Open letter to President Obama (Part 654) “The Tyranny of Control” in Milton Friedman’s FREE TO CHOOSE Part 7 of 7 (Transcript and Video) “I’m not pro business, I’m pro free enterprise, which is a very different thing, and the reason I’m pro free enterprise”

Open letter to President Obama (Part 654) (Emailed to White House on July 22, 2013)

President Obama c/o The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here.

______________________________

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. In this episode “The Tyranny of Controls” Milton Friedman shows how government planning and detailed control of economic activity lessens productive innovation and consumer choice.

In this episode Milton Friedman asserts, “I’m not pro business. I’m pro free enterprise, which is a very different thing, and the reason I’m pro free enterprise.”

Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose – Ep.2 (7/7) – The Tyranny of Control

HUGHES: Well, I think Milton’s fundamental example of why not be like Britain in the 19th century is wrong. Britain in the 19th century was THE industrialized country; it was well ahead of everybody else __

McKENZIE: Many decades ahead.

HUGHES: __ many decades ahead of everybody else, and it was making larger profits, larger economic rents on its production, and it was doing it at very great cost to the workers in Britain. The workers in Britain were greatly exploited under those circumstances, and we don’t want to go back to that. The international situation is much more complex, and countries __ there are countries at different levels of development, countries with different social systems, and countries with different social objectives, so I think that the solution, you know, is wrongly founded, and it’s millenarian, it’s utopian. I think that we have to think of a much more realistic process of discussions, negotiation, such as has taken place through that, to get to where we’re going, without hurting the people who pay for the adjustment, and that is basically the workers, not the economists.

RUMSFELD: Could I just comment briefly?

McKENZIE: Yeah.

RUMSFELD: I worry about the argument that because of the complexities of international relations, that therefore they must be planned and managed. By definition, we’re not capable of managing the world economy. Each instance when we try to do it, it doesn’t work out quite the way we intended.

FRIEDMAN: I don’t apologize for a moment for setting __ for being millenarian; because I think unless we know where we want to go, the timid steps that we take in that direction will go in the wrong direction. And if we’re gonna go in the right direction, we ought to have a view. But I want to be sure to get down on the record a very strong objection to the statement of fact by Helen Hughes about 19th century Britain. I believe it is simply wrong. The workers were not exploited. The studies that have been done recently have shown over and over again that the 19th century was a period in which the ordinary English worker experienced a very rapid and very substantial rise in his standard of life. England did not stand alone. Japan had complete free trade for thirty years after the major restoration. Japan in more recent years has not. Japan in more recent years is not an example I would cite. But in its early years it had complete free trade. So I don’t believe England stands alone. Now on the more __

McKENZIE: Politics of it.

FRIEDMAN: On the politics of it, of course it’s not politically feasible, why? Because it’s only in the general interest and in nobody’s special interest. Each of us is fundamentally __ has more concern with our role as a producer of one product than we have as a consumer of a thousand and one products. The benefits of a tariff are visible. Mr. Deason can see that his workers are quote “protected.” The harm which a tariff does is invisible. It’s spread widely. There are people who don’t have jobs because of the tariff, but they don’t know they don’t have jobs. There’s nobody who can organize them. Consumers all over are paying a little more for this, that and the other thing. They don’t recognize that the reason they’re paying for it is because of the tariff. The businessmen? I have never been in __ I’m not pro business. I’m pro free enterprise, which is a very different thing, and the reason I’m pro free enterprise __

RUMSFELD: Don’t point at me when you say that. (Laughter)

FRIEDMAN: No, no. I don’t mean to point to you, Don. I point to the business community, because you are an exception. Because that __

McKENZIE: But he conceded there was a tacit alliance because that way __

FRIEDMAN: Oh there’s __

McKENZIE: __to prevent you from achieving your purpose.

FRIEDMAN: Oh, there’s no doubt that there’s such an alliance. In my opinion, the strongest argument for free enterprise is that it prevents anybody from having too much power. Whether that person is a government official, a trade union official, or a business executive. It forces them to put up or shut up. They either have to deliver the goods, produce something that people are willing to pay for, willing to buy, or else they have to go into a different business.

McKENZIE: Well, there we must leave the argument for this week, and I hope you’ll join us again for the next episode of Free to Choose.

__________________________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com

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