Thanks to my friend Joe Fulwiler for forwarding this video of Milton Friedman. I remember seeing him speak at Stanford’s Kresge Hall 10 years ago and was impressed by his deep convictions on vast global issues. As an economics major, it was a real treat to see him live and well worth the several hours in line. In the video Milton Friedman comes across as a genuine, engaging, and utterly rational man. Wish I could say the same for Phil Donahue. Not to hate on Phil, but watching him ask Milton questions is like me trying to lay up on Manute Bol.
The video touches upon a somewhat opposing duality that I’ve been reflecting about lately — how does one serve their self-interest while contributing to the greater good in a real tangible way? Semantics aside, what’s the best way to serve yourself and others at the same time? Not “self-interest” in an evil, greased up maniac Gordon Gecko type of greed, but rather an objectivist approach to the concept like Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Our behavior is largely dictated by economic incentive so it makes sense to think of what is surely a common denominator in all of us, namely, the process of efficiently allocating scarce resources. The hope is to serve ourselves well and in surplus in order to have a greater chance of serving others.