"Is it really true that political self-interest is nobler somehow than economic self-interest?" -- Milton Friedman
Here is a pretty interesting interview from him on Donahue:
Donahue asks: "When you see around the globe the mal-distribution of wealth, the desperate plight of millions of people in undeveloped countries … when you see the greed and the concentration of power, did you ever have a moment of dou...bt about capitalism and whether greed is a good idea to run on?"
Friedman responds, "Is there some society out there that doesn't run on greed? Do you think Russia or China doesn't run on greed? What is greed? Of course none of us are greedy; it's only the other fellow who's greedy. The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests. The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn't construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn't revolutionize the automobile industry that way. In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you're talking about they have had capitalism and largely free trade. If you want to know where the masses are the worst off, it is exactly in the kinds of society that depart from that. So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear: that there is no alternative way so far discovered of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system."
Mr. Donahue: "But it seems to reward not virtue so much as ability to manipulate the system."
Friedman says, "And what does reward virtue? Do you think the communist commisary rewards virtue? You think a Hitler rewards virtue? Do you think American Presidents reward virtue? Do they choose their appointees on the basis of the virtue of the people appointed or on the basis of their political clout? Is it really true that political self-interest is nobler somehow than economic self-interest? I think you are taking a lot of things for granted. Just tell me where in the world you're going to find these angels who are going to organize society for us? I don't even trust you to do that!"