Monday, July 14, 2008

Capitalism, Freedom and Inclusion

I have been re-reading Milton Friedman's Capitalism And Freedom, may God have mercy on my wretched soul.  Here is a passage I find relevant to the discussions here:  
"The characteristic feature of action through political channels is that it tends to require or enforce substantial conformity.  The great advantage of the market, on the other hand, is that it permits wide diversity."
 Far more elegantly (and probably more glibly) than I have done, Friedman makes the case that I have tried to make (e.g. here and here,) that in asking DDS to provide too many assurances we not only create inefficiencies in the system by encouraging more central planning of the lives of the individuals served, we also undermine the inclusiveness the society we claim the intention to open.  Following Friedman's argument, the more activist we ask DDS to be, the less able our system will become to model the inclusiveness we promote. 
"...a major source of objection to a free economy is precisely gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want.  Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself."
Incidentally, openness to diversity includes patience with extreme nerds,  For those interested, the reason I am rereading this book which was written the way Alan Greenspan speaks is an online book club being hosted by Free Exchange, the economics blog sponsored by The Economist newspaper's online entity.  Anyone unlovable and fascinated may wish to participate but please behave and don't tell them I sent you.  My subscription is my only friend besides my dogs, and they're Keynesians.