"The great advances of civilization," wrote Milton Friedman in Capitalism and Freedom, his influential best seller published in 1962, "whether in architecture or painting, in science or literature, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government." He did not say what he made of the state-sponsored art of Athens's Periclean Age or the Medici family, who, as Europe's dominant bankers but then as Florentine rulers, commissioned and financed so much Renaissance art. Or the Spanish court that gave us Velázquez. Or the many public universities that produced great scientists in our times. Or, even just before Friedman was writing, what could he have made of the Manhattan Project of the US government, which produced the atomic bomb? Or the National Institutes of Health, whose government-supported grants led to many of the most important pharmaceutical breakthroughs?We could perhaps forgive Friedman's ill-informed remarks as a burst of ideological enthusiasm if so many economists and business executives didn't accept this myth as largely true.
I'm sure I'm marginal on some things but if I've learned anything from this tangent It's how little the economy is involved in my decision making. Even when money is tight a few dollars here or there isn't enough to deviate from what works and not needing to save a dollar has never stopped me from not spending it. Results may very of course.
Some other Unconventional Economic Indicators that have been promoted include:1. Hemlines: First suggested in 1925 by George Taylor of the Wharton School of Business, the Hemline Index proposes that skirt hemlines are higher when the economy is performing better. For instance, short skirts were in vogue in the 1990s when the tech bubble was increasing.2. Haircuts: Paul Mitchell founder John Paul Dejoria suggests that during good economic times, customers will visit salons for haircuts every six weeks, while in bad times, haircut frequencies drop to every eight weeks.3. Dry-cleaning: Another favorite Greenspan theory, this indicator suggests that dry cleaning drops during bad economic times, as people only take clothes to the cleaners when they absolutely need to when budgets are tight.4. Fast food: Many analysts believe that during financial downturns, consumers are far more likely to purchase cheaper fast food options, while when the economy heads into an upswing, patrons are more likely to focus more on buying healthier food and eating in nicer restaurants.
With the last point (fast food), I guess they are referring to the famous Big Mac Index.
In Eastern Europe, McDonalds and Burger King are a symbol of the stage of development where prestigious global brands enter the local market.
Maybe it was a dubbed American ad? I'm not sure if native Dutch ads were so bluntly sexist.
Western fast food brands are an outrageously expensive choice compared to e.g. forest produce which comes only at the expense of picking
But here in the city blackberries are some kind of expensive delicacy...
Friedman often is caricatured as an unqualified defender of free markets, but this is inaccurate.While he was deeply hostile to government intervention in the economy, he recognized standard market failures including externalities ("neighborhood effects").
A product of the Great Depression, Friedman particularly disputed the Keynesian claim for active countercyclical policy. A steady rate of growth of the money supply was all that was needed to stabilize the economy.In complete contradiction to Marx, Friedman believed that government, not capitalism, produced business cycles.If monetary policy were driven by simple rules rather than the judgments of policy makers, market economies would grow steadily.I think of Friedman as an "economic deist" who thought that relatively few government interventions would be sufficient to set the economy running unmonitored, like clockwork.Build the capitalist clock, wind it up, and then let capitalism run without further intervention.
As disappointing as it may be to libertarians (excluding the sizable corps of true believers, immune to evidence), a complicated society needs a lot of complicated, active public policy, both microeconomic and macroeconomic.
If [Friedman's] dream of inactive government has not been supported by history, his attention to the importance people attach to autonomy, and the social cost of restricting it, is as important as ever.
Neither Marx nor Friedman made lasting contributions to economic theory, in my view. However, anyone who tries to understand and to intervene in today's political economic processes had better pay attention to what they said.We cannot understand modern political economic developments without bringing to bear Marx' understanding of the role of social class. Nor can we understand them without Friedman's appreciation of markets as expressions of freedom.
Okay. Any comment? Anybody? Oh, well...
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