Volume 2 - The Tyranny of Control
In this program, Dr. Friedman visits India, Japan and the U.S. He
argues that those nations fortunate enough to have had basic economic
policies established in an atmosphere of free markets have tended
to develop more rapidly and to meet the needs of their citizens more
adequately than those nations whose economic policies were established
in an atmosphere of centralized planning and control.
18th century Scottish economist Adam Smith, free market economies
are based on a belief that permitting individuals to pursue their
own self-interests will have the happy side effect of serving the
interest of society as a whole. Friedman points to the development
of the British economy during the 19th century and the Japanese economy
in the 20th as examples of robust development that accompanied governmental
decisions to allow the free market to operate. Where nations have
adopted central planning policies instead of economic freedom, economic
development has been considerably less than that in free market societies.
Though central planning policies may be well intended, they inevitably
retard economic progress. Dr. Friedman cites the case of India as
a classic example of a nation that has great potential for economic
development but, because it has chosen to rely upon centralized controls
for organizing economic activities, its people have been relegated
to an unnecessarily low standard of living.
This program focuses on
the case for free trade. If people are free to trade with whoever
offers the most advantageous terms, resources will be used efficiently,
and a higher standard of living will be realized. But free trade requires
free and open competition. Many producers have advocated public policies
to protect their businesses from competition in the name of "public
interest." Dr. Friedman warns us to be suspicious of public interest
advocates, concluding that through their policies the special interests
win at the expense of the rest of society.