Clive Crook on Milton Friedman
By Arnold Kling
he writes (link may expire soon),
Much of what is wrong with popular attitudes to capitalism comes down to one thing: a lack of wonder at what uncoordinated markets can achieve. Going to a grocery store for the hundredth or thousandth time is a pretty humdrum experience. As a rule it isn’t going to elicit much of an intellectual response — though if it does, the response might be one of two kinds. The commentator Robert Kuttner once wrote of his dismay at the great number of breakfast cereals on offer in his local grocery. What a waste, was his point; who could possibly need all these different cereals? Can’t we arrange things more intelligently? This is a leftist kind of response: “Put somebody sensible in charge and plan things better.” The liberal response (in the proper sense of “liberal”) is different: “How amazing that all these choices are available, so that every taste is catered to, and it’s all so cheap.”
Read the whole thing. Even if you’ve read a lot of odes to Friedman, Crook’s is one of the most interesting.
The point quoted above is quite interesting. It is easy to think that you as an individual can come up with wiser decisions than the market. It is more difficult to appreciate how effective the market really is.