The Milton Friedman Communist.

No, the problem with distributism is that it doesn’t work. Its basic premises are wrong. A modern industrial civilization needs large-scale economic organizations. Factory industry is more efficient and productive than cottage industry. Agribiz is more efficient than family farming. Chains and franchises and big-box stores are more efficient than Mom & Pop stores. The only “small landholders” who matter any more or will matter in your lifetime are homeowners, whose homes are consumption-units – they have no productive property.

Fine! But in a privatized economy with a low-redistribution tax code, the decision-making and the profits will end up concentrated at the top.

Which is why I believe in redistributive taxation (high negative income taxes) on the profit side, and worker representation (social democracy) on the decision-making side. I’ll take one or the other, although both would probably be good.

We aren’t really in disagreement here.

But we are with Milton Friedman, I should think. Wasn’t any form of social democracy anathema to him? Likewise with any form of redistributive taxation?

Well, “Milton Friedman communist” is an intentionally absurd term, but to be fair he was an opportunitarian who believed in a* very* strongly interventionist Fed and in giving money, not limited vouchers or blocks of cheese, to the poor.

He was (probably) not really as committed to* laissez-faire* as the children who swallowed his lines like, “Never pass up an opportunity for a tax cut,” whole, and grew up into anti-revenue, anti-regulation purists.

My negative income tax would be larger than Friedman’s. My nationalization program would be less total than Stalin’s. We are looking at differences of degree, really.

I got it. You went a bit frothy at the end and we parted thoughts, but I got it. I think it’s largely a response torecend drumbears that anything short of Randtopia is socialcommiescist.

So you deliberately used a misleading term so you could get upset when you were misunderstood. Now we know how seriously to take your blather, no matter what the color.


Shodan is angry because he missed the irony behind “Milton Friedman Communist”, obvious to everyone else.

Misleading? Only to the stupid.

Yeah, you’d really have to be stupid, or else bizarrely uneducated, not to recognize that a term that absurd was being used ironically.

What’s wrong, not get enough attention the last time you did this?

I notice that Paul Krugman recently noted that in the present environment Milton Friedman would be seen as lefty socialist. Not only in the USA, I would add, but in Europe!

I think “Milton Friedman communist” is an apt term for our age.

Paul Krugman the pundit blowhard who used to be a real economist?

Paul Krugman the econ professor who is pretty much the face of actual scientific economics (as opposed to “finance,” “business,” or whatever Ron Paul is) today.

Another liberal economist by the name of Brad DeLong has also written kind words about the arch-conservative Milton Friedman.

Milton Friedman believed that it was a appropriate for the government to stabilize the economy. In fact, when asked about the New Deal he said he thought it appropriate, as it was an emergency. To Friedman, the emergency was due to insufficient action by the Federal Reserve-- so if the Fed targeted the money supply properly, the Great Depression would not have occurred.

Modern American conservatives and Europeans oppose fiscal policy to fight the current Depression. In that way, they are probably in sync with M. Friedman. But today’s conservatives also oppose an energetic monetary policy, something Friedman would certainly advocate. It’s in that sense -with respect to central banking- that Friedman is well to the left of today’s Republican Party.

Give it time though. If Romney is elected, the Republicans will re-discover Keynesianism next January, just as they advocated it when GWBush took office. Doctrinal flexibility in pursuit of fixed objectives (i.e. tax cuts for the donor class) is the hallmark of modern conservatism.

I’m a John Milton Communist: solitude is worst society, and 'tis why I don’t mind waiting in line for bread.

Paul Krugman the actual economist who has been on an absolute tear lately with backing his statements up with facts and interpretations of the available data. Calling him a “Pundit Blowhard” is extremely reminiscent of the tactic of calling anyone willing to do any real investigation into the bullshit your party is based on “biased”.

Conservatives truly believe that anybody who is mean to them must be biased, and therefore worthy of dismissal. It’s a reflection of their dearth of personal character. What they don’t notice -can’t notice- is that Krugman is actually very polite to those who do their research: he may disagree with Rogoff, for example, but he understands that he is dealing with somebody who cares about understanding empirical reality, as opposed to hacking his way to fixed conclusion.

You see, liberals are different from modern conservatives. Liberals enjoy sparring with the Milton Friedmans of the world, those who can make solid arguments. As George Schultz said, “Everybody loves to argue with Milton, particularly when he isn’t there.” At the moment, I am fascinated by the blog of the monetarist, Scott Sumner.

As JS Mill once said, Lord, enlighten thou our enemies. Sharpen their wits, give acuteness to their perceptions, and consecutiveness and clearness to their reasoning powers: we are in danger from their folly, not from their wisdom; their weakness is what fills us with apprehension, not their strength.

:slight_smile: For that, you will be spared come the purge.

I like this thread, it’s creative!