Trading Shovels for Spoons

This article has been sitting on my desk for about a year. I read the article every two to three months and decided to share it on our blog. I find it a refreshing reminder of the role of capitalism for real economic growth, as opposed to the crutches that Washington is able to provide.

In his Wall Street Journal column, “Missing Milton: Who Will Speak for Free Markets?” author Stephen Moore offers a defense of Friedman economics. An excerpt:

At one of our dinners, Milton recalled traveling to an Asian country in the 1960s and visiting a worksite where a new canal was being built. He was shocked to see that, instead of modern tractors and earth movers, the workers had shovels. He asked why there were so few machines. The government bureaucrat explained: “You don’t understand. This is a jobs program.” To which Milton replied: “Oh, I thought you were trying to build a canal. If it’s jobs you want, then you should give these workers spoons, not shovels.”

This is especially poignant at a time when the current administration enjoys casting blame for the financial crisis on Milton Friedman’s ideas, when in fact Friedman spent his career warning us against the very type government meddling that caused the credit and housing bubbles to begin with.

Moore points out that Friedman’s theories propelled us through the 80s, 90s and mid 00s with unprecedented economic growth and prosperity. He argues that the federal government will never match production like the free market does, simply trading shovels for spoons to create more false jobs.

True economic growth must be the responsibility of the free market and entrepreneurial-minded people everywhere.

2017-06-08T11:42:21+00:00 Economic Outlook, Government Policy|