequality. Equality is a compelling notion one that everyone can appreciate to some degree. In fact, that it is fair to say that in one sense America was built on the idea of equality. The idea of equality defined by Friedman was, “Everyone should have he same opportunity to make what he could of his capacities; that all careers should be open to people, on the basis of there talents, independently of the race, religion, belief, or social class that characterized them.
I believe that Freidman’s concept of equality of opportunity would not conflict with the concept of absolute freedom. In conclusion to Milton Friedman’s T. V. series “Free to choose” I couldn’t agree more with Friedman ideas and theories. Freedom from government barriers would give everyone the freedom to try, to start a business, to learn a trade, to get a job, to become rich and successful. And it, would deny the powerful and vested interests the right to distort the outcome.
When people are free, they are able to use their own resources most effectively and you will have a great deal of productivity and opportunity. Today we still see widespread hostility against the free market system but, I believe that the assets outweigh the liabilities. As Milton Friedman put it in 1980, “The society that puts equality before freedom will end up with neither. The society that puts freedom before equality will end up with a great measure of both. “