Want to lift people out of grinding poverty? Only capitalism and free trade will get the job done.

Milton Friedman demolishes the socialist rhetoric of Phil Donohue. Over 2 million views.

 Here’s the text for the obliteration of the capitalism-is-evil-and-causes-poverty concept:

Q: When you see around the globe the maldistribution of wealth, the desperate plight of millions of people in underdeveloped countries, when you see so few haves and so many have-nots, when you see the greed and the concentration of power, aren’t you ever, did you ever have a moment of doubt about capitalism and whether greed’s a good idea to run on?

A: Well, first of all, tell me, is there some society you know 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. (laughter) This, 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 a free enterprise system.

Again, if you want to lift people out of grinding poverty, there is a way to do so. Socialism, feudalism, communism, crony capitalism, mercantilism, and fascism haven’t worked and won’t work. You need a blend of capitalism, free trade, property rights, and democracy.

Which approach is moral? The combinations that leaves grinding poverty in place? Or the combination that has lifted billions of people from the dust into prosperity?

(Hat tip: Carpe Diem, of course.)

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