Archive for the 'Milton Friedman Memorial Page' Category

Happy Birthday Milton: Video Link Fixed

It is Milton Friedman’s birthday! For all kinds of coverage, go to my Milton Friedman Memorial page. Scroll to the bottom and there is a huge collection of thoughts on his passing. Here is one of my favorite bits:

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Tragic News for Leftists

Due to free markets, capitalism and freedom in general, the world is getting wealthier.

The last quarter century has witnessed remarkable progress of mankind. The world’s per capita inflation-adjusted income rose from $5400 in 1980 to $8500 in 2005.Schooling and life expectancy grew rapidly, while infant mortality and poverty fell just asfast. Compared to 1980, many more countries in the world are democratic today.

The last quarter century also saw wide acceptance of free market policies in both rich and poor countries: from private ownership, to free trade, to responsible budgets, to lower taxes. Three important events mark the beginning of this period. In 1979, Deng Xiao Ping started market reforms in China, which over the quarter century lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. In the same year, Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister in Britain, and initiated her radical reforms and a long period of growth. A year later, Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States, and also embraced free market policies. All three of these leaders professed inspiration from the work of Milton Friedman. It is natural, then, to refer to the last quarter century as the Age of Milton Friedman.

Oh!  The agony of it all!

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Milton Friedman vs. Naomi Klein

Happy New Year! To start off the year right, let’s have a look at a mock-up of a debate between Naomi Klein, reporter-activist extraordinaire, and Milton Friedman, king of economic liberty (via Instapundit).

This video was put together by Devil’s Advocate at Copious Dissent, where you can find the others in this series.

This is the fifth, and possibly final, compilation of videos that I titled, “Naomi Klein: Shockingly Ignorant.”

Since she loves to distort what Milton Friedman stood for, I thought I would let Milton debate her in his own words. He makes her look like a fool.

Good stuff, and highly recommended.

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New Friedman Interview

A fantastic interview with Milton Friedman recorded in 2005, but just released, with Richard Fisher of the Dallas Federal Reserve can be found here, along with a wealth of other Friedman material, including a series of discussions of Friedman by:

Here are a few clips from the full interview:

Milton Friedman Interview: A Productive Global Economy


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The Ultimate Resource Returns

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Starting this Friday, November 2nd, Free to Choose Media is continuing the work of its inspiration, Milton Friedman, of bringing the benefits of freedom to the people of this world, including its most remote corners. A new documentary, “The Ultimate Resource” which aired last Spring on HDNet is now coming to a wider audience through PBS.

I previewed the DVD and it is an extraordinary piece of work. The stories are inspiring, and an antidote to much of the pessimism inspired by the lack of effectiveness of traditional foreign aid programs, bypassing corrupt governments and putting tools in the hands of the people who need it.

You can check to see if your local station will be carrying it (and feel free to contact them and encourage them to do so if they are not) and then check your local listings for the time and date in your market.

If you have your own blog or know bloggers who might be interested in this, let them know. Send them a link to me, or directly to the Free to Choose Media website.

In short, they travel to China, Bangladesh, Estonia, Ghana, and Peru and show examples of how people (thank you Julian Simon) – when given the incentives and the tools – are proving they can apply their free choice, intelligence, imagination and spirit to dramatically advance their well-being and that of their families and communities. The program features 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, Hernando de Soto, James Tooley and Johan Norberg.

Here is the introduction to the program.

They have also provided us with the entire segment on Ghana which discusses education, specifically school choice.

You can view more excerpts and other information here. Teachers can get the video (and lots of other resources) for free at


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More evidence that Naomi Klein is a nit wit-Update- Links fixed!

Alan Greenspan allowed her to prove it of course, but she also is pretty much making things up in this attempt to slander Milton Friedman.

I say pretty much because she is showing little to no originality as this lie, and there is no other thing to call it, has been spread for many years. I wish his estate would sue her. It wouldn’t stop the lie, it has survived for almost thirty years, but it would make me happy.

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Lessons From Delaware

It’s been said before, and I’ll reiterate it now, that if you want to reduce the amount of influence that money and special interests have over the federal government, then you need to reduce the amount of power that Washington wields. Without the power, the politicians have nothing to sell.

In that vein, Jon Henke takes a look at how politicians dole out tax breaks as a means of garnering the favor (or repaying past favors) of special interests.

I favor tax cuts, but – unlike Milton Friedman – I don’t favor “any tax cut, under any circumstances, in any way, in any form, whatsoever“. There are a variety of reasons why I don’t, among them the fact that many tax breaks are subject to the problems outlined by Public Choice Theory – i.e., they incentivize corruption, bribery and the misallocation (deadweight loss) of resources, as politicians seek their own benefit and private interests expend resources to help them do so.

As far as it goes, this is right on. Although I think what Friedman was commenting upon was purely as a matter of tax policy, Jon is correct that targeted tax breaks, just like targeted tax impositions, have distorting effects on the market. Law makers are undeniably aware of such effects as evidenced, for example, by laws creating “sin taxes” (designed to curb an undesired behavior), and enviro tax credits (designed to encourage desired behavior). But, just as Jon notes, “targeted” means that politicians are in charge of deciding who gets what. When a reduction of tax liability is on the table, there is the demonstrable danger that only certain politically favored groups will benefit while others are forced to shoulder more of the burden.

Where Jon misses slightly, IMHO, is in concentrating too much on the “breaks” part of the equation and not enough on the “tax” side of it. Take a look at an example he provides regarding tax breaks:

Generous tax breaks given to companies that threaten to take their business elsewhere are coming under increasing scrutiny from state and local officials who say taxpayers aren’t getting their money’s worth.

Critics say the tax breaks and other financial incentives have gotten out of hand, costing taxpayers billions of dollars and doing little for the economy. [...] Academics say there is little evidence to show that tax breaks have a lasting effect on a local economy.

Is this necessarily a market-distorting tax break? It’s hard to say for sure, but if the breaks are targeted to just a few companies, while others are still burdened with the tax, then it probably is. However, is it really the “break” that’s doing the distorting, or the tax?

Take another example, from the turn of last century:

At the turn of the 20th century, most American companies were incorporated in the state of New Jersey. Today, of course, public companies are typically chartered in Delaware.

How did New Jersey lose the valuable corporate charter business to its southern neighbor? As New Jersey’s governor, Woodrow Wilson led a crusade to “trust bust” big businesses through the state’s unique position as the incorporation state of choice. Predictably, however, businesses chafed at the new restrictions and moved to DelawarePhoto by Tim Kiser, which had incorporation laws identical to New Jersey’s old regime. Today, Delaware’s low taxes are due in part to Wilson’s folly; the state earns over 40 percent of its general revenues from incorporation fees.

In more recent times, during the governorship of Pete du Pont, a change in banking policy resulted in Delaware adding another jewel to its crown as a business capital for the world:

Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of the time was the result of du Pont’s response to the desire of a couple of New York banks to relocate their credit card business to a more convivial business location. Immediately recognizing the opportunity to broaden the economic base of the state, du Pont used his considerable powers of persuasion to make the deal. With the cooperation of the leadership of both parties and many others in state and local government, and working against a deadline, the Financial Center Development Act was passed, effective June 1, 1981. Intended to attract 2 banks that would hire at least 1,000 employees, it actually brought over 30 banks to the state and created some 43,000 new finance related jobs.

Although these business-friendly Delaware policies were not about tax breaks per se, they had generally the same effect as taxes. If those policies had been targeted to favor just a certain few favored interests, they would not have had anywhere near the same positive results. Even with the example involving the Financial Center Development Act, which was initially meant to attract just two institutions to the State, the general application of the policy turned Delaware into the credit card capital of the world.

None of this is meant to take away from Jon’s point that tax breaks are as liable to being used to reward political allies as tax levies are to punished disfavored ones (which, of course, are also a sop to favored interests). But I think a distinction is needed between creating general tax incentives that attract business and/or citizens, and targeted tax policies that are merely intended as vote-buying behavior. In fact, Jon writes that:

The problem here is not tax cuts in general, which would surely have a positive effect on local economies, but tax cuts given to specific, well-funded interests. Such tax cuts create a distortive effect on economic incentives.

In other words, the problem is that governments have the plenary power to tax at all, and more importantly that they can specifically tax anyone or anything. If governments were constrained to either levying or repealing taxes that apply to all persons/industries equally, then there would be no favors to dole out. Instead, a tax break for one “well-funded” interest would be a break for all similar businesses. In the example that Jon highlighted regarding businesses threatening to leave because of the costs of operating in a certain location, the history of Delaware shows how the government’s answer to such threats can be beneficial for all, without the need to single out any particular interest.

Of course, some will say that these example merely illuminate why governments should not be allowed to tax in the first place. I disagree primarily because I’m not very convinced that a place run entirely on private contract would have as much wealth-producing potential as a place with a minimal amount of public services. Those public services need to be paid for through taxes, so the government having such power is a necessary evil in my opinion.

But that does not mean that such power can’t be limited in order to avoid exactly the sorts of abuses that Jon describes. It just seems to me that the way to accomplish that is by making the power to tax a much blunter instrument. When entire industries are affected instead of merely a few favored or disfavored constituents, competition between tax jurisdictions will decide which policies are best. Just ask Delaware.

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“The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer”

Uh, no.

For those who haven’t taken the time to watch these videos, or missed this television series, I give you the most important graph that few people care about as shorthand for your enlightenment. Especially those who claim they are concerned about the poor while doing everything in their power to undermine the growth of trade and markets (and supporting the governments doing the same) which is making this possible. I also might call this “In Defense of Globalization.” From The Economist:

Hundreds of millions of people have seen a massive improvement in their lives. This, of course, doesn’t come close to telling the entire story of the dramatic improvement of living standards around the world, but it is the most morally compelling, or it should be. For those who argue this process is not good for us, I disagree, but that is the wrong way to look at it anyway, especially given the supposed concern for the poor many such advocates express. Alex Tabarrok:

I would argue, however, that economists are too quick to take the nation as the relevant moral community. It is quite possible, for example, for Peter to benefit from trade but for Peter’s city to be harmed, for Peter’s state to benefit but for his region to be harmed, for his country to benefit but for his continent to be harmed. Why should we cut the cake in one way, excluding some from the moral community, but not in another? Indeed, geography is not the only way we can define the moral community. Why not ask whether English speakers benefit from free trade or Christians or left handed people? Each of these is just as valid as asking whether the collection of people called the nation benefit from free trade.

I understand individual rights and I understand counting everyone equally but I see less value in counting some in and some out based on arbitrary characteristics like which side of the border the actors fall on.

Of course I made a similar argument in regards to foreign policy, which Alex might have more of a problem with.

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Roundup on Anbar, Iraq and Michael Yon’s Desires of the Human Heart Part II- Lots of stuff

Michael Yon’s second installment in Desires of the Human Heart is up. Here is where to find part one.

Key points:

There were many family members around, and though the men were happy to see us, they seemed skeptical that we are going to stay, voicing concerns that our soldiers have come there before, but not stuck around. As soon as the Americans leave, the terrorists move back in, which leaves the locals in the middle of what amounts to a gang war, and we are one of the gangs.

LTC Crider, the battalion commander of 1-4, assured the people that the Americans are there to stay until the Iraqis can take over, but I sense that Iraqis are more worldly than we might imagine. Many Iraqis seem to understand that the real decision-makers are Americans at home. Maybe with the 1-4 moving in, some would know they can move back.

Despite so much bad news, much of which I deliver, it’s heartening that most of the Iraqis are not fearful of Americans. What many Iraqis REALLY want—and they say it clearly—is to communicate directly with Americans at home.

Now that the Times has blessed the sea change in Anbar we see plenty of commentary on it. The dam has broken. Rich Lowry makes several key points that resonate with some of what I have been writing about what has worked, counterinsurgency, and cautionary statements:

1) It’s incredible how swiftly the change happened. It wasn’t long ago that Anbar was said to have been lost to al Qaeda (”Situation Called Dire in West Iraq; Anbar is Lost Politically, Marine Analyst Says,” Washington Post, September 11, 2006). Now all the sudden it’s different:

The new calm is eerie and unsettling, particularly for anyone who knew the city even several months ago.

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“The Ultimate Resource” Debut’s Tonight

For more on this television event at 10PM EST on HDNet you can go here and also see another excerpt on video here. This clip introduces you to James Tooley, Hernando De Soto and Muhammad Yunus whose work this show covers and explains. Milton Friedman’s legacy continues at Free to Chose Media.

Spread the word.

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Don’t Forget The Ultimate Resource

I posted on the upcoming documentary, “The Ultimate Resource” a few days ago. For more read the post:

This coming Tuesday, April 24th, Free to Choose Media is continuing the work of its inspiration, Milton Friedman, of bringing the benefits of freedom to the people of this world, including its most remote corners. A new documentary, “The Ultimate Resource” will air on HDNet at 10PM EST.

Here is another clip:

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The Ultimate Resource

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This coming Tuesday, April 24th, Free to Choose Media is continuing the work of its inspiration, Milton Friedman, of bringing the benefits of freedom to the people of this world, including its most remote corners. A new documentary, “The Ultimate Resource” will air on HDNet at 10PM EST.

In short, they travel to China, Bangladesh, Estonia, Ghana, and Peru and show examples of how people (thank you Julian Simon) – when given the incentives and the tools – are proving they can apply their free choice, intelligence, imagination and spirit to dramatically advance their well-being and that of their families and communities. The program features 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, Hernando de Soto, James Tooley and Johan Norberg.

You can see the trailer and more here. Teachers can get the video (and lots of other resources) for free at


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“Milton Friedman Day” Part II

Found this today over at the National Review with some important things to say about how Milton accomplished what he did. A lesson we should all take to heart in our quest for accomplishing change in our government.

But now to an important question for Milton Friedman Day: How’d he do it?

The quick answer is that Friedman, in addition to being a master theorist, was a master tactician — although his tactics were of the most affable sort.

To begin, Friedman did not make the tactical error of preaching to the choir. How easy it would have been for Friedman to follow his libertarian instincts and retreat to a safe perch where he could have spent a lazy career basking in the “hear, hear” applause of those demanding sermons. Instead, Friedman built support for his ideas by actively engaging the American people. The best examples were his Newsweek columns on monetary policy and the 10-part PBS television series, Free to Choose. By humanizing his premises, he won converts — and a few grudging critics.

Next, Friedman did not make the procedural mistake of insulting, or talking down to, elected officials. PhD status, whether earned or honorary, does not necessarily translate to the people skills and horse sense required to build the coalitions that result in new policies, laws, and successful litigation. As an advisor to presidents Nixon and Reagan on successful policy initiatives, Friedman succeeded by following the adage, “honey, not vinegar.”

Finally, Friedman and his colleagues identified the government institutions with the power to put their ideas into action. Is it more important to capture the ear of the Fed chair, or the intellectual curiosity of the rank-and-file economists at one of the Fed’s member banks? Well, hooking a curious few worked just fine for Friedman. The St. Louis Fed gave credence to Friedman’s ideas in the 1960s, and a decade later they were debated at the institution’s highest levels.

To be sure, if Friedman were peddling junk, Friedmanism would have stopped well short of a multi-decade march through the lofty halls of the U.S. central bank. But we also must tip our hats to this affable tactician. Milton Friedman knew what to say, but he also knew how to say it for the greatest effect.

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“Milton Friedman Day”

California and Chicago both declared today “Milton Friedman Day.” And PBS is going to air his biography, “The Power of Choice” tonight.

Friedman’s impact on history isn’t limited to economic prosperity. Joseph Bast, president of the Heartland Institute, explains Friedman’s legacy: “It was explaining the relationship between economic freedom and all our other civil freedoms. What Milton Friedman taught was that without economic freedom, all the other liberties that we take for granted either cannot exist or are easily swept away.”

H/T Freakonomics Blog

A couple of interesting links I found while researching this post…

Milton Friedman got it right, and Plato got it wrong.

That is the message that I take away from Clifford Winston’s exhaustive survey of the actual results of well-intentioned government policies aimed at correcting market failures. He looks at policies designed to address all of the ills that economists and others have identified with markets — monopoly power, imperfect information, externalities, and so on. Government tends to make things worse, not better.

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Pinochet: R.I.P…..Actually not – Updated

It is time to memorialize the passing of one of the lesser bastards, but a true bastard, of the last century. Augusto Pinochet has left the scene, my only problem being he never spent time in prison for his crimes. I understand why he didn’t, and in the great scheme of things it may even have been best he didn’t, but it isn’t a good thing. Now if only his bookend in the world of criminal Latin American regimes would join him. Given Castro is still in power it might actually make a difference in our world. Here is the Washington Post on his rule. As a special present for glasnost I give WAPO’s impression of Friedman’s role: (more…)

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Milton and Augusto-Updated

One of the things which was brought up after the recent passing of Milton Friedman was his “support” of the Pinochet government of Chile. Never mind that giving economic advice which led to a freer society does not mean support. Let us also ignore that while Pinochet may have ruled as a dictator, he also allowed more freedom for his citizens than the vast majority of people enjoy in this day and age, forget the time of his rule. We’ll also slip by the fact that Friedman’s advice influenced policies that, at least in an economic sense, have resulted in Chile being one of the developing worlds most successful economies. Those policies were in direct opposition to the course taken and advice given in most of the rest of the developing world, and have been far more successful.

What I wonder however, is if he had been giving his advice to Fidel Castro, which he would gladly have done, would he have gotten nearly as much criticism from those very same critics (as opposed to a possible different set of critics) and would it have mattered what his advice was?

I ask this thanks to Eric at Classical Values who noted this odd juxtaposition in how Pinochet and Castro were portrayed on the very same day in the very same paper. I wouldn’t be claiming bias on the part of the paper, of course not, not me, but it still makes one wonder: (more…)

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Free To Choose

Thanks to Tyler at Marginal Revolution I have found out that “The Power of Choice” a biography of Milton Friedman will air Monday, January 29 on PBS. This date has also been declared as Milton Friedman Day.

Right now you can go to Idea Channel and see all ten episodes of the original Free to Choose series on PBS, as well as the five updated and new episodes that appeared in 1990. You can also find all of these episodes on Google Video as well.

For those of you (regardless of your ideological leanings) who haven’t watched them, I consider them a necessity along with the book. If you have kids, order them as part of their education.
Free to Choose: A Personal Statement
Free to Choose From Cradle to Grave Milton Friedman
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Brad Delong and Keynes’ star pupil, Milton Friedman

Brad Delong had a nice post on Milton Friedman after he died. One of the amusing aspects of it was reading the debate in his comment section about what Brad had written. The vitriol and hatred was a bit overboard and there was a fair amount of incredulous disbelief at Brad’s remarks.

Delong of course is a centrist Democrat who actually understands economics and is therefore adrift in a political sea of people who either do not understand or outright reject the entire basis of economics as he understands it. It has got to be frustrating. I sometimes wonder if his sometimes over the top attacks upon the “right” are a cry for the left to leave him alone, “See, I hate them too. Really, really I do, just not because of economics!”

For example we get to free trade, he deigns to praise U.K. chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown and U.S. Treasury secretary Hank Paulson as eloquent when they write:

Despite the successes of trade and liberalization, protectionist forces would have us believe that increased trade and openness hurt the U.S. and the U.K. Maintaining rules and regulations that inhibit competition may appear to be a measure of self-preservation for domestic workers and companies. It is, in fact, self-defeating.

Nations are linked by trade more closely than ever before. So protectionist policies do not work, and the collateral damage from these policies is high. We must have the education and assistance to minimize and soften the dislocations that come from trade. But we must not, in the name of jobs that are becoming uncompetitive and unsustainable today, eliminate more jobs and higher wages tomorrow.

I am certainly cheered by their plucky commitment but Brad notes the sad aspects of this:

This is so self-evident, and yet here we are in 2006 making arguments for something that should have been settled conclusively decades ago.


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In Memoriam: Milton Friedman continued

Last Updated at 5:03 PM CST

For all of our coverage of the passing of Milton Friedman, and all the links you could ever want, go to our Milton Friedman Memorial page.

The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.

Milton Friedman

This is day two of us scouring the web for peoples thoughts and opinions on the passing of Milton Friedman. Much more to come, scroll down for our earlier posts filled with links to videos, commentary, interviews and more. We will be updating as time permits.

Over at Division of Labor Robert Lawson and others give their thoughts including the forward to the book that described the research behind the Economic Freedom Index:

For many of us, freedom-economic, political, civil-is an end in itself not a means to other ends-it is what makes life worthwhile. We would prefer to live in a free country even if it did not provide us and our fellow citizens with a higher standard of life than an alternative regime. But I am firmly persuaded that a free society could never survive under such circumstances. A free society is a delicate balance, constantly under attack, even by many who profess to be its partisans. I believe that free societies have arisen and persisted only because economic freedom is so much more productive economically than other methods of controlling economic activity………….

To achieve these advantages, it was essential that the measure of economic freedom not beg any questions by depending on outcomes; it was essential that it depend only on objective characteristics of an economy. This may seem obvious but I assure you that it is not. After all, the rate of economic growth or the level of living may be an excellent proxy for economic freedom, just as an auto’s maximum speed may be an excellent proxy for the power of its motor. But any such connections must be demonstrated not assumed or taken for granted. There is nothing in the way the indexes are calculated that would prevent them from having no correlation whatsoever with such completely independent numbers as per capita GDP and the rate of growth of GDP. Yet the actual correlation between the indexes and the level and rate of economic growth documented in some of the extraordinarily informative graphs in the book (e.g., Exhibit S-2) is most impressive. No qualitative verbal description can match the power of that graph.

You can read more about this incredible effort he inspired here.


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Milton Friedman: Did he really have an impact over the long term?


For all of our coverage of the passing of Milton Friedman, and all the links you could ever want, go to our Milton Friedman Memorial page.

One of the more downbeat assessments of Milton Friedman’s legacy comes from the Guardian. Richard Adams suggests that Milton left little impact upon public policy:

Milton Friedman, who has died aged 94, was not the most important economist of the post-war era – that title belongs to the brilliant Paul Samuelson- but he was certainly the most controversial. Yet despite his views being championed by so many politicians on the right, it may come as a surprise that Friedman’s career as a policymaker largely ended in failure.

Given his status as a long-standing hate figure, the assumption by many of the left is that his agenda was cemented into place during the Reagan and Thatcher administrations in the early 1980s, especially Friedman’s well-known view that inflation is solely influenced by changes in the money supply. But very few of Friedman’s most cherished proposals were ever put in to practice. Of those that where – such as monetarism- almost all turned into failure.

The great irony for Friedman’s fans is that the one piece of public policy he was responsible for that was widely and internationally adopted was one that greatly increased the ability of central governments to collect taxes – a policy he later repudiated in disgust.

Obituaries of Friedman will doubtlessly sing of his successes. But close examination will show them to be few, and none unalloyed. For all his high public profile – thanks to his regular column in Newsweek and series on US television, , which made him into something of a star – today no mainstream academic economist is a monetarist and Friedman left no lasting school of academic heirs. Even the “Chicago school” at the University of Chicago has waned in influence, eclipsed by the mighty MIT army of economists that followed Samuelson.

Read the whole thing.

Given all the comments we have gathered here and here I am interested in the thoughts of our readers as to the impact of Friedman. Feel free to discuss at length.

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A Collection of Thoughts on Friedman’s Passing- Continuously updated, just scroll down

Last Updated at 10:23PM Central Time

For all of our coverage of the passing of Milton Friedman, and all the links you could ever want, go to our Milton Friedman Memorial page.

From Pejman,”That’s right. A lecture concerning a mundane topic like the creation of a pencil was made dazzling and fascinating by Milton Friedman. Imagine what he could do with questions and debate regarding matters of great import and consequence.”



Tyler Cowen who, like me, started with Friedman:”I believe Capitalism and Freedom was the second or third book I ever read on economics and it definitely shaped my life. I knew Milton only a bit but he was always gracious and of course razor sharp and a lover of liberty and prosperity. He was one of the most important minds of the second half of the twentieth century and his influence remains felt all around the world. In purely academic terms, he easily could have won two or three Nobel Prizes from the quality and quantity of his work.”

The New York Times has a long piece on his life.

Steve Levitt makes a wonderful point: “He was truly a revolutionary thinker. People do not realize how revolutionary because so many of his ideas that were thought to be crazy when he suggested them eventually came to be seen as obvious: school choice, a volunteer army, etc.”

Jane Galt pretending to be Economist Magazine: “An economics giant, he not only revolutionised monetary theory, but singlehandedly did more than almost any economist in history to advance the cause of free markets. He was not merely an accomplished economist, but an accomplished popular writer; his Newsweek columns remain gems of clarity and brilliance decades later. We will not soon see his like again.”

The only way that has ever been discovered to have a lot of people cooperate together voluntarily is through the free market. And that’s why it’s so essential to preserving individual freedom. ~ Milton Friedman

Brian Doherty of Reason magazine needless to say has a lot to say:

Undoubtedly the most successful and influential proponent of libertarian thought in the 20th century, Milton Friedman, died last night at age 94. His successes as both a technical economist and libertarian polemicist are enormous. We can thank him, in large part, for happy events from the elimination of the draft to the conquest of inflation. Just a quick note now–his impact was staggering, and there could never be enough words said in praise of him.

My 1995 Reason interview with him.

A 2005 Reason interview, with Nick Gillespie, on his legacy of fighting for school choice.

His most recent Reason interview, with me, in our November issue, as part of a roundtable on the Federal Reserve.

Jacob Sullum’s celebration of Friedman’s 90th birthday.


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Milton Friedman R.I.P.


For all of our coverage of the passing of Milton Friedman, and all the links you could ever want, go to our Milton Friedman Memorial page.

The long struggle for true human freedom lost its most influential and humane intellectual voice today. The great Milton Friedman has passed from this life.

When I was just awakening politically I remember sitting in my fathers room watching the landmark television series “Free To Choose” based on his best selling book and getting my first real introduction to the ideas and ideals behind what is now called libertarianism. Later it was the centerpiece (at least for me) of my high school course on Free Enterprise. I had read “Free to Choose” and “Capitalism and Freedom” before I ever left high school and have remained committed to the great passion of his later years, allowing every child and parent the chance to attend the educational institution of their choice. I am sure it is hard for many to understand the emotional impact this sad event has on me. All I can say, is that whatever your ideological background, understanding Milton Friedman is a necessity to grappling with the world. His arguments are what need to be faced or embraced.

I, and anyone of my co-conspirators here who wish to, will be updating this obituary throughout the day. Please send any links or stories you think would be appropriate to gather together and remember him with to us.

Laissez Faire Books has a fine tribute here with a link to a 1992 piece at the end which analyzes Milton and Rose’s success. I especially like point number 8:

8. Be nice.
The most basic lesson of salesmanship is that customers buy from those whom they like. Your ideas might be correct, and your research might be solid, but if you come across as a disagreeable sourpuss, an audience will probably favor your nicer opponent. A major asset of the Friedmans is that they are such nice, decent, outgoing people who don’t engage in factional fighting or personal attacks. As Milton says engagingly of his opponents: “I object not to the softness of their hearts but the softness of their heads.”
Too few in the political and ideological struggles of today have taken that lesson to heart.

From the Financial Times: (more…)

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