Right Then, Right Now: Friedman on Greed in 1979

November 27, 2012 - 1:32 PM
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Phil Donahue: "When you see around the globe the mal-distribution of wealth, the desperate plight of millions of people in underdeveloped countries. When you see so few have and so many have nots, when you see the greed and the concentration of power, did you ever have a moment of doubt about capitalism and whether greed is a good idea to run on?" Economist Milton Friedman: "Well, first of all tell me, is there some society you know of that doesn't run on greed? You think Russia doesn't run on greed? You think China doesn't run on greed? What is greed? Of course none of us are greedy; it's only the other fellow who's greedy. The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests. The great achievements of civilization did not come from government bureaus...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 a free enterprise system."