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Social progressives like Phil Donahue in 1962 when he interiew-
ed Mi
lton Friedman for his new book, "Capitalism and Freedom,"
believed that greed is a worse sin than cheating on your spouse.
Donahue who had a guest on his program he looked like he would
just as soon not have on his program, seemed bored as he listened
to Friedman's views on the free enterprise system.

Greed is good. It's the work ethic I live by. As a former business consultant and corporate sales manager, whenever I trained sales people, I tried hard to instill the principles of greed in them. Keep in mind there is a major difference in "greed" and "selfishness." Greed, you see, is an attribute common working people in the United States and the other industrialized nations must be allowed to possess, but those in the communist nations or other totalitarian nations are denied. Why is greed good? Because the principles upon which self-earned wealth (the basis for greed) is based is the concept that we be allowed to keep what we are able to earn with the sweat of our brows. That is the concept that caused the free enterprise system to flourish.

Donahue, in this clip, chastised Friedman's view on greed, noting that in the underdeveloped countries today you see so few "haves" and so many "have nots." In Donahue's viewe, greed is the concentration of power. Donahue asked Friedman, when you see this lopsided view of society, "...aren't you ever...did you ever...have a moment of doubt about capitalism? And whether greed's a good idea?"

Friedman replied by asking Donahue if he knew of any society that did not run on greed. "Do you think Russia doesn't run on greed?" he asked. "Do you think China doesn't run on greed? What is greed? The world runs on individuals pursuing capital interests. The greatest achievement of civilization has not come from government bureaus...The only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kinds of grinding poverty you're talking about..." (Donahue's view) "...are where they have had capitalism and, largely, free trade." Friedman noted that only in the societies which utilize the free enterprise system have the common working class people managed to escape the shackles of poverty. In every communist, socialist or social progressive system in the world, the State defines productivity. In addition, it tells the worker how much he or she will earn for that forced labor. None will never earn more than their fellow laborer—even if they produce twice as much in their fellow workers. Which, of course, is why, in every totalitarian regime in the world, production lags and initiative is almost nonexistent. A deincentivized society has no incentive to produce beyond mediocrity because mediocrity is rewarded and excellence is penalized.

What Soviet inventor thought up the steam engine? Or the internal combustion engine? Or the bifocal lens? Or the moving assembly line? Or the electric light. Or the telephone? Or the computer? None. Greed is the mother of invention and the free enterprise system is its offspring.



Just Say No
Copyright 2009 Jon Christian Ryter.
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