June 03, 2004

Milton Friedman
Posted by Jon Henke

I don't have "personal heroes" - or, really, buy into the concept...but, I confess, I would be honored to meet - even speak to - Milton Friedman.

Friedman.jpg

Fascinating man, and an engaging author. Here's an interesting interview, in which he covers, education, the war, past Presidents, Social Security, God, marriage, and health care. Much of it comes down to this basic lesson...

There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you're doing, and you try to get the most for your money.

Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I'm not so careful about the content of the present, but I'm very careful about the cost.

Then, I can spend somebody else's money on myself. And if I spend somebody else's money on myself, then I'm sure going to have a good lunch!

Finally, I can spend somebody else's money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else's money on somebody else, I'm not concerned about how much it is, and I'm not concerned about what I get. And that's government. And that's close to 40% of our national income.

You can see that process in action in countries with socialized medicine. See Dr Galen for a discussion of Canadian health care....
Canadian health is not a business, it's a government run service. No one gets me a donut and a cup of coffee, when I go to the DMV, either. Why should you expect anything different from any other government arena? [...]

What it boils down to is the nature of socialized care itself. It is a about processing numbers, not making people happy. The system can't adapt quickly enough to provide satisfaction for those who utilize it.

Both the Friedman interview and Dr Galen are worth reading.

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