Friday Filosophy v.10.14.2022
Milton Friedman; (July 31, 1912 – November 16, 2006) was an American economist and statistician who received the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his research on consumption analysis, monetary history and theory and the complexity of stabilization policy. With George Stigler and others, Friedman was among the intellectual leaders of the Chicago school of economics, a neoclassical school of economic thought associated with the work of the faculty at the University of Chicago that rejected Keynesianism in favor of monetarism until the mid-1970s, when it turned to new classical macroeconomics heavily based on the concept of rational expectations. Several students, young professors and academics who were recruited or mentored by Friedman at Chicago went on to become leading economists, including Gary Becker, Robert Fogel, Thomas Sowell and Robert Lucas Jr.
Friedman’s challenges to what he later called “naive Keynesian theory” began with his interpretation of consumption, which tracks how consumers spend. He introduced a theory which would later become part of the mainstream and among the first to propagate the theory of consumption smoothing. During the 1960s, he became the main advocate opposing Keynesian government policies, and described his approach (along with mainstream economics) as using “Keynesian language and apparatus” yet rejecting its initial conclusions. He theorized that there existed a natural rate of unemployment and argued that unemployment below this rate would cause inflation to accelerate. He argued that the Phillips curve was in the long run vertical at the “natural rate” and predicted what would come to be known as stagflation. Friedman promoted a macroeconomic viewpoint known as Monetarism and argued that a steady, small expansion of the money supply was the preferred policy, as compared to rapid, and unexpected changes.
His ideas concerning monetary policy, taxation, privatization and deregulation influenced government policies, especially during the 1980s. His monetary theory influenced the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy in response to the global financial crisis of 2007–2008.
After retiring from the University of Chicago in 1977, and becoming Emeritus professor in economics in 1983, Friedman was an advisor to Republican President Ronald Reagan and Conservative British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. His political philosophy extolled the virtues of a free market economic system with minimal government intervention in social matters. He once stated that his role in eliminating conscription in the United States was his proudest achievement. In his 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom, Friedman advocated policies such as a volunteer military, freely floating exchange rates, abolition of medical licenses, a negative income tax, and school vouchers and opposition to the war on drugs and support for drug liberalization policies. His support for school choice led him to found the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, later renamed EdChoice.
Friedman’s works cover a broad range of economic topics and public policy issues. His books and essays have had global influence, including in former communist states. A 2011 survey of economists commissioned by the EJW ranked Friedman as the second-most popular economist of the 20th century, following only John Maynard Keynes. Upon his death, The Economist described him as “the most influential economist of the second half of the 20th century … possibly of all of it”.
- If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.
- Inflation is the one form of taxation that can be imposed without legislation.
- When government – in pursuit of good intentions – tries to rearrange the economy, legislate morality, or help special interests, the cost come in inefficiency, lack of motivation, and loss of freedom. Government should be a referee, not an active player.
- I think that the Internet is going to be one of the major forces for reducing the role of government. The one thing that’s missing, but that will soon be developed, is a reliable e-cash – a method whereby on the Internet you can transfer funds from A to B without A knowing B or B knowing A.
- The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties’ benefit.
- Government has three primary functions. It should provide for military defense of the nation. It should enforce contracts between individuals. It should protect citizens from crimes against themselves or their property.
- The greatest advances of civilization, whether in architecture or painting, in science and literature, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government.
- 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.
- Indeed, a major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that it… gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.
- Universities exist to transmit knowledge and understanding of ideas and values to students not to provide entertainment for spectators or employment for athletes.
- And what does reward virtue? You think the communist commissar rewards virtue? You think a Hitler rewards virtue? You think, excuse me, if you’ll pardon me, American presidents reward virtue? Do they choose their appointees on the basis of the virtue of the people appointed or on the basis of their political clout?
The Time is Now.