Thinking About Keynes Vs Friedman (Milton)

Some Economic Thinking Points for Thinkers This Coming Monday

A general discussion of the underlying economics in our mostly mind numbing political discussions of the three months leading up to something referred to as an election, the Thinkers were hoping to have a more high minded discussion on the differences between two polar opposite views of the macroeconomic universe we live in: a more pure take on capitalism whose most recognized leader was Milton Friedman and a modulated take on how markets work better by considering the ideas of James Maynard Keynes. In simplistic terms from our modern, troubled economic times, this moves the discussion to a battle between austerity versus stimulus, something we hear so much about in our political discussions of the day.

If you want to join the discussion, click on the link below:

http://www.meetup.com/tampa-bay-thinkers/events/73245282/

Here are some focus points for our talk this coming Monday at the Carrollwood Cultural Center August 20 at 6:30 PM.

1. Are the rules of engagement in our discussions entirely different since the end of the Cold War? When the Soviets gave up the socialist/communist doctrine and the West and capitalism essentially won the war, what has changed in our discussions because of this?

2. Is the net effect of capitalism winning throughout the world in almost all countries essentially a refocusing of what levels of control (regulation) civil society must consider to steward their economies in ways that do more good than harm?

3. There are practical considerations in these situations where economies start creating more harm than normal, those times commonly referred to as recessions. A focus for this would be that most can acknowledge a capitalist engine is needed to create the wealth where opportunities reside, but is not the idea of ‘stimulating’ a sick economy back to health not equally valid. In fact there is strong evidence stimulus was the major reason that the recessions of 1982, 1991, and 2000 were nursed more quickly to health by varied stimulus packages.

4. Economic discussions in modern political contexts are essentially reality TV shows designed for those with limited understandings that look more like wrasslin’ matches than anything else. Is it no longer possible to carry on academic debates in this universe?

5. Given that we are in this dumbed down environment, what are the common ‘talking points’ we here that might fit into either side of the Friedman and Keynes world views?

6. Between the economic theories we might discuss at high levels, there is another consideration that we must bring forth. One of the real problems exposed glaringly since the worldwide economic crash in late 2008 is we are living in a universe with far less opportunity for individuals, particularly younger individuals, than years past. Is there a way out of this?

Though there are untold additional topics for discussion, these should stoke the fires of thought. Hopefully this will encourage you to think about coming this coming Monday.

Dale Friedley
Head Dork

To Thinkers Preferring Economic Starvation or Gluttony:

As we get closer and closer to this thing we call an election in 2012, the various candidates for all federal offices and most state offices appear fixated on the polemics of whether government should stimulate economic activities during these awful times or should there be efforts to reduce if not eliminate government intervention and let the ‘markets’ sort things out. Though most of the discussions during this 2012 election cycle are mind numbing simpleton two line discourses that mean less than nothing, there is a basic philosophy that is going on in the efforts to convince voters of something. Most of the discussions fall back on whether you wish to take on an interventionist approach advocated most starkly by John Maynard Keynes or you argue that these efforts just muck up the soup and you need leave well enough alone because the free market, as perfect as it is, eventually repairs itself if left alone.

For our August Thinkers meeting we will try to take a more than sound bite approach to these arguments and consider whether there are merits to the stimulus vs austerity blather that has infested our modern 24/7 news channel punditry. There are merits to both approaches and much data in our modern times to argue both sides of the divide. Though falling back on Keynes or Friedman and getting into the muck and mire of fiscal or monetary policy adjustments if not outright interventions might drive us to drink, I would like to center on a pair of more modern polemicists: Paul Krugman, The Stimulator, versus Arthur Laffer, The Trickle-a-tor. Krugman has been on top of things lately having his watchtower Mondays and Fridays at the NY Times, but Dr Laffer has had his moments like when he had a very interesting exchange with Professor Krugman on that arbiter of solutions, Bill Maher. Check it out at the link below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPyaImDMBuc

I will use the contents of two recent books as the centerpiece for the debate. The obvious one to start with will be too look at the recent Krugman tome End This Depression Now that I would point you to this summary to get up to speed. It is quite clever and is at the link below.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-04-30/business/ct-biz-0430-book-review-krugman-20120430_1_paul-krugman-government-spending-book-review

And not to be outdone, Professor Laffer has a recent book titled The End of Prosperity that he co-authored with two others including the neo-conservative of economics from the Wall Street Journal, Stephen Moore to counter the arguments from the lefties. An outline is offered below

http://www.amazon.com/End-Prosperity-Higher-Economy-If-Happen/dp/1416592385

After looking at these two positions, there isn’t much room for compromise, but maybe we can come up with something if we get twenty or so Thinkers in the room and consider if there are some merits in common that are not entirely contradictory.

Please consider coming to see if we can make something smart that in popular political culture at the moment is about as dumb as you can get.

And by the way, the one thing Friedman and Laffer agree on is that this is a depression, not a recession. Think about that.

Join or login to comment.

  • Bruce Gotts

    This was a very calm discussion of a potentially emotional topic. I am glad that there are still places where we can disagree without being disagreeable.

    August 23, 2012

  • Scooter Dave

    Harmonious session on a divisive topic. Smart people. Meeting structure improving.

    August 21, 2012

  • Bharat Path

    Could be more structured and not digress from the Topic= allow each member few minutes to state their position

    August 21, 2012

  • Brent

    Good discussion, but we need more female participation! Don't let the online discourse scare you away! <G>

    August 21, 2012

  • Dale Friedley

    This was a very fun and civil discussion over some potentially divisive things. Hopefully most enjoyed themselves.

    August 21, 2012

  • dawn

    I'm so glad someone got called away by Salsa dancing.

    August 20, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      well dale i didn't think that you would practice censorship...i guess it is time to go

      August 20, 2012

    • dawn

      @Dee, when it comes to debates, I prefer that there are disagreements as that's how I learn. I just have zero tolerance for those who make comments toward the other person(s), and not the debate issue. The moment the person chooses to do that, I choose not be anywhere where I can hear that person speaks.

      August 20, 2012

  • Dee D.

    "the one thing Friedman and Laffer agree on is that this is a depression, not a recession" Businesses/wealthy are said to be sitting on several trillions in cash, not hiring, not investing / not in the markets, etc. After Obama's win the Republicans loudly proclaimed several times that THEY would make Obama's 4 years a FAILURE and cause him a 1 term presidency (since it's the economy, stupid, when time to vote). Rs have worked hard in this negative direction, not caring how it harmed our country and all of us except the wealthiest. How much blame for recovery failures during these 4 years should focus on the R party of 'NO' and obstruction? If the R party gets back in power, the sidelined cash will flow again and it will appear that the R party solved everything while the D Party failed. Will the powerless people make any R connection to the slow economy when it comes time to vote this year? (Maybe too off topic, sorry.)

    August 20, 2012

  • A. Colin Flood

    You said many interesting things at all at once Richard. “Time is money” is interesting because it is a colloquialism indicating that our limited quantity of life has the most value. But if we could stick to the economic realm of Keynes and Friedman, we find money specifically defined as “object or record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a given socio-economic context or country” The most commonly used monetary aggregates (or types of money) are conventionally designated M1, M2 and M3. These are successively larger aggregate categories: M1 is currency (coins and bills) plus demand deposits (such as checking accounts); M2 is M1 plus savings accounts and time deposits under $100,000; and M3 is M2 plus larger time deposits and similar institutional accounts. M1 includes only the most liquid financial instruments, and M3 relatively illiquid instruments.

    August 17, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      Lets define money as a tool. What do we do when a tool is obsolete? We redefine it, reinvent it, or we come up with modern ways to solve the problem that tool was solving. I can think of many tools that were invented by man a long time ago. Maybe it is time to say money is obsolete and we need to come up with better ways of solving our problems. No more money. Accountants will count goods and services, not money. People earn reward or merit points rather than money. This might encourage and stimilate pride in your work and your actions which might result in quality improvement which might result in improvement in quality of life. How is that thought? It's just a thought from a mother.

      August 18, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      this my dear in non sense, money is not obsolete so there is no need to redefine it or reinvent it but there is a spot in the zeitgeist crowd for you. i have heard this non sense for years and don't even waste your time on this.

      August 20, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    the top 1% or should i say 0.1% have rigged the system (control the political system to produce the laws to keep more of the benefits(money) of a modern society. this group keeps much more of the money that is being extracted from society. when you have a government (system) that can be manipulated by money then the rich can manipulate the system to increase their wealth and thereby increasing their power. The system isn't working and i have a feeling it is going to get worse ....much worse.....
    by the way we are in a depression (not a recession) and we have been for 4 to 5 years....just thought you would like to know

    August 20, 2012

    • Dee D.

      Agreed both. The wealthy scream about a tax rate that they actually never pay due to at least 3 decades of systematically building in tax loopholes, subsidies for the wealthy, offshore escapes, accounting trickery, outright lies, etc.

      August 20, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      i said a bunch of things what do you agree with colin

      August 20, 2012

  • Dan G

    5. Some would argue that we shouldn’t tax because taxation is the use of force. They are right. It is the use of force. They are wrong in asserting we shouldn’t do it. Most would agree it is not wrong to use force to throw off the chains of tyranny. Perhaps, it is not wrong to use force in the form of a progressive income tax to keep the chains of tyranny from forming.

    August 20, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      very good, maybe i was wrong about this group still colin is in the group so that counts for something...lol

      August 20, 2012

  • Dan G

    4. Here’s why this is happening. By reducing taxes to the point where we allow the unlimited accumulation of money, we allow individuals to have the political power to pervert our laws and our government. It essentially makes them oligarchs who are beyond the control of our laws and it makes it possible for them to eliminate our control of what was once “our” government. If there is to be any chance for the survival of a representative democracy and an egalitarian economy, the amount of wealth that an individual can accumulate must be limited. Graduated income tax is one way to do this. An inheritance tax is also helpful. Another way (suggested by Thom Hartman) is a cap on wealth at 1 billion dollars and confiscation of everything over that amount. (cont.)

    August 20, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      1 billion might be too high....how can you possible spend 1 billion dollars? you can't? it should be a lot less than 1 billion dollars.....but keep going dan your doing good!!!!

      August 20, 2012

  • Dan G

    1.The discussion should be reframed from one of stimulus vs austerity to one of how to stop the current lopsided distribution of wealth from continuing to impoverish our citizens and destroy our freedom.

    Discussing whether stimulus or austerity is the “right” way to deal with our economy is like discussing in which way the “emperor’s new clothes” need to be altered. No alterations are going to change the fact that the emperor is naked. Like the emperor’s clothes our political power, and with it our power to control our economy and our lives has mostly disappeared. (cont.)

    August 20, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      dan greefield, i am impressed!!! thank you

      August 20, 2012

  • Dan G

    3. However, using political power or financial power to deprive us of our rights is the prelude to the inevitable use of raw force itself. We’re seeing that in the militarization of police forces and the ability of the government to arrest, imprison for life, even kill American citizens anywhere in the world without trial: without having to answer to anyone. We’re seeing it in the limits placed on free speech and freedom of assembly. The most blatant of these are the “free speech zones” which are actually speech suppression zones.
    We see that in our militarism run amok. (cont.)

    August 20, 2012

  • Dan G

    2. The Supreme Court tells us that money is speech. Clearly, money is not speech, but it most certainly is power; political power. The force of a military coup isn’t necessary to turn a country into a fascist police state. Money has accomplished much the same thing in the U.S. without causing even a ripple. Our government now represents the corporations and special interest groups who buy our judges, our politicians and the people who should be enforcing the laws that protect us. They are simply using a less visible, more sophisticated type of force. (cont.)

    1 · August 20, 2012

  • Scooter Dave

    Twenty great minds must be able to find the intersection of these two very divergent sets, if only that Keynes and Friedman both ate eggs for breakfast. We must put personal philosophy aside if we are to find this commonality. However, our group seems to me underrepresented on conservative, free-market, low tax voices. We should all do our best to bring friends of many voices, be able to speak for both sides of this comparison, and make sure the Friedman/Laffer position is properly represented and given time and dispassionate respect when those details are aired.

    August 9, 2012

    • Brent

      I think our group is short on billionaires and those who idolize them. The fallacy of trickle-down is obvious to anyone who is tired of being trickled on by millionaires paying less tax for more services.

      August 10, 2012

    • Dee D.

      More like tinkled on.

      August 20, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    after reading the email that was sent out by dale, i see that you guys just don't get, there is not one person here that gets it....NOT A ONE!!!! and if you guys don't get it what do you thing the other 90 to 95% of americans think. at least you are trying to figure out what is happening the vast majority of americans don't have a clue they are just trying to survive. and when the government says we have to go over there and kill that guy wearing the turban or who speaks another language poor ignorant american goes over there and does it because hell "he is protecting democracy" but as usual i digress because we are talking about economics.....so let me continue on the next post

    August 19, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      like i said colin you keep drinking that kool-aid because i am sure you like the taste

      August 20, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      never mind if you might become obese from to much sugar and then acquire coronary artery disease or get diabetes...... just keep on drinking that kool-aid

      August 20, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    like i said in my first comment to this group "The problem with this type of debate is that you need to define your goal."
    I suspect some if not all of the group may not be understanding my writings. the point i am trying to illuminate here would be much easier to explain in person but salsa dancing is calling me maybe we can have this discussion at some other meeting.

    August 20, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I have a direct question for Dale Friedley (or anyone who can help him answer the question) since he wrote in his email "A focus for this would be that most can acknowledge a capitalist engine is needed to create the wealth where opportunities reside" .....really, really?
    If capitalism is the "best way to produce the finest quality product at the cheapest cost", ...... then tell me why the u.s. medical system the most expensive medical system in the developed world (more than double the cost per capita of the second most expensive health care system) and is ranked no higher than 16th and as low as 37th (by world health organization, united nations, O.E.C.D or the commonwealth fund). While all developed countries and many developing countries provide universal health care, the u.s. has almost 50 million americans without health insurance. (hint: the american system is privatized, the goal of corporations is to maximize profits)

    August 20, 2012

  • A. Colin Flood

    really, then why are we setting up democracies and not simply occupying them? BTW, the topic is financial intervention, not military.

    August 17, 2012

    • A. Colin Flood

      See "Arab Spring:" it is happening right before our eyes

      August 19, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      you don't know what your talking about colin, the Egyptian military still controls Egypt...and by the way it started in tunisia due to someone burning themselves in the street due to the inequities in the system, similar to the principles of the occupy movement

      August 20, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    well i don't want to seem too harsh (or as dale puts it vitriolic) because the article on the sunday times was actually on to some solutions (or clues) about what is really going on. I must admit their is a sector of the population who appears to be starting to get it or at least some might be...... the people in the occupy movement, some have actually figured out the mystery or should i say what the actual problem is.
    okay now the best way for all of you to understand what the true problem is would be by presenting you this statistic:
    since the mid 70's real wages have not increased for the average employee in the u.s.
    http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org...­

    since the mid 70's productivity has increased by more than 90%
    (where did all the money go, well not to the people doing the work to produce the products)
    http://www.motherjones.com/poli...­

    August 20, 2012

  • A. Colin Flood

    It is the much larger, suddenly explosive growth in M3, caused by the incredibly HUGE Credit Default Swap market, that the Fed NOT only failed to adequately warn Congress about, but which they also stopped reporting publically! In a few short years the illiquid supply of M3 type money, Swaps, exploded to about $62 TRILLION dollars! (By comparison, the tiny stock market crash of 1987 was a mere $5-7 trillion and the entire global economy is only $62T.)

    Ironically, the “no hands ever on the steering” model of unfettered capitalism led to the largest most incredibly dangerous vomit of money supply in history. The Swaps market blew up the Keynesian model like a Zepplin.

    August 17, 2012

    • Dan G

      The best way to deal with the trillions in Credit Default swaps is simply to cancel them!!! They are nothing but paper. They represent no value and they are simply a product of financial greed run amok.

      1 · August 18, 2012

  • A. Colin Flood

    Players didn’t collect just $200 when they passed Go. No, with leverage of 33 times on Swaps, they collected about $6,600 each time! All the players passed Go. They all landed on the same real estate. They all played the same game. Insurance giant, AIG, which had never operated an multi-million exchange before, let alone a new billion, now suddenly mega-trillion one, had no clue how a house oversees and manages players and their billion-dollar bets. The question before us now is do we let unfettered capitalism scorch our earth down to a painfully, new lean economy, or do we pump out even more dollars so players can keep passing Go.

    August 17, 2012

  • Richard Maxwell

    Here's the problem: We have too many people chasing too
    much money in the wrong direction. And what is money? Time is money. Or more accurately, given the current biotech revolution, money can be converted into time. And that statement solves the
    problem of our lack of direction and the absence of a social index scale that A. A. Berle pointed out in 1968. Another way of saying it is that it solves the problem of the social welfare function that
    Arrow said couldn't be solved. Or the social choice function,
    cf. Gaertner. Gossen. the unknown father of modern economics,
    started the ball rolling in the second half of the 19th century
    when he pointed out that the ultimate scarcity is time.
    We are a species with a 100-year survival rate at birth of only
    .03%. A pure coordination game (Nash expansion) toward
    a Sherifian superordinate goal could harness the biotech
    revolution alluded to this. Later Rudolf Virchow wrote

    August 17, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    but i digress THESE ARE THE QUESTIONS PEOPLE SHOULD BE DEBATING, in this group:
    1. why is the level of inequality the highest in the u.s.a. when compared to the developed countries .
    2. why does the u.s.a. have the least social mobility of all developed countries. (it is more difficult for a poor person to become middle class or rich in the u.s.a. than any other developed country)
    3. why does the u.s. have the highest level of mental illness of the developed countries
    4. the highest incidence of drug use
    5. the highest infant mortality rate
    6. the highest obesity rate
    7. the highest rates of homicide
    etc. etc. etc. all these are interrelated but i digress....
    yes you guys are debating the wrong things yes better to get back to salsa dancing

    August 17, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    this group is debating the wrong topic. This topic is really old news and most of the rest of the developed world has already answered this question. This just shows how ignorant most americans are. Most americans have been completely duped, bamboozled, hoodwinked, suckered by the political process, their government and the corporate media. we have a perfect example of this in this group. Sometimes it's better to say nothing then to make statements like "The largest, most successful, most powerful capitalist country in history (with NO NATURAL enemies) fought two long world wars against fascist countries." when a country has over 750 military facilities in over 100 foreign countries, that country really isn't interested in freedom and democracy.

    August 17, 2012

  • A. Colin Flood

    1. Considering NOT the mere millions, but the tens of millions, killed by Chinese monarchies and fascist regimes, is it NOT only inaccurate to say “militarism is really something that capitalist societies are much more likely to engage in,” it is offensive to say so. The largest, most successful, most powerful capitalist country in history (with NO NATURAL enemies) fought two long world wars against fascist countries. American militarism now is a direct result of fascist provocation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li...­

    August 14, 2012

    • A. Colin Flood

      I am not stupid enough to insult somebody. Please reread what I wrote. It says America IS militaristic.

      August 16, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      People have been drinking the koolaid in so many ways and for so long. If you use alcohol, tobacco or drugs, if you gamble, if you drink soda, eat sweets or greasy foods. The market is full of all kinds of poison that will kill you. And you are "drinking the koolaid".
      Please kindly define colloquial sayings and slangs. Not everyone is familiar with colorful language.

      drink the koolaid: http://www.urbandicti...­

      Scientific proof:
      http://drug.addiction...­
      http://www.cdc.gov/to...­
      http://wiki.answers.c...­
      http://www.livestrong...­
      http://www.livestrong...­

      August 17, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    and they pretend and convince us that they can handle things for us, but all they do is make things worse.

    August 15, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    There are mothers, wifes and children sending perfectly good, healthy people to be killed, mutilated and damaged for life, just because some people are too greedy and selfish and have no manners.

    August 15, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Grown ups playing GI Joes with human beings is what is offensive.

    1 · August 15, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I live in Valrico, Hillsborough County, Florida, not in China. The time people thought that people who came from far and looked different were gods is over and gone. This is 2012. People should mind their own business. Leaders have shown they are not more capable of solving our problems than we are. Let the chinese be the chinese and the valrican be valrican. Making things sound complicated doesn't impress me. It just means others are trying to confuse us while they they take what belongs to us. Jim, might be on to something giving more importance to dancing than this.

    August 15, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    well sorry to everyone but i won't be able to make the meeting, i have salsa dancing to attend to (and since i have been studying (for more than a decade) this topic (of capitalism vs. socialism) this will just be a rehashing of stuff for me. One more bit of information i want to leave you with. Since i don't want you to label me or put me in a box (especially after watching the documentaries). I have owned several businesses and i do believe in capitalism because i am a capitalist but i do know that capitalism isn't the solution for everything (and so neither is socialism).

    August 15, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    for the rest of you the knowledge is out there all you have to do is look for it, now you can decide whether you want to know or remain ignorant to what is going on around you. you don't have to go through the trouble or expense to live outside the country like i did.
    here are a few documentaries to help you get started on your journey:

    -the war on democracy, http://freedocumentaries.org/in...­

    -breaking the silence
    http://freedocumentaries.org/in...­

    -freedom to facism
    http://freedocumentaries.org/in...­

    -hearts and minds
    http://freedocumentaries.org/in...­

    August 15, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    -palestine is still the issue
    http://freedocumentaries.org/in...­

    -taxi to the dark side
    http://freedocumentaries.org/in...­

    -the fog of war
    http://freedocumentaries.org/in...­

    -the revolution will not be televised
    http://freedocumentaries.org/in...­

    -why we fight
    http://freedocumentaries.org/in...­

    -war made easy
    http://freedocumentaries.org/in...­

    -stealing a nation
    http://freedocumentaries.org/in...­

    -the shock doctrine
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...­

    August 15, 2012

  • A. Colin Flood

    2. There is no comparison between American corporatism now and the “radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology,” which worships the state above the humane and the individual as clique- led China does. Four of the world’s largest corporations are owned by the state. NOT our state. No. The Chinese.
    3. Governments certainly lie. But American GDP is also measured by three different international organizations. Their numbers are close enough for comparison purposes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li...­)

    August 14, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    too many misconceptions in the statements made here.
    a.colin flood:
    a)militarism is really something that capitalist societies are much more likely to engage in.
    b)why are you calling china a facist country when the u.s. is just as fascist (if not more fascist) than china. Since facism has many definitions to many scholars let us not even participate in name calling (which might i add is an unintelligent thing to do). better to state the specific reasons your for or against something.
    c)GDP is a wildly exaggerated static the u.s. government uses. I suspect they have no clue what the GDP or GNP is but i can tell you it is no where near what the government states it is....the value of all the goods and services produced in a country in a given time period (usually 1 year)....

    August 14, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    how can we figure out what the real gdp is, let's think about that....well i will tell you how to do it but i think i will let you guys tell me first so you can think about it first and once we figure it out and compare that number to what the government tells us then you will realize the federal government is lying to all of us not just on gdp but inflation, employment and a myriad of other things. d)if you think the u.s. government is any different from any other government then you have been indoctrinated into the b.s. that they fed you in the school system and all the other propaganda we have been fed by corporations and our government but don't be too hard on yourself because at one time i was a right wing republican too.....yes i too drank the kool-aid.

    1 · August 14, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    as for rosa well i am just going to say: women will truly be liberated when all women no longer feel the urge or pressure from family, their peers, society, etc. to have a family. maybe the problem really is that there is just too many of us.

    1 · August 14, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I also think that the elimination of harmful products and services would help us all. Anything below standards, anything defective should be prohibited. Examples are: foods made out of grease, sugar, full of chemicals, recreational drugs, alcoholic beverages, tobacco, lactose. Concentrate on helping produce and distribute what helps and not what hurts. If we want to keep reproducing and want out grandchildren to be happy we are going to have to protect our health and our natural environment.

    August 14, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    " The "depression" is nothing more than the aftermath of armed robbery." <--- I agree with this statement written by a former member of this meetup group. I also would like to say that I believe most people would love to be able to learn some kind of contributing skill that allows them to make a good descent living, not necessarily extravagant lifestyle, just be able to take care of themselves and their families in every way. I thought government was supposed to be assuring that those of us who are not skilled at "armed robbery" are protected from those who are.

    August 14, 2012

  • A. Colin Flood

    the question is not what should we, but when should we do it. The answer is to shift from one to the other. Krugman now, Laffer later.

    August 11, 2012

  • A. Colin Flood

    The irony is that if Gross Domestic Product (GDP) really is THE most important measure of economic success, than the U.S. should really emulate China! Their fascist state has FOUR of the world’s largest corporations, astounding growth rates and lifted more people to middle class faster than any country in history. If the market value of all officially recognized final goods and services (GDP) is NOT the best success indicator, then the U.S. should emulate the cold, socialist and other countries, where the quality of life is higher. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qu...­, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qu...­)

    August 11, 2012

  • A. Colin Flood

    Unfortunately, using the GDP (and its nearly identical twin, the GNP) to measure well-being and genuine progress makes about as much sense as using a fork to eat soup: It’s the wrong tool for the job. Two months before he was assassinated, Robert F. Kennedy explained why:
    “Our gross national product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”
    http://greatergood.berkeley.edu...­

    August 11, 2012

  • A. Colin Flood

    Government is ALWAYS the solution where unlimited demand meets inelastic supply; defense (war) being the very first - the territorial imperative and the prime directive. The unfettered free market does NOT fairly distribute scarce goods to all members of society. It only flows freely where pressure is applied. It is from the prime directive of defense that all government authority stems. From there, our own Congress expanded their authority with acts regulating commerce, foreign affairs, obtaining loans from Europe, issuing money and disbursing funds. It even mandated universal health care for sailors (1798)! Our Great American Progressive Social Experiment then added territories, attacked Indians, created banks, freedom from slavery, Reconstruction, universal education, women‘s rights, highways, electrification, water and sewage, even internet, etc.

    August 11, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Please note i do remember Mr. Friedman saying in an interview many years ago that you do need government to make policy on enviromental pollution, contract law, public safety, etc. This being the case can you ever have a system that is completely capitalist or for that matter completely socialist (well let me answer that you absolutely cannot!!!) Even the most Socialist system has some form of capitalism in it. People will pick the job that pays more if everything else is equal or the product that cost less if everything else is equal. You will always have some form of capitalism in every society. By the way there are other countries that i have lived in that are more capitalist than the u.s.a. but still they have some socialist practices such as police and fire departments (that are provided to everyone, oh and let us not forget universal health care).

    1 · August 10, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    The problem with this type of debate is that you need to define your goal. If your goal is for an equitable society (meaning a society where everyone has the same opportunity for higher education, and to be raised with the same opportunities such as nice place to live, good education, able to eat well balanced meals, etc. etc.....you know the way the rockerfellers' and the kennedys' raised their kids), then of course you need government to level the playing field. if your goal is for a more efficient society (meaning not having government to take money away from those who have the means to earn (produce) it and use it for what ever the political apparatus determines, or basically let the market determine where money should flow and what type of work people should do, well then maybe mr. friedman is more to your liking.

    August 10, 2012

  • Scooter Dave

    Pete: if you "know" that "serious thinkers" don't take one-half of the scheduled discussion seriously and it is the equivalent of "armed robbery", maybe you should take a long look into the mirror and ask yourself if you are going to be able to exchange ideas and move the discussion forward in an environment of enlightened free exchange of positions. I would never think of publishing an inflammatory prejudgemental statement prior to an social debate.

    I'm looking forward to hearing all sides

    July 13, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Serious thinkers don't take people like Paul Krugman seriously. Stimulating the economy is a ridiculous idea if you stop and think about it. "Stimulus" is nothing more than taking wealth from some people by use of force and giving it to others, who are almost always politically connected. If it worked we would have a booming economy, but it doesn't. The "depression" is nothing more than the aftermath of armed robbery.

    July 13, 2012

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