“Capitalism and Freedom” Summary, Chapter 11: Social Welfare Measures

by Danny Fenster

This chapter is a free excerpt from Quicklet on Capitalism and Freedom.

The same egalitarian sentiment behind income distribution is responsible for the welfare state. Friedman lists a number of social welfare programs and their unintended negative effects.

Public Housing:

Public housing has displaced more units than it has created, putting more people into less units, and causing urban blight.


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The same egalitarian sentiment behind income distribution is responsible for the welfare state. Friedman lists a number of social welfare programs and their unintended negative effects.

Public Housing:

Public housing has displaced more units than it has created, putting more people into less units, and causing urban blight.

Because of income limits for recipients of subsidized housing, these projects have concentrated broken families, with higher-risk "problem" children, into single school districts and neighborhoods, exacerbating problems for youth.

Minimum Wage:

Employers forced to pay a minimum wage hire fewer people. Many of the impoverished lose their low wages, making matters worse. They are sent to relief rolls, more public housing and slums.

Farm Price Supports:

Farm price supports have increased farm output without raising farmer wages. Consumers pay higher prices plus taxes for the price supports. The farmer is left with burdensome restrictions while bureaucracy and central control balloon. International trade and foreign policy are hurt.

Old Age and Survivor's Insurance:

Social security involves large-scale invasion into personal lives without justification. It requires some people to purchase specific products from the government. Inequitable and unjustifiable income redistribution occurs as a result.

These issues become complex and are administered only by academics with an interest in expanding their own roles, which laymen have a hard time resisting. Their recommendations are rubber-stamped by laymen congressmen.

The measures are made on paternalistic grounds that only seek to avoid allowing people to make their own mistakes.

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