Skip to comments.Milton Friedman's Centenary (Thomas Sowell)
Posted on 07/30/2012 1:05:57 PM PDT by jazusamo
If Milton Friedman were alive today and there was never a time when he was more needed he would be one hundred years old. He was born on July 31, 1912. But Professor Friedman's death at age 94 deprived the nation of one of those rare thinkers who had both genius and common sense.
Most people would not be able to understand the complex economic analysis that won him a Nobel Prize, but people with no knowledge of economics had no trouble understanding his popular books like "Free to Choose" or the TV series of the same name.
In being able to express himself at both the highest level of his profession and also at a level that the average person could readily understand, Milton Friedman was like the economist whose theories and persona were most different from his own John Maynard Keynes.
Like many, if not most, people who became prominent as opponents of the left, Professor Friedman began on the left. Decades later, looking back at a statement of his own from his early years, he said: "The most striking feature of this statement is how thoroughly Keynesian it is."
No one converted Milton Friedman, either in economics or in his views on social policy. His own research, analysis and experience converted him.
As a professor, he did not attempt to convert students to his political views. I made no secret of the fact that I was a Marxist when I was a student in Professor Friedman's course, but he made no effort to change my views. He once said that anybody who was easily converted was not worth converting.
I was still a Marxist after taking Professor Friedman's class. Working as an economist in the government converted me.
(Excerpt) Read more at creators.com ...
As of 2012, Sowell is in a class all by himself. Sure, there are others, but none with his consistency, or his unfailing track record.
There are still some die-hard Keynesians today who keep insisting that the government's "stimulus" spending would have worked, if only it was bigger and lasted longer.
This is one of those heads-I-win-and-tails-you-lose arguments. Even if the government spends itself into bankruptcy and the economy still does not recover, Keynesians can always say that it would have worked if only the government had spent more.
Professor Friedman would be proud of his former student.
I enjoyed this PBS (yes, THAT PBS) series when I was about 25 years old.
Friedman was like the kindly uncle who never tired of explaining things to you.
I don't know anything about the 1990 remake, but the original was wonderful.
Thanks for linking!
Dr. Sowell nevers ceases to amaze me. The depth and breadth of his intellect as well as the clarity of his expression is a very rare thing. Others who equal or come close would include Charles Krauthammer, Theodore Dalrymple (Anthony Daniels), the late Malcolm Muggeridge, H.L. Mencken (for the clarity of his prose)and Dwight Macdonald (yeah, a leftist) and of course William Shakespeare and Samuel Johnson, all of whom put me in mind of Lear saying that we must think on the mystery of things. But with Dr. Sowell, the mystifying becomes crystal clear. He is a treasure for all mankind. Hyperbole? No, hell no! Just the plain truth. I wish him a long and productive life.
It boggle my mind when folks I know gave and still give that Keynesian line. I have to ask them:
"Do you people hear yourself? 'We coulda gotten outa debt if we'd only spent more money.' Is that what you say when owe money to a friend or a bank or a credit card company? 'I'm in debt. So I need to spend more?' That's nuts!"
Dr. Friedman’s “Free to Choose” was an eye-opening experience for me as it was my first exposure to clearly-stated economic concepts that many economists try to wrap into a mystery.
As to Dr. Sowell’s confirmed-Marxist academic youth, I guess that is my first time to read of that. I’m surprised such shallowness could survive a semester of economic rigor with Dr. Friedman but I respect that Sowell came to his current philosophy in the same way as Friedman. We are all enriched by being able to read both men’s books.
I think of Friedman every week and wonder what he would say to us today. It’s wonderful to go back and listen to his various debates on youtube- they always sharpen my thinking.
Thanks GOD we have Sowell with his ever clarifying thoughts and ideas. I didn’t know he’d been a student of Friedman’s.
Thanks for the ping jaz.
What a great man. (Dr. Sowell, too)
Thank you for the post and ping. Here’s hoping some conservative president gives this man a cabinet position. He could take our country a long way down the road to recovery.
Sowell went to school when academic rigor was still expected. He also had a family that permitted no excuses for failure.
The results were, obviously, very good.
That is an old con man's trick. For instance, if you believe in levitation hard enough, you will levitate.
If you don't levitate it is because you are not believing hard enough.