Thursday, November 16, 2006

RIP Milton Friedman

Reading and studying Milton Friedman’s works helped me and many of us to understand economic reality, to understand economics, to understand its methodology, the role of the market in society, the role of the state in a free market economy, the role of money in the economy etc. Surely there were other influential authors but there was no one comparable in intellectual and human integrity, in firmness of stances and attitudes, in innovative boldness, in simplicity and clarity of exposition and in the scope and quality of important contributions both to economic theory and to the theory of public policy...

Milton Friedman helped us to interpret the actual communist economy not as a textbook command economy, based on directives going in the vertical direction from the central planning commission at the top to individual firms but as a very strange and truncated market economy with imperfect, but nevertheless dominant horizontal relations among economic agents at the microlevel. Milton Friedman knew that it was impossible to suppress human behaviour, the spontaneity of exchange, implicit if not explicit prices, wide-spread bargaining etc. It was a very rare attitude at that time.

Vaclav Klaus, 1997

In this clip from the PBS series "Free to Choose", Milton Friedman riffs on Leonard Read's "I, Pencil".

Thanks a lot, Milton Friedman!


MapMaster said...

A quote of Friedman's, via Billy Beck:

"It never occurred to me at the time that I was helping to develop machinery that would make possible a government that I would come to criticize severely as too large, too intrusive, too destructive of freedom."

("Two Lucky People" -- 1998, University of Chicago Press, p. 123)

A note to those tempted to compromise, including myself: they'll find a way to use anything against you, including your noblest intentions and most astute reasonings, if you give it to them. Nevertheless, he was a better man than most.

rhebner said...

I've got a copy of 'Free to Choose'. Best damn documentary I've ever seen. I can't wait until my kids are old enough to watch and understand.