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

— Milton Friedman

The most colossal Milton Friedman quotes that may be undiscovered and unusual

A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither.

A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.

114

If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand.

113

The essential notion of a capitalist society .

.. is voluntary cooperation, voluntary exchange. The essential notion of a socialist society is force.

93

There's no such thing as a free lunch.

90

I am favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it's possible.

83

Only government can take perfectly good paper, cover it with perfectly good ink and make the combination worthless.

82

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

80

The black market was a way of getting around government controls.

It was a way of enabling the free market to work. It was a way of opening up, enabling people.

80

We have a system that increasingly taxes work and subsidizes nonwork.

77

Most of the energy of political work is devoted to correcting the effects of mismanagement of government.

77

Most economic fallacies derive from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.

77

And what does reward virtue? You think the communist commissar rewards virtue? You think a Hitler rewards virtue? You think, excuse me, if you'll pardon me, American presidents reward virtue? Do they choose their appointees on the basis of the virtue of the people appointed or on the basis of their political clout?

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About Milton Friedman

Quotes 372 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Economist
Birthday October 16

Many people want the government to protect the consumer.

A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government.

76

The great virtue of a free market system is that it does not care what color people are; it does not care what their religion is; it only cares whether they can produce something you want to buy. It is the most effective system we have discovered to enable people who hate one another to deal with one another and help one another.

75

You cannot simultaneously have free immigration and a welfare state.

75

Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.

75

A minimum-wage law is, in reality, a law that makes it illegal for an employer to hire a person with limited skills.

65

You know there are very few Marxists left in the world... they're all in American universities.

64

The only corporate social responsibility a company has is to maximize its profits.

63

One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.

59

Even the most ardent environmentalist doesn't really want to stop pollution.

If he thinks about it, and doesn't just talk about it, he wants to have the right amount of pollution. We can't really afford to eliminate it - not without abandoning all the benefits of technology that we not only enjoy but on which we depend.

54

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.

54

Inflation is the one form of taxation that can be imposed without legislation.

53

One man's opportunism is another man's statesmanship.

53

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.

50

There is one and only one 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.

49

Corruption is government intrusion into market efficiencies in the form of regulations.

49

Indeed, 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.

48

A society that puts equality — in the sense of equality of outcome — ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom. The use of force to achieve equality will destroy freedom, and the force, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests.

45

With respect to teachers' salaries .... Poor teachers are grossly overpaid and good teachers grossly underpaid. Salary schedules tend to be uniform and determined far more by seniority.

44

Drugs are a tragedy for addicts. But criminalizing their use converts that tragedy into a disaster for society, for users and non-users alike. Our experience with the prohibition of drugs is a replay of our experience with the prohibition of alcoholic beverages.

38

Making prohibition work is like making water run uphill; it's against nature.

35

What most people really object to when they object to a free market is that it is so hard for them to shape it to their own will. The market gives people what the people want instead of what other people think they ought to want. At the bottom of many criticisms of the market economy is really lack of belief in freedom itself.

34

The combination of economic and political power in the same hands is a sure recipe for tyranny.

33

A free man will ask neither what his country can do for him nor what he can do for his country.

33

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.

33

The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit.

32

Hell hath no fury like a bureaucrat scorned.

32

What makes it [economics] most fascinating is that its fundamental principles are so simple that they can be written on one page, that anyone can understand them, and yet very few do.

31

You never can cure poverty. Poverty is in the eye of the beholder.

30

In the current world, with the skills needed, dropouts [like no secondary education] are condemned to being members of the underclass. In my view, this is a fault of the American school system, which is a government monopoly.

30

One role of prohibition is in making the drug market more lucrative.

29

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.

29

Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.

29

With some notable exceptions, businessmen favor free enterprise in general but are opposed to it when it comes to themselves.

27

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.

26

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

26

Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.

26

There's no point in comparing an actual, operating system with an ideal system that doesn't exist.

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