Sunday, April 15, 2012

Quotes of the Day - Milton Friedman

The following are quotes from Milton Friedman (1912-2006) Nobel Prize-winning economist:

"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." 

"The proper role of government is exactly what John Stuart Mill said in the middle of the 19th century in On Liberty. The proper role of government is to prevent other people from harming an individual. Government, he said, never has any right to interfere with an individual for that individual's own good.  The case for prohibiting drugs is exactly as strong and as weak as the case for prohibiting people from overeating. We all know that overeating causes more deaths than drugs do. If it's in principle OK for the government to say you must not consume drugs because they'll do you harm, why isn't it all right to say you must not eat too much because you'll do harm? Why isn't it all right to say you must not try to go in for skydiving because you're likely to die? Why isn't it all right to say, "Oh, skiing, that's no good, that's a very dangerous sport, you'll hurt yourself"? Where do you draw the line?"

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

"Spending by government currently amounts to about 45 percent of national income. By that test, government owns 45 percent of the means of production that produce the national income. The U.S. is now 45 percent socialist."   (We Have Socialism, Q.E.D. in The New York Times 31 December 1989)


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