Saturday, November 18, 2006

Milton Friedman: 1912 – 2006

“A society that puts equality...ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom.”

What Friederich Engels said of Karl Marx upon his death should really now be said of Friedman, that today "the greatest living thinker ceased to think."*

This is a man for whom my admiration while growing up was more than that of other teenagers’ for Marilyn Monroe. The 1976 Nobel Prize winner in Economics is to a laissez-faire capitalist the equivalent to Bob Dylan is to the flower-power peaceniks; or a on a more comparable level – equivalent to Karl Marx to the Communists.

Milton Friedman was an intellectual tiger. The father of monetarism. Leader of the powerful “Chicago School” of economic thought. Based on his theories the “trickle-down” Reaganomics of the roaring 80s fuelled growth and globalization in an unprecedented pace. It led to the fall of communism and birth of free trade.

I am not going to try today to either explain his economics or try to debate them. All I want to say is that a person who had a profound influence on our world (and do me personally) is dead. A legend in his own time, a legend for all time.

Some more of his quotes

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

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

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

A society that puts equality...ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom.

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.

Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.

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.”

The following link takes you to the "autobiography" Milton Friedman had writen for the Nobel Committee:

For more information / tribute read:

*Grateful to for both the picture and this quote.

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