“Friedman Friday” FREE TO CHOOSE “Who protects the consumer?” Video and Transcript Part 1 of 7 Milton Friedman: “Allowing the free market to work is the best thing for consumers”

In 1980 I read the book FREE TO CHOOSE by Milton Friedman and it really enlightened me a tremendous amount.  I suggest checking out these episodes and transcripts of Milton Friedman’s film series FREE TO CHOOSE: “The Failure of Socialism” and “What is wrong with our schools?”  and “Created Equal”  and  From Cradle to Grave, and – Power of the Market.

From the original Free To Choose series Milton asks: “Who Protects the Consumer?”. Many government agencies have been created for this purpose, yet they do so by restricting freedom and stifling beneficial innovation, and eventually become agents for the groups they have been created to regulate.

Allowing the free market to work is the best thing for consumers. Milton Friedman noted, “Over a quarter of a century ago, I bought, second hand, a desk calculator for which I paid $300. One of these little calculators today which I can buy for $10 or so, will do everything that did and more besides. What produced this tremendous improvement in technology? It was self-interest or if your prefer, greed. The greed of producers who wanted it to produce something that they can made a dollar on. The greed of consumers who wanted to buy things as cheaply as they could. Did government play a role in this? Very little. Only by keeping the road clear for human greed and self-interest to promote the welfare of the consumer.”
Volume 7 – Who Protects the Consumer?
Abstract:
Do consumers need protection? Increasingly the public answer to this question has been “yes.” Increasingly, too, the Federal government has been identified as the source of this protection. Milton Friedman disputes the views that (1) consumers are in dire need of governmental protection against the wiles of the business community and that (2) governmental actions tend to make consumers better off. He argues that consumers’ problems more frequently than not can be attributed to failures of government rather than to failures of free markets. The best protection for the consumer, in Dr. Friedman’s view, is the free market. Despite popular mythology, business interests do not have the power to make people purchase something they do not want. Consider, for example, the failure of the highly touted Edsel, a product that was heavily promoted by the best advertising brains at the Ford Motor Company and its advertising agencies.When people have alternatives, they will not accept products they do not want. In a competitive market system, business people’s recognition that consumers have alternatives provides a powerful stimulus to keep product quality high. Fear of losing business to competitors provides a strong protective shield for the consumer. Armed with the protection offered by the free market, the consumer, says Dr. Friedman, really needs very little protection by the government. Indeed, many government attempts to protect consumers have made them worse off than they were beforehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgVvUz6mUkY

Volume 7 – Who Protects the Consumer?
Transcript:
Friedman: The 1960’s Corvair, condemned by Ralph Nader as unsafe at any speed. Since Nader’s attack it is being increasingly accepted that we need government protection in the marketplace. Today there are agencies all over Washington where bureaucrats decide what’s good for us. Agencies to control the prices we pay, the quality of goods we can buy, the choice of products available. It’s already costing us more than $5 billion a year. Since the attack on the Corvair the government has been spending more and more money in the name of protecting the consumer. This is hardly what the 3rd president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, whose monument this is, had in mind when he defined a wise and frugal government as, one, which restrains men from injuring each other and leaves them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement. Ever since the Corvair affair the U.S. government has been increasingly been muscling in between buyer and seller in the marketplaces of America. By Thomas Jefferson’s standards, what we have today is not a wise and frugal government but a spendthrift and snooping government.
The federal regulations that govern our lives are available in many place. One set is here, in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. In 1936, the Federal Government established the Federal Register to record all of the regulations, hearings and other materials connected with the agencies in Washington. This is volume 1, number 1. In 1936 it took three volumes like this to record all these matters. In 1937 it took four and then it grew and grew and grew. At first rather slowly and gradually, but even so, year by year it took a bigger and bigger pile to hold all the regulations and hearings for that year. Then around 1970 came a veritable explosion so that one pile is no longer enough to hold the regulations for that year. It takes two and then three piles. Until on one day in 1977, September 28, the Federal Register had no fewer than 1,754 pages and these aren’t exactly what you’d call small pages either.
Many of those regulations come from this building.
Worker: Consumer Protection Safety hotline _ can you hold please?
Friedman: The Consumer Product Safety Commission is one of the newest agencies set up on our behalf. One of its jobs is to give advice to consumers.
Workers: The clue that gave it away….. What has been done about the flammability of children’s garments?
Friedman: But its main function is to produce rules and regulations. Hundreds and hundreds of them. Designed to assure safety of products on the market. It’s hard to escape the invisible hand of the Consumer Product Safety Commission except for food and drugs, ammunition and automobiles that are covered by other agencies. It has power to regulate just about anything you can imagine. Already it costs $41 million a year to test and regulate all these products on our behalf and that’s just the beginning. The Commission employees highly trained technicians to carry out tests like this, checking the brakes on a bike. But the fact is that 80% of bike accidents are caused by human error. These tests may one day lead to safer brakes, but even that isn’t sure. The one thing that is sure is that the regulations that come out of here will make bikes more expensive and will reduce the variety available. Yes, they really are testing how matches strike. And the tests are very precise. The pressure must be exactly one pound, the match exactly at right angles.
No matter how many tests are done, children’s swings are never going to be totally safe. You cannot outlaw accidents. If you try, you end up with ludicrous results. It hardly seems possible but they really do use highly skilled people to devise regulations that will prevent toy guns from making to big of a bang.
The Commission, in effect, is deciding what they think is good for us. They are taking away our freedom to choose.
Consumers don’t have to be hemmed in by rules and regulations. They’re protected by the market itself. They want the best possible products at the lowest price. And the self-interest of the producer leaves him to provide those products in order to keep customers satisfied. After all, if they bring goods of low quality here, your not going to keep coming back to buy. If they bring goods that don’t serve your needs, you’re not going to buy them. And therefore, they search out all over the world, the products that might meet your needs and might appeal to you. And they stand in back of them because if they don’t they’re going to go out of business. You see the difference between the market and the political action, the governmental agencies. Here nobody forces you, your free, you do what you want to. There’s no policemen to take money out of your pocket or to make sure that you do what you’re told to. Over a quarter of a century ago, I bought, second hand, a desk calculator for which I paid $300. One of these little calculators today which I can buy for $10 or so, will do everything that did and more besides. What produced this tremendous improvement in technology? It was self-interest or if your prefer, greed. The greed of producers who wanted it to produce something that they can made a dollar on. The greed of consumers who wanted to buy things as cheaply as they could. Did government play a role in this? Very little. Only by keeping the road clear for human greed and self-interest to promote the welfare of the consumer.

Related posts:

“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 […]

“Friedman Friday,” EPISODE “The Failure of Socialism” of Free to Choose in 1990 by Milton Friedman (Part 1)

Milton Friedman: Free To Choose – The Failure Of Socialism With Ronald Reagan (Full) Published on Mar 19, 2012 by NoNationalityNeeded Milton Friedman’s writings affected me greatly when I first discovered them and I wanted to share with you. We must not head down the path of socialism like Greece has done. Abstract: Ronald Reagan […]

________________

“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 3 – Anatomy of a Crisis. part 3 of 7)

Worse still, America’s depression was to become worldwide because of what lies behind these doors. This is the vault of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Inside is the largest horde of gold in the world. Because the world was on a gold standard in 1929, these vaults, where the U.S. gold was stored, […]

“Friedman Friday” (Part 16) (“Free to Choose” episode 3 – Anatomy of a Crisis. part 2 of 7)

  George Eccles: Well, then we called all our employees together. And we told them to be at the bank at their place at 8:00 a.m. and just act as if nothing was happening, just have a smile on their face, if they could, and me too. And we have four savings windows and we […]

“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 3 – Anatomy of a Crisis. part 1of 7)

Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose (1980), episode 3 – Anatomy of a Crisis. part 1 FREE TO CHOOSE: Anatomy of Crisis Friedman Delancy Street in New York’s lower east side, hardly one of the city’s best known sites, yet what happened in this street nearly 50 years ago continues to effect all of us today. […]

By Everette Hatcher III | Also posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

____________________________

_____________


________________________________________________

_____________________________________________

Friedman Friday” Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “What is wrong with our schools?” (Part 3 of transcript and video)

Friedman Friday” Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “What is wrong with our schools?” (Part 3 of transcript and video) Here is the video clip and transcript of the film series FREE TO CHOOSE episode “What is wrong with our schools?” Part 3 of 6.   Volume 6 – What’s Wrong with our Schools Transcript: If it […]

Friedman Friday” Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “What is wrong with our schools?” (Part 2 of transcript and video)

Here is the video clip and transcript of the film series FREE TO CHOOSE episode “What is wrong with our schools?” Part 2 of 6.   Volume 6 – What’s Wrong with our Schools Transcript: Groups of concerned parents and teachers decided to do something about it. They used private funds to take over empty stores and they […]

By Everette Hatcher III | Also posted in Vouchers | Edit | Comments (1)

Friedman Friday” Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “What is wrong with our schools?” (Part 1 of transcript and video)

Here is the video clip and transcript of the film series FREE TO CHOOSE episode “What is wrong with our schools?” Part 1 of 6.   Volume 6 – What’s Wrong with our Schools Transcript: Friedman: These youngsters are beginning another day at one of America’s public schools, Hyde Park High School in Boston. What happens when […]

By Everette Hatcher III | Also posted in Vouchers | Tagged , , , , | Edit | Comments (0)

Friedman Friday” Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “Created Equal” (Part 3 of transcript and video)

Friedman Friday” Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “Created Equal” (Part 3 of transcript and video) Liberals like President Obama want to shoot for an equality of outcome. That system does not work. In fact, our free society allows for the closest gap between the wealthy and the poor. Unlike other countries where free enterprise and other […]

Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “Created Equal” (Part 2 of transcript and video)

Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “Created Equal” (Part 2 of transcript and video) Liberals like President Obama want to shoot for an equality of outcome. That system does not work. In fact, our free society allows for the closest gap between the wealthy and the poor. Unlike other countries where free enterprise and other freedoms are […]

Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “Created Equal” (Part 1 of transcript and video)

 Milton Friedman and Ronald Reagan Liberals like President Obama (and John Brummett) want to shoot for an equality of outcome. That system does not work. In fact, our free society allows for the closest gap between the wealthy and the poor. Unlike other countries where free enterprise and other freedoms are not present.  This is a seven part series. […]

Milton Friedman Friday: (“Free to Choose” episode 4 – From Cradle to Grave, Part 3 of 7)

 I am currently going through his film series “Free to Choose” which is one the most powerful film series I have ever seen. PART 3 OF 7 Worse still, America’s depression was to become worldwide because of what lies behind these doors. This is the vault of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Inside […]

By Everette Hatcher III | Edit | Comments (0)

Milton Friedman Friday:(“Free to Choose” episode 4 – From Cradle to Grave, Part 2 of 7)

 I am currently going through his film series “Free to Choose” which is one the most powerful film series I have ever seen. For the past 7 years Maureen Ramsey has had to buy food and clothes for her family out of a government handout. For the whole of that time, her husband, Steve, hasn’t […]

Friedman Friday:(“Free to Choose” episode 4 – From Cradle to Grave, Part 1 of 7)

Friedman Friday:(“Free to Choose” episode 4 – From Cradle to Grave, Part 1 of 7) Volume 4 – From Cradle to Grave Abstract: Since the Depression years of the 1930s, there has been almost continuous expansion of governmental efforts to provide for people’s welfare. First, there was a tremendous expansion of public works. The Social Security Act […]

By Everette Hatcher III | Edit | Comments (0)

“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 1 – Power of the Market. part 3 of 7)

  _________________________   Pt3  Nowadays there’s a considerable amount of traffic at this border. People cross a little more freely than they use to. Many people from Hong Kong trade in China and the market has helped bring the two countries closer together, but the barriers between them are still very real. On this side […]

“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 1 – Power of the Market. part 2 of 7)

  Aside from its harbor, the only other important resource of Hong Kong is people __ over 4_ million of them. Like America a century ago, Hong Kong in the past few decades has been a haven for people who sought the freedom to make the most of their own abilities. Many of them are […]

“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 1 – Power of the Market. part 1of 7)

“FREE TO CHOOSE” 1: The Power of the Market (Milton Friedman) Free to Choose ^ | 1980 | Milton Friedman Posted on Monday, July 17, 2006 4:20:46 PM by Choose Ye This Day FREE TO CHOOSE: The Power of the Market Friedman: Once all of this was a swamp, covered with forest. The Canarce Indians […]

By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events, Milton Friedman | Edit | Comments (0)

“Friedman Friday,” EPISODE “The Failure of Socialism” of Free to Choose in 1990 by Milton Friedman (Part 1)

Milton Friedman: Free To Choose – The Failure Of Socialism With Ronald Reagan (Full) Published on Mar 19, 2012 by NoNationalityNeeded Milton Friedman’s writings affected me greatly when I first discovered them and I wanted to share with you. We must not head down the path of socialism like Greece has done. Abstract: Ronald Reagan […]

By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Milton FriedmanPresident Obama | Edit | Comments (1)

“The Failure of Socialism” episode of Free to Choose in 1990 by Milton Friedman (Part 1)

Milton Friedman: Free To Choose – The Failure Of Socialism With Ronald Reagan (Full) Published on Mar 19, 2012 by NoNationalityNeeded Milton Friedman’s writings affected me greatly when I first discovered them and I wanted to share with you. We must not head down the path of socialism like Greece has done. Abstract: Ronald Reagan […]

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: