Capitalism and Freedom

Liberty Quotation: Milton Friedman on the Great Advances of Civilization

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Milton Friedman“The great advances of civilization, whether in architecture or painting, in science or literature, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government.  Columbus did not set out to seek a new route to China in response to a majority directive of a parliament, though he was partly financed by an absolute monarch.  Newton and Leibnitz; Einstein and Bohr; Shakespeare, Milton, and Pasternak; Whitney, McCormick, Edison, and Ford; Jane Addams, Florence Nightingale, and Albert Schweitzer; no one of these opened new frontiers in human knowledge and understanding, in literature, in technical possibilities, or in the relief of human misery in response to governmental directives.   Their achievements were the product of individual genius, of strongly held minority views, of a social climate permitting variety and diversity.  Government can never duplicate the variety and diversity of individual action.”

Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom  [1962]

Liberty Quotation of the Day: Milton Friedman on the Two Ways to Coordinate Economic Activity

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Milton Friedman“Fundamentally, there are only two ways of co-ordinating the economic activities of millions.  One is central direction involving the use of coercion—the technique of the army and of the modern totalitarian state.  The other is voluntary co-operation of individuals—the technique of the market place.”

Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom [1962]

Liberty Quotation of the Day: Milton Friedman on Minimum Wage Laws

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Milton Friedman“Minimum wage laws are about as clear a case as one can find of a measure the effects of which are precisely the opposite of those intended by the men of good will who support it.  Many proponents of minimum wage laws quite properly deplore extremely low rates; they regard them as a sign of poverty; and they hope, by outlawing wage rates below some specified level, to reduce poverty.  In fact, insofar as minimum wage laws have any effect at all, their effect is clearly to increase poverty.  The state can legislate a minimum wage rate.  It can hardly require employers to hire at that minimum all who were formerly employed at wages below the minimum.  It is clearly not in the interest of employers to do so.  The effect of the minimum wage is therefore to make unemployment higher than it otherwise would be.”

Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom [1962]