One man’s good is another’s evil
A most intriguing, wise observation by Milton Friedman: ‘ one man’s good is an[o]ther’s evil. ‘ He based on it a queer thesis of his: ‘ In a free society, he reasons, ‘ it is hard for “good” people to do “good,” but that is a small price to pay for making it hard for “evil” people to do “evil,” especially since one man’s good is an[o]ther’s evil. ‘ ( A Friedman doctrine‐- The Social Responsibility Of Business Is to Increase Its Profits By Milton Friedman Sept. 13, 1970 ) Evidently, the Nobel-laureate economics genius who’s also an infamous, staunch advocate of free-market capitalism endorses preventing ‘ “good” people to do “good,” ‘ on the ground that it prevents ‘ “evil” people to do “evil,” ‘. It passes my comprehension how de-licensing a doctor or imprisoning a scientist to thwart his project meant to use his discovery for the common good can stop a thief from stealing or a terrorist from committing terror acts.
Nevertheless, it seems to me an obvious, universal Truth: ‘ one man’s good is an[o]ther’s evil ‘, which holds true for all societies, be it Free or non-Free. Humanity as well as human society is a part of Nature. Nature consists of both good plants & bad plants, beneficial bacteria & harmful bacteria, meat-&-milk producing animals & fierce wolves & tigers, etc. Like Nature, humanity consists of both good humans & evil humans. Good humans consist of the hard-working folks that produce all wealth as well as writers, thinkers, teachers, doctors, nurses, scientists, technologists, physiologists, etc, all people whose hard work and brilliant achievements keep civilisations moving and advancing. On the other hand, the capitalists, the parasitic class of fabulously wealthy people, that produce No wealth, are endowed with No talent, and have No contribution to civilisation, whose wealth originates Not from any meaningful work performed by them but from the unpaid labour of the hard-working producers of wealth, as well as thieves, robbers, smugglers, etc make up the despicable horde of evil humans.
Nevertheless, in Milton Friedman’s eyes, the parasitic capitalists are good people that, in his novel view, exploit the hard-working multitude to accomplish a great big mission: they benefit the entire society a lot thus, and thus the Nobel laureate contradicts his own thesis: ‘ In a free society, it is hard for “good” people to do “good,”… ‘. Of course he has Not claimed that amassing fabulous wealth through the exploitation of the hard-working multitude is a hard job for businessmen. Therefore , it seems implied that capitalists do a great service to society with ease. Milton Friedman, however, has used the thesis that ‘ one man’s good is an[o]ther’s evil ‘ to dispense the capitalist class from any responsibility to the society as a whole, such as bothering about unemployment, doing something to reduce prices,
poverty, inflation, and pollution, etc, and thus he has meant to glorify the capitalist individualism ( the disgusting doctrine that the interest of the individual is primary ). He’s outright unaware, like a damn fool, that every businessman is, like any non-business man, a social being that happens to be an insignificant member of society, so insignificant as to be unable to survive without direct social protection and security, In times of adversity, we awake to this inescapable universal Truth, doN’t we? I think the current COVID-19 pandemic has once again made it clear to every sensible human how awfully insignificant and helpless a human individual is. This fact rejects the silly doctrine of individualism that regards the individual’s interest as superior to the interest of society. Milton Friedman also seems to be outright unaware of the fact that No business can be organised in jungles or uninhabited deserts or in space. Money the filthy lucre is a human creation and is valueless in jungles, deserts or space where humans do Not live. To make money, capitalists have to exploit working people who are all humans and so Not found outside of society. Truly, working people are like flocks of goats or sheep while capitalists are hyenas & wolves. Working people will survive and flourish without capitalists, but capitalists woN’t exist without wage workers. This is the naked Truth geniuses like Milton Friedman want to hide from you.
The Nobelist fool also seems to be ignorant of the fact that it’s truly in the interest of the exploiting class to raise minimum wages, keep prices low, provide workers with good health care, control pollution, prevent climate change, etc. Is the Nobel-laureate economics genius really so silly as to be unaware that capitalism presupposes the existence of an ever-expanding market, I wonder. Capitalism, hence capitalists, canNot survive without an ever-expanding market. But the capitalist mode of exploitation leads to the concentration of more and more wealth in the hands of capitalists that make up an insignificant part of the total population, which means the impoverishment of the rest, the 99%, who are also the consumers of goods & services that capitalists bring to the market to trade in and thus to make money. But the impoverishment of the 99% obviously means the massive contraction of their purchasing power which inevitably leads to a massive fall in the demand for commodities, hence a massive contraction of the market followed by economic downturn, bankruptcy, stockpiling, downsizing, layoffs, industrial closures, soaring joblessness, etc, as a result of which the overall situation worsens further and thus a vicious circle of cause & effect sets in to lead to the collapse of the capitalist order eventually, hence the demise of the capitalist class. In order to prevent this premature death of capitalism and themselves, capitalists had No other option than to have recourse to welfarism, i.e. the policy of wealth & income redistributive taxation and subsidisation of certain commodities. The free school education, the free school meals, the taxpayer subsidy for tertiary education, federal student loans, food stamps, federal Housing Support Program, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, etc, numerous projects as well as the recent federal stimulus packages worth trillion dollars, the federal Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses, etc to deal with the grave situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic indisputably show that the free-market capitalism of Milton Friedman’s dream is a myth, and that capitalism is permanently crippled and unable to stand erect without crutches of welfarism.
I feel sceptical about whether the Nobel laureate really realises the reasons behind this fact that the sensible find most ignominious and agonising. MF’s ‘ free society ‘ is truly a capitalist society members of which are divided into classes of conflicting interests: capitalists (the exploiting class), wage workers (the exploited millions), big business (corporate bodies), small businesses, the rich, the super-rich, the poor, buyers, sellers, etc, etc. It seems practically impossible to do something to serve the legitimate interests of every class of people in such a society. Nevertheless, humanity can rid itself of this ignominious division of itself into classes. The classless communist order is achievable. Geniuses like Milton Friedman are ignorant of it. Nevertheless, the classless society will Not be free of some bad elements alongside of the good people. Thus, the maxim at issue will hold true for the classless society too.