Let's Privatize I Always Say

A song by the Milton Friedman Choir

Dig deep....

...and perhaps there might be a bit of honesty left in you.

@ Jari


I invite you to reconsider the chronology of the comments.  


Spraynasal cited that "corporations have no choice" and thought that this was "selfcontradictory" in view of Friedman's claim that corporate rule would bring more "choice and responsibility".    In my response I tried to explain that Spraynasal misunderstood Friedman's views.   You then proceeded to call me 'names' gratuitously and changed the subject to "the need for a strong efficient state".

I already explained to you that I agree with you on your new subject.  Even Friedman would not ALWAYS privatise.  This particular "television gig" is focused on privatisation of education.  Moreover, adult and tolerant people will understand the slogan "always privatise" as meaning "privatise whenever possible and advisable" (long story).  

If you now want to make an issue of the literal narrow "selfcontradiction" of the title "Always privatise", I say go ahead.  It is a very narrow (even childish) point.   But it is not the "selfcontradiction" of Spraynasal that I addressed.  And any objective mature reader who will review the chronology of the comments can recognise that. 

The narrowmindedness, I am truly sorry to say, was all yours.    

To ConfusedJari

@ Jari


The subject was whether the views of Friedman were "selfcontradictory".   On that subject you appear to have nothing to say.

I agree with you that "a strong efficient state...with the means to adequately maintain the law" is a necessity.    Friedman agreed with that too, although his interpretation of 'appropriate size' of government was somewhat different from mine, and certainly much different from yours.  I even agree with you that "only a strong state can support market competitiveness" (emphasis on "can", because in practice....).  Didn't I write explicitly that "Friedman would have said that the role of government is .......to ensure that markets remain truly competitive ones"?

So, why you do you feel the need to call me 'names' (like one-dimensional, vainly openminded, grow into the working age, etc...)?   Could it be because you cannot read, or are unable to make distinctions between appropriate roles of individuals, corporations and government?  Or, could it be because you react like Pavlov's dogs to 'symbols' instead of to actual content of text?  Talking about "one-dimensional"........



Dear Marc

The subject is to always privatise, or not always privatise.

The content of this television gig (always privatise) contradicts with the ideas as
expressed by Friedman on other occasions (not always privatise).

So yes, the content of your post was narrow minded.

To MarketFrans,

safely one - dimensional, vainly open minded.

So who is it then, responsible for preserving social (and sometimes financial, for example in the case of large infrastructural projects) values? A strong, efficient state, equipped with the means to adequately maintain the law.

Without such means, governments tend to continuously add new (symbolic) laws as a response to occasonial incidents that make headlines in the national news, disturbing the efficiency of both (!) bureaucrats and free market institutions.

IF 'social values' are to be preserved, only a strong state can support market competitiveness, by preventing uncertainty and privilege towards (certain) corporations.

Ah well. Wait until you grow into the working age, Marc. By then you will be so consumed by the tribal battle of 'corporate society', there will be insufficient time for lengthy arguments.



@ Spraynasal


..."it's impossible to escape the laws of logic", and that is why your claim of Friedman being "self-contradictory" is ILLOGICAL and rests on a misunderstanding of his views. 

You are perfectly free to "not write from a logical point of view" (as you put it), but do not expect people then to accept your illogical claims as 'true'.   There is no (logical) "contradiction" in Friedman's views about the role of corporations. 

I clearly stated that one "does NOT have to agree TOTALLY with the Friedman filosophy to recognise that there is no contradiction".   Your real argument is not with Friedman's LOGIC, but with some of his pre-suppositions on which his theory rests. 

 Take your specific example of "large corporations making huge profits".  It is normal that large corporations tend to make larger profits than small corporations, because they tend to employ more capital.   However, when corporations are able to make 'exorbitant' profits, relative to capital employed, then one can reasonably suspect that they are not operating in competitive markets.  Because in such markets additional capital would be attracted by exorbitant profits and would tend to bring them down through intensified competition.  From a public policy perspective, the problem then is not so much with those 'profits' (or the size of those profits) but with the market structure.  Friedman would have said that the role of government is not to play 'favorites' but rather to ensure that markets remain (or become) truly competitive ones. 

Two additional points:

- I doubt that it is corporations that can become genuinely philantropic and "socially sensitive".  Rather, it is wealthy individuals who can do so, but rarely will.  

-- If a corporation appears to be (what you call) "socially sensitive" or philantropic, a healthy dose of scepticism is in order.   Corporations are in general not friends of free markets, but rather seek to stifle competition from others.   If they appear to be socially sensitive or philantropic, perhaps the real motivation is either (1) image 'advertising' (to boost sales) or (2) to obtain political favors detrimental to competition from others.      

Not so

@ Spraynasal


One does not have to agree totally with the Friedman filosophy to recognise that there is NO contradiction.   Your interpretation of a "contradiction" rests on a misunderstanding of what he is saying.  

He is saying that a corporation has "no choice"  - in competitive markets! - but to try to maximise returns for the shareholders, if it wants to survive in the competition for capital, labor and customers.  In so doing, corporations help create maximum "choice" for consumers, for workers, and for capital owners.   Needless to say, in such a competitive system everybody is "responsible" for making their own economic decisions in line with their respective 'comparative advantages' and preferences.     

It should be obvious that corporations do not have "choices" to waste resources (or be inefficient) in competitive markets.  Thus, you are not applying the word "choice" to the right economic actors.  And it should also be obvious that competitive markets provide maximum choices (for labor and capital) compared with uncompetitive markets where economic 'rents' are obtained by 'insiders' at the expense of 'outsiders'. 

Your "contradiction" is only apparent or superficial, but not 'real'.   

no contradiction?

Sorry I don't write from a purely logical point of view. It's impossible to escape the laws of logic, but it's possible to choose to follow them sometimes and sometimes not. To be eclectic in our choices. There are non-economic factors at stake, always. No one is the world "free of sin", or purely rational. Are you in permanence, rational in your choices?

I know that a corporation has to try to maximize returns for shareholders, but this doesn't mean being socially insensitive.

When large corporation generating huge profits end up becoming philantropics, like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet then maybe we can find a common gound.

In Maslow scale of value, survival is a basic value, but the existence is worth other, higher values. Don't you believe that the real success of corporation is the generation of a progress for the whole humanity?

I love to read that the Gates Foundation is shaking the pharmacy industry to drive prices down, for instance. There I see a kind of redemption for these market-driven giants who convert their strength towards genuine philantrophic goals.

I don't know if Friedman would agree, but I don't care very much about what he thinks, when he goes away from what I consider common sense.

Self contradictory

If corporations "really have no choice", then how can they sing that their rule will promote an era of more choice and responsibility?