Rooted in Reason: Nurturing the Seeds of Liberty

A Tribute to Milton Friedman by grassroothawaii
August 2, 2011, 5:31 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Last week marked the 99th Birthday of Milton Friedman, an event that the Grassroot Institute (along with Small Business Hawaii) marked with a celebration of his ideals and philosophy.  Why?  Well, other than the fact that one shouldn’t really need a reason for a good party, there is the fact that Friedman has transformed the way that we look at the free market.  Consider this birthday tribute from Ken Schoolland:

A Birthday Tribute to Milton Friedman:  10 Ideas That Affect Our World

            Milton Friedman was born 99 years ago and his ideas are timeless. He was leader of the monetary school of thought at the University of Chicago, a founding member of the legendary free market organization, the Mont Pelerin Society, co-author with his wife, Rose, of the television series and international bestselling book Free to Choose, winner of the Nobel Prize in economics, Newsweek columnist for many years, and a fearless champion of economic and personal freedom. He was in many ways a hero to me, one who led me to a greater appreciation of free markets.


1) Licensing–I recall coming across his book, Capitalism and Freedom, during my first class in economics in the 1960’s. While nearly every professor, textbook, and student spoke of government as the universal solution to economic ills in those days, here was a clear skeptic.

Among many topics, I can recall that he spoke of the perverse effects of occupational licensing laws. Far from benefiting consumers, Friedman argued that such restrictions on entry into various professional guilds, from doctors to plumbers, served primarily to stifle competition, raise prices, hinder innovation, and reduce services.


2) Fiscal Policy—Later in the same semester I heard him debate Keynesian economists. His opponents said that fiscal policy of government spending and taxation was more important in controlling business cycles than the policies of money supply and interest rates.

Among the argumentation, he chided them saying that fiscal policy was inconsequential because it was merely the practice of taking from one party to give to another (with potentially less valuable purpose), later characterized by the notion TANSTAAFL, “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” The government’s generosity and “stimulus” doesn’t materialize out of thin air, but was offset by costs and disincentives to the owners and producers of wealth.

To promote growth, Friedman argued that government spending and taxation should both be minimized and he promoted the idea of a flat tax for incomes above a certain level. Such low tax policies have been adopted with considerable positive effect in countries like Estonia, Chile, New Zealand, and Hong Kong.

Click here to read the full article.


Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply (Comments are approved by a moderator before they are posted.)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: