“The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests.”
“Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own,” said President Obama earlier this week. “I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.”
This is what Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman might have said in response (via Mark Perry).
The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests. The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way. In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history, are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade.
If you want to know where the masses are worst off, it’s exactly in the kinds of societies that depart from that. So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear, that there is no alternative way so far discovered of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by the free-enterprise system.
People are the most prosperous where they are most free to pursue their own self-interest, limited only by common sense laws protecting the self-interest of others.Tags: Barack Obama, free enterprise, milt friedman