Remembering Milton Friedman

Last Friday marked the 103rd birthday of famed economist Milton Friedman, who passed away in 2006. In an era of ever-expanding government and increasing federal spending that was the 1970s, Friedman emerged as the leading and unapologetic advocate for free markets and unbridled capitalism. Friedman’s calm and well-articulated arguments inspired a generation of young economic conservatives and continue to resonate to this day. In belated honor of Friedman’s birthday, below are some of his best quotes.

(And if you want to watch the man himself in action, check out video at the end of Friedman explaining just how great capitalism is to the liberal television host Phil Donahue. You can see how blown Donahue’s mind is.)

“Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.”

“So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear. That there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.”

“A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.”

“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.”

“There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money. Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost. Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch! Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. And that’s government. And that’s close to 40% of our national income.”

(h/t to John Hawkins at Townhall for compiling)

Gillum Ferguson is the Deputy Editor at Opportunity Lives. You can follow him on Twitter @GillumFerguson.