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Milton Friedman quotes Showing 61-90 of 254

“The true test of any scholar's work is not what his contemporaries say, but what happens to his work in the next 25 or 50 years. And the thing that I will really be proud of is if some of the work I have done is still cited in the text books long after I am gone.”
Milton Friedman
“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.”
Milton Friedman
“it is one thing to have free immigration to jobs. It is another thing to have free immigration to welfare. And you cannot have both. If you have a welfare state, if you have a state in which every resident is promised a certain minimal level of income, or a minimum level of subsistence, regardless of whether he works or not, produces it or not. Then it really is an impossible thing.”
Milton Friedman
“Only government can take perfectly good paper, cover it with perfectly good ink and make the combination worthless.”
Milton Friedman
“The power to do good is also the power to do harm; those who control the power today may not tomorrow; and, more important, what one man regards as good, another may regard as harm.”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“Lo que importa no es la inflación per se, sino la inflación no anticipada”
Milton Friedman
“. . . there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.”
Milton Friedman
“Believers in aristocracy and socialism share a faith in centralized rule, in rule by command rather than by voluntary cooperation.”
Milton Friedman, Free to Choose: A Personal Statement
“A major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that it gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“Thanks to economists, all of us, from the days of Adam Smith and before right down to the present, tariffs are perhaps one tenth of one percent lower than they otherwise would have been. … And because of our efforts, we have earned our salaries ten-thousand fold.”
Milton Friedman
“Sloppy writing reflects sloppy thinking.”
Milton Friedman
“The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.”
Milton Friedman
“The family, rather than the individual, has always been and remains today the basic building block of our society, though its hold has clearly been weakening—one of the most unfortunate consequences of the growth of government paternalism.”
Milton Friedman, Free to Choose: A Personal Statement
“Silence was pleased.”
Milton Friedman
“None of this means that government does not have a very real function. Indeed, the tragedy is that because government is doing so many things it ought not to be doing, it performs the functions it ought to be performing badly. The basic functions of government are to defend the nation against foreign enemies, to prevent coercion of some individuals by others within the country, to provide a means of deciding on our rules, and to adjudicate disputes.3”
Milton Friedman, Why Government Is the Problem
“All learning is ultimately self-learning.”
Milton Friedman
“I have been enormously impressed by the role that pure chance plays in determining our life history. I was reminded of some famous lines of Robert Frost:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
I took the one less travled by,
And that has made all the difference.

As I recalled my own experience and development, I was impressed by the series of lucky accidents that determined the road I traveled.

> From "Lives of the Laureates" pg.67”
Milton Friedman
tags: chance
“These people live in many lands, speak different languages, practice different religions, may even hate one another- yet none of these differences prevented them from cooperating to produce a pencil. How did it happen? Adam Smith gave us the answer two hundred years ago.”
Milton Friedman
“Only people have incomes and they derive them through the market from the resources they own, whether these be in the form of corporate stock, or of bonds, or of land, or of their personal capacity.”
Milton Friedman, Free to Choose: A Personal Statement
“The role of government just considered is to do something that the market cannot do for itself, namely, to determine, arbitrate, and enforce the rules of the game.”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.”
Milton Friedman, Money Mischief: Episodes in Monetary History
“The most harm of all is done when power is in the hands of people who are absolutely persuaded of the purity of their instincts-- and the purity of their intentions”
Milton Friedman
“Although these examples only scratch the surface, they illustrate the fundamental proposition that freedom is one whole, that anything that reduces freedom in one part of our lives is likely to affect freedom in the other parts.”
Milton Friedman, Free to Choose: A Personal Statement
“There is all the difference in the world, however, between two kinds of assistance through government that seem superficially similar: first, 90 percent of us agreeing to impose taxes on ourselves in order to help the bottom 10 percent, and second, 80 percent voting to impose taxes on the top 10 percent to help the bottom 10 percent—William Graham Sumner's famous example of B and C deciding what D shall do for A.”
Milton Friedman, Free to Choose: A Personal Statement
“The great achievements of western capitalism have rebounded primarily to the benefit of the ordinary person. These achievements have made available to the masses conveniences and amenities that were previously the exclusive prerogative of the rich and powerful.”
Milton Friedman
“No one can disagree with the objectives of the legislation that culminated in the 1962 amendments. Of course it is desirable that the public be protected from unsafe and useless drugs. However, it is also desirable that new drug development should be stimulated, and that new drugs should be made available to those who can benefit from them as soon as possible. As is so often the case, one good objective conflicts with other good objectives. Safety and caution in one direction can mean death in another.”
Milton Friedman, Free to Choose: A Personal Statement
“The drive for equality failed for a much more fundamental reason. It went against one of the most basic instincts of all human beings. In the words of Adam Smith, "The uniform, constant, and uninterrupted effort of every man to better his condition"9—and, one may add, the condition of his children and his children's children. Smith, of course, meant by "condition" not merely material well-being, though certainly that was one component. He had a much broader concept in mind, one that included all of the values by which men judge their success—in particular the kind of social values that gave rise to the outpouring of philanthropic activities in the nineteenth century.”
Milton Friedman, Free to Choose: A Personal Statement
“The harm done by the FDA does not result from defects in the people in charge—unless it be a defect to be human. Many have been able and devoted civil servants. However, social, political, and economic pressures determine the behavior of the people supposedly in charge of a government agency to a far greater extent than they determine its behavior. No doubt there are exceptions, but they are rare—almost as rare as barking cats. That does not mean that effective reform is impossible. But it requires taking account of the political laws governing the behavior of government agencies, not simply berating officials for inefficiency and waste or questioning their motives and urging them to do better. The”
Milton Friedman, Free to Choose: A Personal Statement
“Asking economists for investment advice is like asking a physicist to fix a broken toilet. Not their field, though sort of related.”
Milton Friedman
“Social responsibility is a fundamentally subversive doctrine" in a free society, and have said that in such a society, "there is one and only one social responsibility of business–to use it resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud.”
Milton Friedman, The Ethics Of Competition And Other Essays


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