The Wit and Wisdom of Milton Friedman: Part 1

Milton Friedman (1912-2006) was an American economist 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.

These are among my favorite Friedman observations:

o If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.

o There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

o The greatest advances of civilization, whether in architecture or painting, in science or literature, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government.

o 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.

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

o The record of history is absolutely crystal clear:  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 The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit.

o Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.

o The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as — if not much worse than — the problem.

o Only government can take perfectly good paper, cover it with perfectly good ink and make the combination worthless.

o Most of the energy of political work is devoted to correcting the effects of mismanagement of government.

o Hell hath no fury like a bureaucrat scorned.

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To learn more about Milton Friedman and his work, please click here.

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