Milton Friedman Quotes & Wallpapers

Milton Friedman
Total Quotes: 418

Freedom is a rare and delicate plant. Our minds tell us, and history confirms, that the great threat to freedom is the concentration of power. Milton Friedman

A society based on the freedom to choose is better than a society based on the principles of socialism, communism and coercion. Milton Friedman

History suggests only that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom. Clearly it is not a sufficient condition. Milton Friedman

Government power must be dispersed. If government is to exercise power, better in the county than in the state, better in the state than in Washington. If I do not like what my local community does, be it in sewage disposal, or zoning, or schools, I can move to another local community, and though few may take this step, the mere possibility acts as a check. If I do not like what Washington imposes, I have few alternatives in this world of jealous nations. Milton Friedman

Every businessman is in favor of freedom for everybody else, but when it comes to himself that's a different question. He's always the special case. He ought to get special privileges from the government, a tariff, this, that and the other thing. Milton Friedman

I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or it they try, they will shortly be out of office. Milton Friedman

The combination of economic and political power in the same hands is a sure recipe for tyranny. Milton Friedman

That's an interesting paradox to think about. Make it legal and it's no good. Why? Because as long as it's illegal the people who come in do not qualify for welfare, they don't qualify for social security, they don't qualify for the other myriad of benefits that we pour out from our left pocket to our right pocket. So long as they don't qualify they migrate to jobs. They take jobs that most residents of this country are unwilling to take. They provide employers with the kind of workers that they cannot get. They're hard workers, they're good workers, and they are clearly better off. Milton Friedman

I am a limited-government libertarian. Milton Friedman

Everywhere, and at all times, economic progress has meant far more to the poor than to the rich. Milton Friedman

The case against a fully independent central bank is strong indeed. Milton Friedman

The Depression, which started in 1929 was rather mild from 1929 to 1930. And, indeed, in my opinion would have been over in 1931 at the latest had it not been that the Federal Reserve followed a policy which led to bank failures, widespread bank failures, and led to a reduction in the quantity of money. Milton Friedman

We measure poverty by what I believe is a very, very crude concept. We actually measure poverty by trying to get some kind of an estimate of the minimum expenditures on food that are required to maintain health, multiplying that number by three, and saying that's the level of poverty. And it's a very crude, inaccurate arrangement. Milton Friedman

Freedom means diversity but also mobility. It preserves the opportunity for today's disadvantaged to become tomorrow's privileged and, in the process, enables almost everyone, from top to bottom, to enjoy a fuller and richer life. Milton Friedman

A society that aims for equality before liberty will end up with neither equality nor liberty. And a society that aims first for liberty will not end up with equality, but it will end up with a closer approach to equality than any other kind of system that has ever been developed. Milton Friedman

Even the most ardent environmentalist doesn't really want to stop pollution. If he thinks about it, and doesn't just talk about it, he wants to have the right amount of pollution. We can't really afford to eliminate it-not without abandoning all the benefits of technology that we not only enjoy but on which we depend. Milton Friedman

The Internet moves us closer to "perfect information" on markets. Individuals and companies alike can buy and sell across borders and jurisdictions wherever they find the best match of supply and demand. Milton Friedman

Reality ensures that the end of history will never come. Milton Friedman

Education spending will be most effective if it relies on parental choice & private initiative - the building blocks of success throughout our society. Milton Friedman

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. Milton Friedman

The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit. Milton Friedman

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

Only a crisis - actual or perceived - produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable. Milton Friedman

We do not influence the course of events by persuading people that we are right when we make what they regard as radical proposals. Rather, we exert influence by keeping options available when something has to be done at a time of crisis. Milton Friedman

Legalizing drugs would simultaneously reduce the amount of crime and raise the quality of law enforcement. Can you conceive of any other measure that would accomplish so much to promote law and order? Milton Friedman

...theories should be judged by their ability to predict events rather than by the realism of their assumptions. Milton Friedman

You could not possibly maintain the current level of government taxation without the taxes being hidden, and they are hidden in two very different ways. They are hidden through withholding, but they are also hidden by being imposed on business, supposedly on business, when really, of course, business can't pay taxes, only people can pay taxes. Milton Friedman

So long as large sums of money are involved - and they are bound to be if drugs are illegal - it is literally impossible to stop the traffic, or even to make a serious reduction in its scope. Milton Friedman

Political freedom means the absence of coercion of a man by his fellow men. Milton Friedman

I am a libertarian with a small 'l' and a Republican with a capital 'R'. And I am a Republican with a capital 'R' on grounds of expediency, not on principle. Milton Friedman

The government doesn't have any money. The only power it has is to take from some and give to others. Milton Friedman

The excuse for the destruction of liberty is always the plea of necessary ' that there is no alternative Milton Friedman

Prohibition is an attempted cure that makes matters worse - for both the addict and the rest of us. Milton Friedman

If the government is to try and ban private consumption of alcohol and tobacco, it must surely ban such activities as hang-gliding, skiing, rock-climbing and so on. Where should it stop? Rugby? American Football? Ice Hockey? Insofar as the government has information not generally available about the merits or demerits of the items we ingest or the activities we engage in, let it give us the information. But let it leave us free to choose what chances we want to take with our own lives. Milton Friedman

What most people really object to when they object to a free market is that it is so hard for them to shape it to their own will. The market gives people what the people want instead of what other people think they ought to want. At the bottom of many criticisms of the market economy is really lack of belief in freedom itself. Milton Friedman

It is taken for granted that workers should receive their pay partly in kind, in the form of medical care provided by the employer. How come? Why single out medical care? Surely food is no less essential to life than medical care. Why is it not at least as logical for workers to be required to buy their food at the company store as to be required to buy their medical care at the company store? Milton Friedman

Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon in the sense that it is and can be produced only by a more rapid increase in the quantity of money than in output. Milton Friedman

I'm not in favor of no government. You do need a government. But by doing so many things that the government has no business doing, it cannot do those things which it alone can do well. There's no other institution in my opinion that can provide us with protection of our life and liberty. However, the government performs that basic function poorly today, precisely because it is devoting too much of its efforts and spending too much of our income on things which are harmful. So I have no doubt that that's the major single problem we face. Milton Friedman

There is one and only one responsibility of business: to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game. Milton Friedman

Making prohibition work is like making water run uphill; it's against nature. Milton Friedman

You will find that hardly a soul who will say that it was a bad thing. Almost everybody will say it was a good thing. 'But what about today? Do you think we should have free immigration?' 'Oh, no,' they'll say, 'We couldn't possibly have free immigration today. Why, that would flood us with immigrants from India, and God knows where. We'd be driven down to a bare subsistence level.' Milton Friedman

Because it is one thing to have free immigration to jobs. It is another thing to have free immigration to welfare. And you cannot have both. If you have a welfare state, if you have a state in which every resident is promises a certain minimal level of income, or a minimum level of subsistence, regardless of whether he works or not, produces it or not. Then it really is an impossible thing. Milton Friedman

So the question is, do corporate executives, provided they stay within the law, have responsibilities in their business activities other than to make as much money for their stockholders as possible? And my answer to that is, no they do not. Milton Friedman

What is not forbidden in Sweden, is obligatory. Milton Friedman

The benefits of a tariff are visible. Union workers can see they are "protected". The harm which a tariff does is invisible. It's spread widely. There are people that don't have jobs because of tariffs but they don't know it. Milton Friedman

A real gold standard is thoroughly consistent with [classical] liberal principles and I, for one, am entirely in favor of measures promoting its development. Milton Friedman

The present oil crisis has not been produced by the oil companies. It is a result of government mismanagement exacerbated by the Mideast war. Milton Friedman

Statistics do not speak for themselves. Milton Friedman

Anything that government can do, private enterprise can do for half the cost. Milton Friedman

The Fed was largely responsible for converting what might have been a garden-variety recession, although perhaps a fairly severe one, into a major catastrophe. Instead of using its powers to offset the depression, it presided over a decline in the quantity of money by one-third from 1929 to 1933 ... Far from the depression being a failure of the free-enterprise system, it was a tragic failure of government. Milton Friedman

How do you hold down government spending? Milton Friedman

A free society releases the energies and abilities of people to pursue their own objectives. It prevents some people from arbitrarily suppressing others. It does not prevent some people from achieving positions of privilege, but so long as freedom is maintained, it prevents those positions of privilege from becoming institutionalized; they are subject to continued attack by other able, ambitious people. Milton Friedman

Politicians will always spend every penny of tax raised and whatever else they can get away with. Milton Friedman

The only corporate social responsibility a company has is to maximize its profits. Milton Friedman

A society that puts equality-in the sense of equality of outcome-ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom. Milton Friedman

What central banks can control is a base and one way they can control the base is via manipulating a particular interest rate, such as a Federal Funds rate, the overnight rate at which banks lend to one another. But they use that control to control what happens to the quantity of money. There is no disagreement. Milton Friedman

There have been unions based on gold or silver, but not on fiat money - money tempted to inflate - put out by politically independent entities. Milton Friedman

It is most attractive about the US to people and countries with wealth is that it can provide security, insurance really, against political instability. Nobody is afraid that the money they place in the US is at risk of expropriation or of in some other way being taken away. For this safety, the wealth holders of the world are willing to accept a lower rate of return. Milton Friedman

The argument for the free market is a complicated and sophisticated one and depends on demonstration of secondary effects. I have confidence market efficiency will win out. Milton Friedman

In the US, the problem is primary and secondary education. We've had such an increase in inequality because a quarter of American kids don't finish high school! Milton Friedman

I think that nothing is so important for freedom as recognizing in the law each individual's natural right to property, and giving individuals a sense that they own something that they"re responsible for, that they have control over, and that they can dispose of. Milton Friedman

In the 1960s, The National Education Association changed its character. The NEA changed into a union. And from that point on you can see deterioration in the quality of schooling in the United States. Milton Friedman

Richard Nixon was a very intelligent and able man. And he had the right ideas. But he did not have the adherence to principles that [Ronald] Reagan had. He did some very good things. We owe to Richard Nixon the volunteer army - he got rid of the draft. And that was a major increase in freedom. Milton Friedman

See, if you look at the drug war from a purely economic point of view, the role of the government is to protect the drug cartel. That's literally true. Milton Friedman

One role of prohibition is in making the drug market more lucrative. Milton Friedman

Inflation is taxation without legislation. Milton Friedman

The only relevant test of the validity of a hypothesis is comparison of prediction with experience. Milton Friedman

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. Milton Friedman

Whenever we depart from voluntary cooperation and try to do good by using force, the bad moral value of force triumphs over good intentions. Milton Friedman

The essential notion of a capitalist society ... is voluntary cooperation, voluntary exchange. The essential notion of a socialist society is force. Milton Friedman

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