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Boudreaux: Milton Friedman, a centennial appreciation
| July 30, 2012
| Donald J. Boudreaux
Posted on 07/31/2012 4:01:25 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
At the height of the Vietnam War, U.S. commander Gen. William Westmoreland testified before the President's Commission on an All-Volunteer Force. The 15 members of that commission were charged with exploring the feasibility of ending the military draft.
Staunchly opposed to an all-volunteer military, which must pay its soldiers market wages, Gen. Westmoreland proclaimed that he did not want to command "an army of mercenaries." One of the commission members immediately shot back with a question: "General, would you rather command an army of slaves?" That penetrating query was posed by Milton Friedman, a diminutive (he stood only 5 feet 3 inches tall) giant among 20th-century scholars. Were he still alive - he died in 2006 - Friedman would celebrate his 100th birthday on July 31.
Bald and bespectacled, Friedman looked every part the University of Chicago economics professor that he was. During his long tenure at that celebrated institution, he produced a stream of cutting-edge research on consumer behavior, on the role of money, and on the history of U.S. and British monetary policy. The impressive quantity, quality, and importance of this research without doubt places Friedman among the top two or three economists of the past century.
(Excerpt) Read more at newsday.com ...
TOPICS: Announcements; Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Philosophy
posted on 07/31/2012 4:01:29 AM PDT
If I had a wish to be granted it would be that leftists be required to read and listen to Friedman. The clean air of freedom’s gifts might startle some of them into waking up.
posted on 07/31/2012 4:55:54 AM PDT
by SE Mom
(Proud mom of an Iraq war combat vet)
A few of my favorite Milton Friedman quotes:
- A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both. Milton Friedman
- One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results Milton Friedman
- Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself Milton Friedman
- Theres no such thing as a free lunch Milton Friedman
- The Great Depression, like most other periods of severe unemployment, was produced by government mismanagement rather than by any inherent instability of the private economy Milton Friedman
- Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government. Milton Friedman
- Even the most ardent environmentalist doesnt really want to stop pollution. If he thinks about it, and doesnt just talk about it, he wants to have the right amount of pollution. We cant really afford to eliminate it - not without abandoning all the benefits of technology that we not only enjoy but on which we depend. Milton Friedman
- With some notable exceptions, businessmen favor free enterprise in general but are opposed to it when it comes to themselves Milton Friedman
- I say thank God for government waste. If government is doing bad things, its only the waste that prevents the harm from being greater. Milton Friedman
- Euro-land will collapse in five to 15 years Milton Friedman (prediction made in 2002)
- Theres been one underlying basic fallacy in this whole set of social security and welfare measures, and that is the fallacy - this is at the bottom of it the fallacy that it is feasible and possible to do good with other peoples money. That view has two flaws. If I want to do good with other peoples money, I first have to take it away from them. That means that the welfare state philosophy of doing good with other peoples money, at its very bottom, is a philosophy of violence and coercion. Its against freedom, because I have to use force to get the money. In the second place, very few people spend other peoples money as carefully as they spend their own. Milton Friedman
- Nations are not ruined by one act of violence, but gradually and in an almost imperceptible manner, by the depreciating of their circulating currency, through excessive quantity. Milton Friedman
- In the long run, government will spend whatever the tax system will raise, plus as much more as it can get away with. Milton Friedman
- I am in favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever its possible. Milton Friedman
- There is nothing as permanent as a temporary government program. Milton Friedman
- The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit. Milton Friedman
- When everybody owns something, nobody owns it, and nobody has a direct interest in maintaining or improving its condition. That is why buildings in the Soviet Union like public housing in the United States look decrepit within a year or two of their construction. Milton Friedman
- There is all the difference in the world, however, between two kinds of assistance through government that seem superficially similar: first, 90 percent of us agreeing to impose taxes on ourselves in order to help the bottom 10 percent, and second, 80 percent voting to impose taxes on the top 10 percent to help the bottom 10 percent -- William Graham Sumners famous example of B and C decided what D shall do for A. The first may be wise or unwise, an effective or ineffective way to help the disadvantaged -- but it is consistent with belief in both equality of opportunity and liberty. The second seeks equality of outcome and is entirely antithetical to liberty. Milton Friedman
- When the United States was formed in 1776, it took 19 people on the farm to produce enough food for 20 people. So most of the people had to spend their time and efforts on growing food. Today, its down to 1% or 2% to produce that food. Now just consider the vast amount of supposed unemployment that was produced by that. But there wasnt really any unemployment produced. What happened was that people who had formerly been tied up working in agriculture were freed by technological developments and improvements to do something else. That enabled us to have a better standard of living and a more extensive range of products. Milton Friedman
- Nobody spends somebody elses money as carefully as he spends his own. Nobody uses somebody elses resources as carefully as he uses his own. So if you want efficiency and effectiveness, if you want knowledge to be properly utilized, you have to do it through the means of private property. Milton Friedman
- Inflation is taxation without legislation. Milton Friedman
- The great danger to the consumer is the monopoly -- whether private or governmental. His most effective protection is free competition at home and free trade throughout the world. The consumer is protected from being exploited by one seller by the existence of another seller from whom he can buy and who is eager to sell to him. Alternative sources of supply protect the consumer far more effectively than all the Ralph Naders of the world. Milton Friedman
- (T)he supporters of tariffs treat it as self-evident that the creation of jobs is a desirable end, in and of itself, regardless of what the persons employed do. That is clearly wrong. If all we want are jobs, we can create any number -- for example, have people dig holes and then fill them up again, or perform other useless tasks. Work is sometimes its own reward. Mostly, however, it is the price we pay to get the things we want. Our real objective is not just jobs but productive jobs -- jobs that will mean more goods and services to consume. Milton Friedman
- If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years thered be a shortage of sand. Milton Friedman
- Poor teachers are grossly overpaid and good teachers grossly underpaid. Milton Friedman
- Question: If you were advising the Federal Reserve, what would you say are the unsolved economic problems of the day?
Milton Friedman: The one unsolved economic problem of the day is how to get rid of the Federal Reserve. January 1996 interview on NPR
posted on 07/31/2012 5:39:30 AM PDT
(Liberalism - Ideas so good that you have to be forced to accept them)
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