Episode 29 – Privatization Trends (Podcast)

When the Soviet Union collapsed, countries in the Eastern Bloc were faced with a huge challenge. They needed to take their socialist societies and convert them into capitalist ones. How did they change a country where most property was state-owned into something that was based on private property? Each country handled it differently and the results are not surprising. Despite these challenges in the early 90’s, Milton Friedman remained optimistic, “The hopeful thing about this is that the inefficiency of the former system is so great that the new system can make great progress even though they have very inefficient …

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Episode 25 – Money (Podcast)

What is money? For thousands of years currency was tied to a commodity, if the commodity itself wasn’t actually exchanged. Today, that relationship has drastically been altered. Money, as a human institution, has evolved from having a real value to only having a perceived value. Milton Friedman traces it back to one specific date. “It’s seldom that you can date precisely when there’s a major change in a human institution let alone in a monetary institution. But you know it’s an interesting fact that you can date precisely a really drastic change in the character in the monetary system around …

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Episode 23 – Monetary Revolutions (Podcast)

What effects did world events, such as world wars and depression, have on the economies of nations such as Germany, and the former Soviet Union? As hyperinflation raged, the real value of currency in these nations became a question mark. Countries today are still ravaged with the same problem. As revolutions erupt and regimes change, the effect on purchasing power is hard to ignore. How can the problems of “out of control” inflation be solved? As Milton Friedman describes the issue, “Country after country has seen its monetary system blow up in its face, and subsequently, it’s had to do …

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Episode 21 – Why Economists Disagree (Podcast)

Despite general agreement on the academic theory behind economics, the implementation of those findings into society usually leads to disagreement. There are simply too many variables within a society to achieve a consensus. So with the unpredictable nature of individuals, how can economists even begin to predict the results of their theories? Milton Friedman reflects on his process, “What we insist on is that you’re not able to predict random, irrational behavior. And therefore, the only kind of behavior that you can hope to predict is behavior that has some regularity. One individual may behave any way at all. But …

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Episode 19 – Healthcare Reform (Podcast)

Reforming healthcare is something that only gets more complicated with time. Rising costs, increased government involvement, and complex insurance policies only compound the problem further. These are problems that have been going on for decades with no clear resolution. But, what about looking at healthcare from an economic standpoint? Can market forces solve the problem? Noted economists Milton Friedman and Alain Enthoven once sat down to discuss exactly that. The start of the problem, they found, came when employers became primarily responsible for providing healthcare. What started off as government price controls has evolved into the system we have today …

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Episode 18 – James Buchanan (Podcast)

What is the most basic unit of our society which our values and norms are built around? For James Buchanan, that unit is the individual. It was his view that individual liberty should be the fundamental building block of a society. Laws and systems should be built around the protection of those individual rights in an effort to preserve liberty. His research and ideas won him a Nobel Prize in 1986, but underwent a transformation over the years. “I didn’t understand- had no understanding at all- of how the economy works or how the market works. I’ve often referred to …

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Episode 15 – Milton Friedman Speaks – The Future of Our Society (Podcast)

We live under government domination of the market economy. We have come a long way from a truly free economy. Consider the number of markets to which new firms do not have free access. Consider the erosion of expression for business people. Consider the plethora of government regulations American business must contend with. Can these trends be reversed? It is harder to repeal laws than pass them. Private business is unfortunately shortsighted when it turns to politics. But count among the favorable signs the very inefficiency of government—and the American public’s growing recognition of this fact. Business can do relatively …

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Episode 14 – Milton Friedman Speaks – Equality and Freedom in the Free Enterprise System (Podcast)

If the government has the power and responsibility to promote equality of income, then how do we define the concept of equality? Jefferson, in his Declaration of Independence, meant equality before the law, a concept necessary precisely because people are not equal in tastes, values, or capacities. Later, equality came to mean equality of opportunity—the chance to run a fair race. Within a free market system, both definitions are consistent with other values: Efficiency, justice, and liberty. More recently, equality has come to mean equality of outcome. Equality of outcome cannot be mandated, cannot be insured. Any serious attempt to …

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Episode 13 – Milton Friedman Speaks – Who Protects the Worker? (Podcast)

Unions offer protection to workers in some situations, but union membership represents only one fifth of the American labor force. And while some unions do benefit their members, it is generally at the expense of competing workers and frequently at the expense of the consumer. Government? Government provides some protection, but its efforts are minor. Some workers with only one possible employer—or with no possible employer— enjoy very little protection. The right answer to the question “Who protects the worker?” is that the worker is protected by employers; by the existence of other employers who can and will compete for …

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Episode 12 – Milton Friedman Speaks – Who Protects the Consumer? (Podcast)

Consumer legislation doesn’t protect the consumer in the end. Rather, it benefits the consumer advocates, including reformers, special interest groups, and regulatory agencies. What does protect the consumer? Alternative sources of supply at variable prices are the inevitable result of international competition—free trade. Milton does not mince words when it comes to his perception of the matter, “These agencies, these regulations, these bureaucrats have not only picked our pocket but they have left us less well-protected than we were before. When we as consumers really need help, we will find the self-styled consumer advocates conspicuous by their absence. Now let …

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