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Quotes by Milton Friedman

Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Milton Friedman. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.

Wikipedia Summary for Milton Friedman

Milton Friedman (July 31, 1912 – November 16, 2006) was an American economist and statistician 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. With George Stigler and others, Friedman was among the intellectual leaders of the Chicago school of economics, a neoclassical school of economic thought associated with the work of the faculty at the University of Chicago that rejected Keynesianism in favor of monetarism until the mid-1970s, when it turned to new classical macroeconomics heavily based on the concept of rational expectations. Several students and young professors who were recruited or mentored by Friedman at Chicago went on to become leading economists, including Gary Becker, Robert Fogel, Thomas Sowell and Robert Lucas Jr.

Friedman's challenges to what he later called "naive Keynesian theory" began with his 1950s interpretation of the consumption function, which tracks how consumers spend their money. He introduced a theory - the Permanent Income Hypothesis - which would later become part of the mainstream and among the first to propagate the theory of consumption smoothing, showing how consumers tend to smooth out their consumption throughout their lifetime. During the 1960s he became the main advocate opposing Keynesian government policies, and described his approach (along with mainstream economics) as using "Keynesian language and apparatus" yet rejecting its initial conclusions. He theorized that there existed a natural rate of unemployment and argued that unemployment below this rate would cause inflation to accelerate. He argued that the Phillips curve was in the long run vertical at the "natural rate" and predicted what would come to be known as stagflation. Friedman promoted an alternative macroeconomic viewpoint known as "monetarism" and argued that a steady, small expansion of the money supply was the preferred policy, as compared to rapid, and unexpected changes. His ideas concerning monetary policy, taxation, privatization and deregulation influenced government policies, especially during the 1980s. His monetary theory influenced the Federal Reserve's monetary policy in response to the global financial crisis of 2007–2008.

Friedman was an advisor to Republican President Ronald Reagan and Conservative British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. His political philosophy extolled the virtues of a free market economic system with minimal government intervention in social matters. He once stated that his role in eliminating conscription in the United States was his proudest accomplishment. In his 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom, Friedman advocated policies such as a volunteer military, freely floating exchange rates, abolition of medical licenses, a negative income tax and school vouchers and opposed the war on drugs. His support for school choice led him to found the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, later renamed EdChoice.

Friedman's works include monographs, books, scholarly articles, papers, magazine columns, television programs, and lectures, and cover a broad range of economic topics and public policy issues. His books and essays have had global influence, including in former communist states. A 2011 survey of economists commissioned by the EJW ranked Friedman as the second-most popular economist of the 20th century, following only by John Maynard Keynes. Upon his death, The Economist described him as "the most influential economist of the second half of the 20th century ... possibly of all of it".

Longer Version:

I want people to take thought about their condition and to recognize that the maintainence of a free society is a very difficult and complicated thing and it requires a self-denying ordinance of the most extreme kind. It requires a willingness to put up with temporary evils on the basis of the subtle and sophisticated understanding that if you step in to do something about them you not only may make them worse, you will spread your tenticles and get bad results elsewhere.

Longer Version:

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.

Longer Version:

I think that the Internet is going to be one of the major forces for reducing the role of government. The one thing that's missing, but that will soon be developed, is a reliable e-cash -- a method whereby on the Internet you can transfer funds from A to B without A knowing B or B knowing A.

Longer Version:

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.

Longer Version:

Economic freedom is an essential requisite for political freedom. By enabling people to cooperate with one another without coercion or central direction, it reduces the area over which political power is exercised.

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