Home > Market > Celebrating Milton Friedman’s birthday with 5 great quotes

Celebrating Milton Friedman’s birthday with 5 great quotes

July 31, 2013

mfcafToday would be the 101st birthday for economist Milton Friedman. Friedman is considered an important economist for those of us that don’t treat Keynesian Economic Theories as fact. That doesn’t mean we agree with all of Friedman’s theories either. But, that is an important lesson to be learned from Friedman: using economic theories as an excuse for politicians to intervene in the economy will never provide the fertile conditions needed for true innovation or economic expansion. To celebrate this event I thought it would be worthwhile to share five great Milton Friedman quotes:

  1. “Keynes was a great economist. In every discipline, progress comes from people who make hypotheses, most of which turn out to be wrong, but all of which ultimately point to the right answer. Now Keynes, in The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money,set forth a hypothesis which was a beautiful one, and it really altered the shape of economics. But it turned out that it was a wrong hypothesis. That doesn’t mean that he wasn’t a great man!”
  2. “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.”
  3. “Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government.”
  4. “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.”
  5. “Every friend of freedom must be as revolted as I am by the prospect of turning the United States into an armed camp, by the vision of jails filled with casual drug users and of an army of enforcers empowered to invade the liberty of citizens on slight evidence.”

It is also worth watching this two-minute video from Milton Friedman being interviewed by Phil Donahue in 1979. In this clip Friedman takes on the topic of “greed”. This clip also includes quote number 4 from above.

* h/t to Andrew Coulson at CATO for bringing attention to this great clip.

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  1. Mike Q
    August 1, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Mr. Friedman was an honest to god genius, but I always loved the snarky comments from his contemporaries. A small sample:

    “Everything reminds Milton of the money supply. Well, everything reminds me of sex, but I keep it out of the paper.”- Robert Solow(Nobel and John Bates Clark winner).

    • Ken Santema
      August 1, 2013 at 9:26 pm

      Haha, that’s great! I wish we had another economist around like him today.

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