David Ferrando Giraut

TEXTS

MF SUITE Press release + transcripts, 2013


Milton Friedman, (1912 - 2006), Nobel Prize for Economy and head of the Chicago School of Economics, is one of the most influential figures of the second half of the 20th century. A fervent promoter of free market – the utmost expression of the kind of individual freedom he pursued as supreme value – his ideology is based on the belief that the dynamics of the market, freed from state intervention, would tend to regulate themselves, favouring an optimum socio-economic functioning. As a result, a new, freer, more balanced society would be born. This supposedly infallible system, this supposedly perfect image, has proliferated during the last decades, being systematically imposed by ways of armed violence and/or the opportunistic scavenging in the aftermath of deep economic or humanitarian crises; leaving a trace – always denied and obfuscated – of inequality, violence, poverty, corruption, injustice and death. Friedman´s shadow – and that of his numerous followers – looms, large and dark, in the current economic arena, obscured also by the fact that states, far from having limited their intervention on markets, as was Friedman´s will, have immersed themselves in the market logic in a servile manner: leaving societies which elected them in a secondary place and playing the role of facilitators of the corporate game from which it is progressively impossible to discern them.

David Ferrando Giraut´s work has dealt for several years with the relations and differences between image and the reality that it represents – and which can be modified through the representational process itself, sometimes with sinister results. Now, his attention turns to some of the issues described above, in a triad of works constructed from a combination of archive recordings with newly produced footage; they reflect on technological, economic and ethical developments related to the Modern era. Superimposing different temporalities, and proposing a blurring out of the boundaries between culture and nature, these pieces attempt to underline the inherent cruelty and unbalance of advanced capitalism; to point at how irresponsible it would be to read the current crisis in terms of a glitch in the mechanism of a logic, fair system, instead of as a direct, coherent consequence of an intrinsically dehumanizing, corrupted, selfish and dysfunctional one.

David Ferrando Giraut (Negreira, Spain, 1978) lives and works in London. He graduated from an MFA in Fine Arts in Goldsmiths College in 2008, and more recently took part in the LUX Associate Artists Programme.

Among his recent exhibitions are: “Cristalino”, Galería Bacelos, Madrid and Vigo; “The Fanstasist”, MACUF, A Coruña; 41 International Film Festival Rotterdam; “Against Gravity”, ICA, London; “Topophobia”, Danielle Arnaud Gallery, London, The Bluecoat, Liverpool and Spacex, Exeter;  “Swollen Jungle”, Union Gallery, London; “Journeys End in Lovers Meetings”, Galería Visor, Valencia and 10/12, Brussels; “Everything is Out There” in Inéditos 2010, La Casa Encendida, Madrid; “Between a Hole and a Home”, James Taylor Gallery, London; “Time Capsules”, The Gallery Soho, London; “Strange Things Are Hapening”, ASPEX, Portsmouth, o “Situación” CGAC, Santiago de Compostela.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MILTON FRIEDMAN QUOTES JOHN STUART MILL (1980)

 

“In 1848, John Stuart Mill, great English economist and philosopher, in a book called The Principles of Economics, wrote, and I quote: ‘Hitherto,’ he wrote, ‘it is questionable if all the mechanically inventions yet made, have lighten the day’s toil of any human being. They have enabled a greater population to live the same life of drudgery and imprisonment and an increased number of manufacturers and others to make fortune; they have increased the comfort of the middle classes, but they have not yet begun to effect those great changes in human destiny which it is in their nature and in their futurity to accomplish.’ Nobody could say that today! Had not lightened the day’s toil of any human being? You will travel from way end to the other end of the prosperous countries like the United States, where capitalism has brought mechanical invention, and the only people you will find engaging in hard day’s toile are those who are doing it for sport!“

 

(Excerpt from a lecture by Milton Friedman, 1980)

 

 

FORD PINTO

 

Y.M.: This has to do with the Ford Pinto.  I’m not sure if you are aware of the recent revelations that have come up about the production of that car: Ford produced it knowing full well that in any rear-end collision the gas tank would blow up, because they have failed to install a 13 $ plastic block in front of the gas tank, and Ford estimated in an internal memo that that would cost two hundred lives a year. They estimated further that the cost of each life would be 200.000 $; they multiplied and they found that the cost of installing those blocks on each of the cars would be more than the cost of saving those two hundred lives, and over the past seven years the car has been produced and over a thousand lives have been lost. Seems to me that Ford did what would be the right thing according to your policy, and yet that seems to me to be very wrong.

M.F.: Well, let me ask you: lets suppose that it would have cost 1.000.000.000 $ per person, should Ford have put them in nonetheless?

Y.M.: But it was not a question of that, it was a question of 13 $ each.

M.F.: You know that you are really just arguing about price, you are not arguing about principle. Because nobody can take the principle, nobody can accept the principle that an infinite value should be put in an individual life; because in order to get the money involved, in order to get the resources involved – it’s not money – they have to come from somewhere. And you want a policy which maximizes this situation overall. You cannot accept the situation that a million people should be starving in order to provide one person with a car that is completely safe.

Y.M.: That’s absolutely right.

M.F.: Right. And therefore you are not arguing anything about principle. You are just arguing whether Ford used 200.000 $ was the right number or not.

Y.M.: No, I’m not arguing that at all!

M.F.: Suppose they were 2.000.000.000 $, what should Ford have done?

Y.M.: 2.000.000.000 $ for what?

M.F.: Suppose it would have cost 2.000.000.000 $, per life saved. Should Ford have still spent those 2.000.000.000 $?

Y.M.: You mean per…? That’s not really the question…

M.F.: Yes it is the question! It is the principle of the question! That’s the only principle involved. I don’t know if Ford did the right thing or not, it is a question of whether these numbers are valid numbers for the relative cost of different things. You are not arguing about a principle. If you once agree with me that the cost per life saved had been 2.000.000.000 $, you would not argue. Look, let me go back for a moment…

Y.M.: Can I say something in response to that? If Ford had not been able to market those cars in the same kind of economic bracket because of the price of installing this one plastic block, that would be a different question. Maybe Ford could have considered re-designing the whole car so as to make it cheaper. But what we are talking about is balancing advantages and balancing principles.

M.F.: Of course, and that’s why…

Y.M.: Just a minute. I am a supporter of abortion, therefore I don’t believe that every single human life is sacred, I believe that principles have to be balanced and yet I don’t see Ford spending 13 $ less in each car at the cost of 200 lives a year as being a principle position to take and yet I think your logic requires it.

M.F.: Suppose it would have been one fewer life a year, so that the 13 $ per car saved that one life instead of being two hundred times… what’s two hundred times two hundred thousand…it’s… forty million. Suppose that it had been one life a year so that it cost forty million, would it then be OK for Ford not to…

Y.M.: You can predict one life is going to be lost because of a physical defect in the car, this was a clear mechanical defect…

M.F.: I know, I know, I know, but you are evading the question of principle.

Y.M.: No I’m not, I’m saying that they knew before they put the car out that there was a mechanical defect in it.

M.F.: Look, excuse me, you know when you buy a car… You know that your chance of being killed in a Pinto is greater than the chance of being killed in a Mack Truck.

Audience: This is not the question! 

Y.M.: No, I didn’t, I didn’t know that the gas tank would rupture.

M.F.: Of course it is the question. Every one of us separately in this room could, at a cost, reduce his risk of dying tomorrow: You don’t have to walk across the street! Of course, the question is “Is he willing to pay for?” and the question here he should be raising, if he wants to raise a question of principle, the principle he should raise is whether Ford wasn’t required to attach to this car the statement “We have made this car 13 $ cheaper and therefore it is one whatever the percent is, it is one percent more risky for you to buy it”. Now, then, he would be arguing a real question of principle.

Y.M.: Why should they do that? Doesn’t that interfere with the free enterprise system that you are touting?

M.F.: No, not at all!

Y.M.: Why not?

M.F.: Because the consumer should be free to decide what risk he wants to bear. If you want to pay 13 $ extra for that, you should be free to do it. If you don’t want to pay 13 $...

Y.M.: So, then the Government does have the right of requiring information of corporations, is that right?

M.F.: No, no, the Government has a right to provide courts of law in which corporations that deliberately conceal material that is relevant can be sued for fraud and made to pay very heavy expenses, and this is a desirable part of the market, of course. What I’m trying to say to you, is that these things are really a little more subtle and sophisticated that you are at first led to believe… You can’t get easy answers along this line, because your way of putting it doesn’t really get at the fundamental principles involved. The real fundamental principle is that people individually should be free to decide how much they are willing to pay for reducing the chances of their death. People mostly aren’t willing to pay very much; I personally regard this as very very illogical. I see people smoking everywhere. There’s not doubt, nobody denies that it increases their chance of death. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t be free to smoke, don’t misunderstand me. I’m just saying they’re fools to do it. And I know they’re fools because I quit on the basis of the evidence eighteen years ago. But that’s the real issue and if you want to be right for it you ought to be right in those terms, not on the ground that you don’t think they used the right numbers.

Now look, I don’t think we can keep on going very much. I’m afraid we are going to run out of tape, and I’m afraid I’m going to run out of voice.

 

(From aTV debate between Milton Friedman and a young man, 1980)

 

 

MF (ANTHEM)

 

Milton Friedman on Corporation says
Corporations have no social duty
Except to those who own their stock
The Corporation really has no choice

Milton Friedman on Corporation says
Corporations are amoral
Corporate conscience is impossible
The Corporation really has no choice

So for those who want corporations virtuous
It is not possible that is unless
It makes some cash for the shareholders
The Corporation really has no choice

So if you want your freedom
Let the corporate seize the day
There really is no better way
Let’s privatize choice is the way
Let corporations run our schools
Let the free market make the rules

Choose to privatize I say

From kinder garden to Senior High School
Today the parents have no choice
But in the future they will choose their schools
Competition will make all the rules

So if you want your freedom
It’s a corporate world today
There really is no other way
Let’s privatize I always say
Let corporations run our schools
Let’s use free market as our tool

Privatize I always say

From student to client to customer
Let’s get this school thing straight
Let the market rule us, State should not school us
Now we’re free to choose

We’ll retrain our teachers and purchase our players
For business is business and school is school
And freedom to choose says Friedman
Or you will lose says Friedman

Freedom is Freedom says Friedman

 

(Choir song composed to promote Milton Frieman´s ideas, found on YOUTUBE)