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Greed of Governments and Capitalists

Posted by Steve Markowitz on July 17, 2012

Greed is one of the less positive attributes of the human makeup.  How this reality is addressed is often dependent on one’s overall philosophy relating to control.

Progressives have the misguided view that human greed is manageable and can be controlled by the imposition of government laws and rules.  Given the abject failure of this tactic for so many years, it is surprising that there are still so many who ascribe to this view.

Free-market capitalists also acknowledged the inevitability of human greed.  Unlike Progressives, they take the view that governments cannot create laws or rules that will effectively offset the ingenuity of those who pursue greedy agendas.  Given this reality, free-market capitalists take the view that the best way to control human greed in a complex and dynamic economy is to use its benefits to create the most efficient economy and best allocation of scarce resources.  Specifically, human greed can best be managed by having other greedy people stopped individuals from collecting too much power or wealth.

Free-market capitalism is not without flaws.  There have been significant economic hardships and inequities created historically by capitalism.  However, much of these dislocations have been caused by government interference that removed the natural constructs created by a true capitalist system.  This has taken many forms including subsidies for specific individuals or groups, bailouts and printing money.

The brilliant economist Milton Friedman was perhaps the most foremost proponent of free market capitalism.  The video below with Friedman’s views on greed created decades ago is relevant today.  Since Friedman made these comments, the economic world has become quite perilous, the result of government interventions that stopped the forces of supply and demand from rebalancing themselves.

Unfortunately, instead of stopping the failed interventions we continue down the path of still more.  The result will be ever-increasing dislocations that did not need to occur had we taken Friedman’s advice.


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