milton friedman quotes

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Milton Friedman (July 31, 1912-November 16, 2006) was a famous economist and statistician who was awarded the 1976 Nobel Prize in Economics for his research and work on consumption analysis, monetary history and theory along with the complexity of stabilization policy. Friedman was one of the intellectual leaders of the Chicago school of economics, associated with the work of the faculty at the University of Chicago that rejected Keynesianism and chose new classical macroeconomics based on the principles of rational expectations. Friedman mentored famous economist and author Thomas Sowell. [1]

Here are ten of his best quotes. 

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

“One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.” – Milton Friedman

“There is one and only one social responsibility of business–to use it resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud” – Milton Friedman

“Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.” – Milton Friedman

“I am favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it’s possible.” – Milton Friedman

“Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government.” – Milton Friedman

“Government has three primary functions. It should provide for military defense of the nation. It should enforce contracts between individuals. It should protect citizens from crimes against themselves or their property. When government– in pursuit of good intentions tries to rearrange the economy, legislate morality, or help special interests, the cost come in inefficiency, lack of motivation, and loss of freedom. Government should be a referee, not an active player.” – Milton Friedman

“Most of the energy of political work is devoted to correcting the effects of mismanagement of government.” – Milton Friedman

“The key insight of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations is misleadingly simple: if an exchange between two parties is voluntary, it will not take place unless both believe they will benefit from it. Most economic fallacies derive from the neglect of this simple insight, from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.” – Milton Friedman

“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.” – Milton Friedman

milton friedman quotes

The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons