Milton Friedman (1912-2006)

“We have a system that increasingly taxes work and subsidizes nonwork.”

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

“I’m in favor of legalizing drugs. According to my values system, if people want to kill themselves, they have every right to do so. Most of the harm that comes from drugs is because they are illegal.”

“The Great Depression, like most other periods of severe unemployment, was produced by government mismanagement rather than by any inherent instability of the private economy.”

“Governments never learn. Only people learn.”

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

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

“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.”

“Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.”

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

“Every friend of freedom must be as revolted as I am by the prospect of turning the United States into an armed camp, by the vision of jails filled with casual drug users and of an army of enforcers empowered to invade the liberty of citizens on slight evidence.”

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

“Inflation is taxation without legislation.”

“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”

“Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government.”

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

“I am in favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it’s possible.”

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

“History suggests that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom.”

“What kind of society isn’t structured on greed? The problem of social organization is how to set up an arrangement under which greed will do the least harm; capitalism is that kind of a system”

“The only relevant test of the validity of a hypothesis is comparison of prediction with experience”

“Inflation is the one form of taxation that can be imposed without legislation.”

“A major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.”

“Hell hath no fury like a bureaucrat scorned.”

“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.”

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

“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.”

“Most of the energy of political work is devoted to correcting the effects of mismanagement of government”

“Columbus did not seek a new route to the Indies in response to a majority directive.”

“Universities exist to transmit knowledge and understanding of ideas and values to students … not to provide entertainment for spectators or employment for athletes.”

“The power to do good is also the power to do harm.”

“The black market was a way of getting around government controls. It was a way of enabling the free market to work. It was a way of opening up, enabling people.”

“[Minimum Wage. In] Free to Choose, … . . . the minimum wage law to be one of the most, if not the most anti-black law on the statute books.”

“One man’s opportunism is another man’s statesmanship.”

“Have all these countries found a genius like Greenspan? … What the foreign experience suggests is, you don’t need a genius. You just need someone willing to make fighting inflation his top priority.”

“The most important ways in which I think the Internet will affect the big issue is that it will make it more difficult for government to collect taxes.”

 “When a man spends his own money to buy something for himself, he is very careful about how much he spends and how he spends it. When a man spends his own money to buy something for someone else, he is still very careful about how much he spends, but somewhat less what he spends it on. When a man spends someone else’s money a to buy something for himself, he is very careful about what he buys, but doesn’t care at all how much he spends. And when a man spends someone else’s money on someone else, he doesn’t care how much he spends or what he spends it on. And that’s government for you.”


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