“The Power of the Market” episode of Free to Choose in 1990 by Milton Friedman (Part 1)

Milton Friedman The Power of the Market 1-5

How can we have personal freedom without economic freedom? That is why I don’t understand why socialists who value individual freedoms want to take away our economic freedoms.  I wanted to share this info below with you from Milton Friedman who has influenced me greatly over the last 30 plus years. Here is part one.
Volume 1 The Power of the Market
Finding examples in his visits to Hong Kong, the U.S. and Scotland, Dr. Friedman says that free markets are the fundamental engines of economic progress. In free markets, individuals can go into any business they want, trade with whomever they want, buy as cheap as they can, and sell at the highest price they can get. In truly free markets, governments do not interfere with any of these privileges. Individuals are free to enter the marketplace to do business, and they, and they alone, enjoy the fruits of their successes and the consequences of their failures. In free markets, producers of goods and services respond to signals they receive from buyers in the marketplace. They key production to their understanding of what people are buying and, apparently, wish to continue to buy. Using this information, they decide what to produce and in what quantity. Competitive forces in free markets promote efficiency. Because there is free entry of new producers into the market, individual producers must keep costs down in order to price their products at competitive levels. This means the resources they consume tend to be used efficiently. If they are not, costs of production rise, selling prices go up, and the producer may not be able to sell his product because it is not priced competitively. Free markets promote voluntary cooperation among a great diversity of people. As Milton Friedman points out, even making something as simple as a pencil requires the cooperation of thousands of people largely unknown to one another. Because the pencil manufacturer needs paint, graphite, wood, glue, and other components, widely separated groups of individuals have an incentive to produce these items and ship them to the pencil plant. This cooperation is not accomplished by any government. Individual freedom and economic freedom are tightly linked. It is difficult to conceive of personal freedom existing in isolation from economic freedom. Thus, the free market system not only promotes economic progress, but also buttresses our cherished individual freedoms.

Hi, I am Arnold Schwarzenegger. I would like a moment of your time because I wanted you to know something. I wanted you to know about Dr. Milton Friedman’s TV series, Free to Choose. I truly believe that the series has changed my life. When you have such a powerful experience as that, I think you shouldn’t keep it to yourself, I wanted to share it with you.

Being free to choose for me means being free to make your own decisions; free to live your own life; pursue your own goals; chase your own rainbow; without the government breathing down on your neck or standing on your shoes. For me that meant coming here to America. Because I came from a socialistic country in which the government controls the economy. It is a place where you can hear 18 year old kids already talking about their pension. But me __ I wanted more. I wanted to be the best __ individualism like that is incompatible with socialism. So I felt I had to come to America. I had no money in my pocket, but here I had the freedom to get it. I have been able to parlay my big muscles into big business and a big movie career. Along the way I was able to save and invest and I watched America change and I noticed this __ that the more the government interfered and intervened and inserted itself into the free market, the worse the country did. But when the government stepped back and let the free enterprise system do its work, then the better we did, the more robust our economy grew, the better I did, and the better my business grew, and the more I was able to hire and help others.

Okay. So there I was in Palm Springs, waiting for Maria to get ready so we could go out for a game of mixed doubles. I started flipping through the television dial and I caught a glimpse of Nobel Prize winner, Economist Dr. Milton Friedman. I recognized him from the studying of my own degree of economics in business, but I didn’t know I was watching Free to Choose __ it knocked me out. Dr. Friedman expressed, validated and explained everything I ever thought or experienced or observed about the way the economy works. I guess I was really ready to hear it. He said, the economic race should not be arranged so that everyone ends at the finish line at the same time, but so that everyone starts at the starting line at the same time. Wow! I would like to write that one home to Austria. He said, that society that puts equality before freedom winds up with neither, but that society puts freedom before equality, we will end up with a great measure of both. Boy, if I would have come up with that one myself, I maybe wouldn’t have had to get into body building.

When I did beef up my body building, at business school, of course it started with what Thomas Jefferson believed and what Adam Smith thought, even what Milton Friedman had to say __ I would be free to choose __ it all came together. Their economic thought with my own personal experience, and in a way I felt that I had come home. I sought out Dr. Friedman and had great pleasure and privilege of meeting him and his economist wife, Rose, and we have all become friends, and now I call him Milton. Then I became a big pain in the neck about Free to Choose.

All my friends and acquaintances got the tapes and the books for Christmas after Christmas, all the way through the Reagan years when I was able to tell them all __ you see, Milton is right. And I think it’s crucial that we all keep moving in the same direction, away from socialism and to its greater freedom and opportunity. That is why I am so excited that Milton Friedman is updating Free to Choose, bringing it into the 90’s by discussing how to deal with the drug disaster, the chabain phenomenon, and of course, the miserable failure of communism. By the way, there are plans now to translate Free to Choose into the languages of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. And you know, they really need it to guide them through it __ to take the first walk toward freedom. But we need it too.

I commend to you the new television series Free to Choose and encourage you to walk into the 21st century in freedom, in opportunity and in success, with Dr. Milton Friedman.

Thanks for listening.

Friedman: Once all of this was a swamp, covered with forest. The Canarce Indians who lived here traded the 22 square miles of soggy Manhattan Island to the Dutch for $24.00 worth of cloth and trinkets. The newcomers founded a city, New Amsterdam at the edge of an empty continent. In the years that followed, it proved a magnet for millions of people from across the Atlantic; people who were driven by fear and poverty; who were attracted by the promise of freedom and plenty. They fanned out over the continent and built a new nation with their sweat, their enterprise and their vision of a better future.For the first time in their lives, many were truly free to pursue their own objectives. That freedom released the human energies which created the United States. For the immigrants who were welcomed by this statue, America was truly a land of opportunity.They poured ashore in their best clothes, eager and expectant, carrying what little they owned. They were poor, but they all had a great deal of hope. Once they arrived, they found, as my parents did, not an easy life, but a very hard life. But for many there were friends and relatives to help them get started __ to help them make a home, get a job, settle down in the new country. There were many rewards for hard work, enterprise and ability. Life was hard, but opportunity was real. There were few government programs to turn to and nobody expected them. But also, there were few rules and regulations. There were no licenses, no permits, no red tape to restrict them. They found in fact, a free market, and most of them thrived on it.Many people still come to the United States driven by the same pressures and attracted by the same promise. You can find them in places like this. It’s China Town in New York, one of the centers of the garment industry __ a place where hundreds of thousands of newcomers have had their first taste of life in the new country. The people who live and work here are like the early settlers. They want to better their lot and they are prepared to work hard to do so.Although I haven’t often been in factories like this, it’s all very familiar to me because this is exactly the same kind of a factory that my mother worked in when she came to this country for the first time at the age of 14, almost 90 years ago. And if there had not been factories like this here then at which she could have started to work and earn a little money, she wouldn’t have been able to come. And if I existed at all, I’d be a Russian or Hungarian today, instead of an American.
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