Ken Griffin: Why The Younger Generation Is Losing Faith In The Free Enterprise System

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In this interview with Ken Griffin, Michael Milken asks why the younger generation is losing faith in the free enterprise system.

Why do younger generations seem to be losing faith in the free enterprise system. And what does this mean for the future and what should we do about it.

Key excerpts:

07:00 “There is a sense that the ability to get ahead has been diminished.”

09:20 “Where we see the government involved in great degrees of subsidization, is where we often see the economy break down the greatest.”

09:45 “If you look at student loan lending, which the US government effectively nationalized during the great financial crisis, you’re now looking at the consequences of this 11 years later – the cost of college education exploding since the government has been involved, creating a generation of students, who are now graduates, who are completely disillusioned with their economic prospects.”



Griffin begins:

“You and I grew up in a different era where the cold war was was raging on and there was a great debate in America about the strengths weaknesses of socialism as compared to the economic freedom that we enjoy in our country. And we saw that question answered.”

He continues:

We saw the fall of the USSR the fall of Eastern Europe and we realized that that form of economic system left people in poverty in a world of little choice, in a world of scarce opportunity and it was incredibly clear that our free market system created far better standards of living.

You know I have I have a young son and he’s eleven now and when Bernie Sanders was running against Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton back few years ago, there’s a photo of a stadium full of supporters and I said to him, this is an entire stadium of people who don’t know history and we’re seeing that play out in the debate today.

If you look across the world if you look to Cambodia, you look to Cuba, if you look to Venezuela – very timely, the the track record of socialism – which is not just an economic system but ultimately a political system – is one of complete failure.

You know in Venezuela over the last year I believe the average person has lost roughly 24 pounds. They’re dying of starvation. They’re dying from not having enough food to put on the table. And if you go back to the 1950s, to put it in context, Venezuela was about as rich as America per capita.”


“Venezuela was rated triple A in the 1970s. And for every dollar that was loaned to Venezuela a dollar and a half came out even though you had 20 to 30 percent unemployment at that time.

But I think let’s look what Margaret Thatcher had to say on this subject for a moment could we see that little short discussion with Margaret Thatcher.”

Capitalism has a moral basis. The reason being that unless you have economic freedom you will have no other freedom at all. So the whole of the capitalist society is a moral basis – the basis is that the individual is here to develop his or her talents. He cannot do that without both political freedom and economic freedom. The only kind of society under which you can do that is a capitalist society.

To be free. You have to be capitalist.

Every free society in the world is a capitalist society.”


“Ken, if you look at a recent poll of 3000 people on what they think America’s about and what is this American dream. It’s interesting in this recent poll the number one response was freedom. It wasn’t personal wealth. It was freedom.

The number two response was be able to raise a family in freedom. And those are both over 80 percent. Only 16 percent of the people saw this as personal wealth. So we’re here in the United States today. And how do you view the current business climate and the economy?


“The current business climate across the country is strong. What we’re seeing though is a divergence between the blue and red states that I don’t think was anticipated over the course of the last tax reform.

We’re seeing the blue states continue to embrace ever increasing amounts of regulation, ever more challenging tax policies, and a set of programs and decisions that are just financially unsustainable.

And so I live in Chicago which is one of the great cities in the world, and yet we’ve seen more college-educated people leave Cook County which is where Chicago is than any other county in the United States. And they’re fleeing from corruption, a state that can’t get its fiscal house in order; and with those two dynamics comes crime and comes a scarcity of opportunity.

So for the country as a whole, we are in the longest recovery post World War II, but within our country we are seeing an ever-increasing sharp division between the states that pursue policies that create opportunity, that educate children, that allow people to have great careers; and states that continue to pursue failed policies that result in corruption, cronyism, and crime that are devastating to cities like Chicago.”

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