While I have heard of the name of Milton Friedman, I am ashamed to admit I never really studied him. I am currently in the process of correcting that error.
I have found a sampling of two YouTube videos I want to share with you. In the first clip, he takes Donahue to task. Donahue asks about all of the people in poverty in the world. Milton says simply:
"The world runs on individuals pursuing their own self-interests...The only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you are talking about is where they had capitalism and largely free trade."
Some years ago, I had a conversation with a co-worker who openly stated government should confiscate the wealth of the rich. She could not answer my question, "How many poor people do you know who create jobs by employing people?"
This second video shows Dr. Friedman skewering a lady who was complaining about "too many millionaires." While she did realize what the millionaires were doing (investing their money instead of keeping it under their mattress), she did not realize that their investment in purchasing equipment and expanding production capacity made more wealth for everybody, especially the creation of jobs.
If the only thing a person can do is what someone else (namely government) tells them to do, that's all they will do. If you tell someone they can do anything they want, most will still do what they are told, some will do nothing and very few will do just that, pursue an idea they have, be it to create something new or to improve something already there and make something that changes the world.
To be able to invoke our own self-interest, to be in control of our own future and reap the benefits of our labor, this is what inspires people to do great things. When government stifles or destroys the incentive for greatness, there is no innovation or improvement of the lot of the common man. "They pretend to pay us, we pretend to work" is a common line from the workers of the now-dead Soviet Union.
Which brings me to the "Socialist Heaven" of Venezuela. Probably not too many people remember, but a couple of years ago the Venezuelan government (which owns or controls most industries in the country) had to purchase two billion rolls of toilet paper. Toilet paper. Their own country could not produce something so simple and inexpensive as toilet paper. Today, they can't provide enough food for their own people. As I said in an earlier post, the Soviet Union (another controlled economy) had to purchase American wheat to feed its own people, as their own farmland (they had more farm land than the United States had land, period) could not feed its own people.