Milton Friedman (1912 – 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 and young professors 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.
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o Here is a selection of his most widely quoted perspectives:
o Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.
o If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.
o The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem, if not worse.
o There’s no such thing as a free lunch.
o Inflation is taxation without legislation.
o Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.
o 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.
o When government – in pursuit of good intentions – tries to rearrange the economy, legislate morality, or help special interests, the costs come in inefficiency, lack of motivation, and loss of freedom. Government should be a referee, not an active player.
o 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.
o I am favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it’s possible.
o Inflation is the one form of taxation that can be imposed without legislation.
o The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit.
o Most economic fallacies derive from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.
o The world runs on individuals pursuing their self interests. The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way.
o Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government.
o We have a system that increasingly taxes work and subsidizes nonwork.
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