Milton Friedman, 1912-2006

Repost of press release issued by the LP…

“Last of the Great Economists” Dies at Age 94

(Washington, D.C.) Born July 31, 1912, Dr. Milton Friedman, an author and Nobel Laureate, served as a champion of individual liberty and free markets throughout his distinctive life.

Over many decades, Dr. Friedman presented economic insight to real-time events, moving public policy in a libertarian direction while influencing and educating countless others.

William Redpath, Chairman of the Libertarian National Committee stated in reflection, “Milton Friedman was more than just a great economist, whose scholarly work on monetarism helped tame this nation’s inflation and bring about the prosperity of the past quarter century. Until today, he was the greatest living libertarian. The words that adequately convey the loss to libertarianism that his passing brings have yet to be invented.”

Rather than attempt to express condolences that adequately describe Dr. Friedman’s legacy, it may be best to spread a handful of his thoughts, allowing him to, once again, display his brilliance:

“Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.”

“The power to do good is also the power to do harm.”

“The only way that has ever been discovered to have a lot of people cooperate together voluntarily is through the free market. And that’s why it’s so essential to preserving individual freedom.”

“Governments never learn. Only people learn.”

“Nobody spends somebody else’s money as carefully as he spends his own. Nobody uses somebody else’s 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.”

“The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.”

“We have a system that increasingly taxes work and subsidizes nonwork.”

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

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One Response to Milton Friedman, 1912-2006

  • Congressman Ron Paul’s weekly column regarding Milton Friedman and Economics…

    The death of economist Milton Friedman last week at the age of 94 marks a great loss for advocates of freedom everywhere.  He was perhaps the most successful free-market economist of the 20th century, in terms of his real-world impact on politics and policy.  Many modern politicians, including Ronald Reagan, considered him a major influence in their careers.

    Milton Friedman was a strong advocate of economic liberty who opposed government intervention in both the purely economic and broader social spheres of our society.  He believed not only in laissez-faire capitalism, but also the larger cause of individual liberty in the political sense. 

    I was proud to know Dr. Friedman for many decades, and considered him a friend.  I can assure you that he was no ivory tower academic, but rather an engaging and active man who worked very hard to demonstrate the applicability of economics to everyday life. 

    His death only underscores the sad lack of economics knowledge in Washington, however.  Many of our elected officials at every level have no understanding of economics whatsoever, yet they wield tremendous power over our economy through taxes, regulations, and countless other costs associated with government.   They spend your money with little or no thought given to the economic consequences of their actions.  It is indeed a tribute to the American entrepreneurial spirit that we have enjoyed such prosperity over the decades; clearly it is in spite of government policies rather than because of them.

    The truth is that many politicians and voters essentially believe in a free lunch.  They believe in a free lunch because they don’t understand basic economics, and therefore assume government can spend us into prosperity. This is the fallacy that pervades American politics today.  

    Our schools teach children virtually nothing about economics and personal finance, which leaves them woefully unprepared for the working world.  It also creates whole generations of young Americans who are incredibly vulnerable to the worst pandering politicians.

    We cannot suspend the laws of economics or the principles of human action any more than we can suspend the laws of physics.   Yet this is precisely what Congress attempts to do time and time again, no matter how many times history proves them wrong or economists easily demonstrate the harms caused by a certain policy.  The nation would be well-served if Congress spent more time reading the works of Milton Friedman, and less time worrying about petty party spoils.

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