Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Acton Institute's Milton Friedman Quotes

July 31st would have been Milton Friedman's 103rd birthday. Several blogs featured tributes to Friedman, but I really enjoyed the Acton Institute's six quotes by Friedman on economics and freedom.

Friedman was a fantastic communicator of sound economics and the benefits of free markets to the public. His interviews, debates, and televised discussions with other thinkers are still relevant informative decades later.

I've reproduced the 6 quotes below:

The conditions for freedom: “History only suggests that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom. Clearly it is not a sufficient condition.”

On shortages: “We economists don’t know much, but we do know how to create a shortage. If you want to create a shortage of tomatoes, for example, just pass a law that retailers can’t sell tomatoes for more than two cents per pound. Instantly you’ll have a tomato shortage.”

On private property: “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.”

On minimum wage laws: “The high rate of unemployment among teenagers, and especially black teenagers, is both a scandal and a serious source of social unrest. Yet it is largely a result of minimum wage laws. We regard the minimum wage law as one of the most, if not the most, anti-black laws on the statute books.”

On freedom and fairness: “’Fair’ is in the eye of the beholder; free is the verdict of the market. The word ‘free’ is used three times in the Declaration of Independence and once in the First Amendment to the Constitution, along with ‘freedom.’ The word ‘fair’ is not used in either of our founding documents.”

On free markets: “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.”

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