American Elephants


Remembering Milton Friedman on His 100th Birthday by The Elephant's Child
July 31, 2012, 2:29 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom | Tags: , ,

Milton Friedman was born 100 years ago today, and the world is vastly richer in its understanding of free market principles because of him. Well over 200 million peoples have been liberated from poverty because of the rediscovery of free market principles.

President Obama was a part-time instructor in civil-rights law at the University of Chicago, where Friedman taught for decades, but he famously did not participate in the lunchtime conversations among the faculty. He might have absorbed a little something.

In the 1960s, Milton Friedman explained that “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” If the government spends a dollar, that dollar comes from workers in the private economy. Robbing Peter to pay Paul does not create a magical “multiplier effect” by taking from productive Peter and giving to unproductive Paul.

This is the fundamental error central to Obamanomics. No matter how many times Obama waves his magic wand, no multiplier effect appears. We have had ‘true believers’ before, but never one who bet the whole economy on a Keynesian computer program. Obamanomics is the most expensive failed experiment in free-lunch economics in US history.

His was a voice for world-wide economic freedom. His debates, preserved on video, are a delight to watch as he skewers with a gracious smile, all opponents. He had a marvelous talent for communicating the values of the free market to a mass audience.

Friedman was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics for 1976 — at a time when most of the prizes had gone to socialists.  It was a marker for the return of free-market economics to the intellectual debate.  His 1971 book , written with Anna Schwartz,  A Monetary History of the United States, changed the way we think about money. His two best-selling books, Capitalism and Freedom (1962) and Free to Choose (1980) belong on everyone’s bookshelves.


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