Capitalism and Freedom Quotes

Rate this book
Clear rating
Capitalism and Freedom Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman
9,954 ratings, 3.94 average rating, 562 reviews
Open Preview
Capitalism and Freedom Quotes Showing 1-30 of 34
“In a much quoted passage in his inaugural address, President Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country." It is a striking sign of the temper of our times that the controversy about this passage centered on its origin and not on its content. Neither half of the statement expresses a relation between the citizen and his government that is worthy of the ideals of free men in a free society. The paternalistic "what your country can do for you" implies that government is the patron, the citizen the ward, a view that is at odds with the free man's belief in his own responsibility for his own destiny. The organismic, "what you can do for your country" implies that government is the master or the deity, the citizen, the servant or the votary. To the free man, the country is the collection of individuals who compose it, not something over and above them. He is proud of a common heritage and loyal to common traditions. But he regards government as a means, an instrumentality, neither a grantor of favors and gifts, nor a master or god to be blindly worshiped and served. He recognizes no national goal except as it is the consensus of the goals that the citizens severally serve. He recognizes no national purpose except as it is the consensus of the purposes for which the citizens severally strive.”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“ان الشخص الوحيد الذي يمكنه اقناعك حقاً هو نفسك,عليك ان تدير الامور في رأسك اثناء استرخائك,ثم عليك ان تدرس الاراء الكثيرة المخالفة,دع الافكار تختمر في ذهنك,وبعد مدة طويلة حول تفضيلاتك إلى قناعات”
ميلتون فريدمان, Capitalism and Freedom
“There is still a tendency to regard any existing government intervention as desirable, to attribute all evils to the market, and to evaluate new proposals for government control in their ideal form, as they might work if run by able, disinterested men free from the pressure of special interest groups.”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“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
“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
“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
“There is no law of conservation which forces the growth of new centers of economic strength to be at the expense of existing centers.”
milton friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“Fundamentally, there are only two ways of co-ordinating the economic activities of millions. One is central direction involving the use of coercion - the technique of the army and of the modern totalitarian state. The other is voluntary co-operation of individuals - the technique of the market place.”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“History only suggests that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom. Clearly it is not a sufficient condition.”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“In fiscal policy as in monetary policy, all political considerations aside, we simply do not know enough to be able to use deliberate changes in taxation or expenditures as a sensitive stabilizing mechanism.”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“For fiscal policy, the appropriate counterpart to the monetary rule would be to plan expenditure programs entirely in terms of what the community wants to do through government rather than privately, and without any regard to problems of year-to-year economic stability; to plan tax rates so as to provide sufficient revenues to cover planned expenditures on the average of one year with another, again without regard to year-to-year changes in economic stability; and to avoid erratic changes in either governmental expenditures or taxes.”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“Make the acvocacy of radical causes sufficiently remunerative, and the supply of advocates will be unlimited.”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“A thoroughgoing paternalist who holds it cannot be dissuaded by being shown that he is making a mistake in logic. He is our opponent on grounds of principle, not simply a well-meaning but misguided friend. Basically, he believes in dictatorship, benevolent and maybe majoritarian, but dictatorship none the less. Those of us who believe in freedom must believe also in the freedom of individuals to make their own mistakes. If a man knowingly prefers to live for today, to use his resources for current enjoyment, deliberately choosing a penurious old age, by what right do we prevent him from doing so? We may argue with him, seek to persuade him that he is wrong, but are we entitled to use coercion to prevent him from doing what he chooses to do? Is there not always the possibility that he is right and that we are wrong? Humility is the distinguishing virtue of the believer in freedom; arrogance, of the paternalist.”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“In which of these respects the public is more stubborn is an empirical question to be judged from the factual evidence, not something that can be determined by reason alone.”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“Exchange is truly voluntary only when nearly equivalent alternatives exist. Monopoly implies the absence of alternatives and thereby inhibits effective freedom of exchange.”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“In all those cases, in accordance with the theme of this book, increases in economic freedom have gone hand in hand with increases in political and civil freedom and have led to increased prosperity; competitive capitalism and freedom have been inseparable.”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“By relying primarily on voluntary co-operation and private enterprise, in both economic and other activities, we can insure that the private sector is a check on the powers of the governmental sector and an effective protection of freedom of speech, of religion, and of thought.”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“The preservation of freedom is the protective reason for limiting and decentralizing governmental power.”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“It is extremely convenient to have a label for the political and economic viewpoint elaborated in this book. The rightful and proper label is liberalism. Unfortunately, "As a supreme, if unintended compliment, the enemies of the system of private enterprise have thought it wise to appropriate its label",' so that liberalism has, in the United States, come to have a very different meaning than it did in the nineteenth century or does today over much of the Continent of Europe.”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“As it developed in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the intellectual movement that went under the name of liberalism emphasized freedom as the ultimate goal and the individual as the ultimate entity in the society. It supported laissez faire at home as a means of reducing the role of the state in economic affairs and thereby enlarging the role of the individual; it supported free trade abroad as a means of linking the nations of the world together peacefully and democratically. In political matters, it supported the development of representative government and of parliamentary institutions, reduction in the arbitrary power of the state, and protection of the civil freedoms of individuals.”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“The nineteenth-century liberal regarded an extension of freedom as the most effective way to promote welfare and equality; the twentieth-century liberal regards welfare and equality as either prerequisites of or alternatives to freedom.”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“There seems little correlation between poverty and honesty. One would rather expect the opposite; dishonesty may not always pay but surely it sometimes does”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“A common objection to totalitarian societies is that they regard the end as justifying the means. Taken literally, this objection is clearly illogical. If the end does not justify the means, what does? But this easy answer does not dispose of the objection; it simply shows that the objection is not well put. To deny that the end justifies the means is indirectly to assert that the end in question is not the ultimate end, that the ultimate end is itself the use of the proper means. Desirable or not, any end that can be attained only by the use of bad means must give way to the more basic end of the use of acceptable means.”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“However attractive anarchy may be as a philosophy, it is not feasible in a world of imperfect men.”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“given the proper kind of training. In the next year or two, every school”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“almost all professions requiring licensure, people may try to get admitted more”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“The view has been gaining widespread acceptance that corporate officials and labor leaders have a “social responsibility” that goes beyond serving the interest of their stockholders or their members. This view shows a fundamental misconception of the character and nature of a free economy.
In such an economy, there is one and only one social responsibility of business—to use its 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….It is the responsibility of the rest of us to establish a framework of law such that an individual in pursuing his own interest is, to quote Adam Smith again, “led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest, he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.”

Few trends could so thoroughly undermine the very foundations of our free society as the acceptance by corporate officials of a social responsibility other than to make as much money for their stockholders as possible. This is a fundamentally subversive doctrine. If businessmen do have a social responsibility other than making maximum profits for stockholders, how are they to know what it is? Can self-selected private individuals decide what the social interest is? Can they decide how great a burden they are justified in placing on themselves or their stockholders to serve that social interest? Is it tolerable that these public functions of taxation, expenditure, and control be exercised by the people who happen at the moment to be in charge of particular enterprises, chosen for those posts by strictly private groups? If businessmen are civil servants rather than the employees of their stockholders then in a democracy they will, sooner or later, be chosen by the public techniques of election and appointment.”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“President Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”… Neither half of that statement expresses a relation between the citizen and his government that is worthy of the ideals of free men in a free society. “What your country can do for you” implies that the government is the patron, the citizen the ward. “What you can do for your country” assumes that the government is the master, the citizen the servant.”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
“It is widely believed that politics and economics are separate and largely unconnected; that individual freedom is a political problem and material welfare an economic problem; and that any kind of political arrangements can be combined with any kind of economic arrangements. The chief contemporary manifestation of this idea is the advocacy of "democratic socialism" by many who condemn out of hand the restrictions on individual freedom imposed by "totalitarian socialism" in Russia~ and who are persuaded that it is possible for a country to adopt the essential features of Russian economic arrangements and yet to ensure individual freedom through political arrangements. The


8 CAPITALISM AND FREEDOM
thesis of this chapter is that such a view is a delusion, that there is an intimate connection between economics and politics, that only certain combinations of political and economic arrangements are possible, and that in particular, a society which is socialist cannot also be democratic, in the sense of guaranteeing individual freedom.”
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom

« previous 1