Milton Friedman Quotes

A major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.

And what does reward virtue? You think the communist commissar rewards virtue? You think a Hitler rewards virtue? You think, excuse me, if you’ll pardon me, American presidents reward virtue? Do they choose their appointees on the basis of the virtue of the people appointed or on the basis of their political clout?

Columbus did not seek a new route to the Indies in response to a majority directive.

Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.

Every friend of freedom must be as revolted as I am by the prospect of turning the United States into an armed camp, by the vision of jails filled with casual drug users and of an army of enforcers empowered to invade the liberty of citizens on slight evidence.

Governments never learn. Only people learn.

Hell hath no fury like a bureaucrat scorned.

History suggests that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom. Clearly it is not a sufficient condition.

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

I’m in favor of legalizing drugs. According to my values system, if people want to kill themselves, they have every right to do so. Most of the harm that comes from drugs is because they are illegal.

If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.

Inflation is taxation without legislation.

Inflation is the one form of taxation that can be imposed without legislation.

Is it really true that political self-interest is nobler somehow than economic self-interest?

Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government.

Most economic fallacies derive from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.

Most of the energy of political work is devoted to correcting the effects of mismanagement of government.

Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.

One man’s opportunism is another man’s statesmanship.

Only government can take perfectly good paper, cover it with perfectly good ink and make the combination worthless.

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.

The black market was a way of getting around government controls. It was a way of enabling the free market to work. It was a way of opening up, enabling people.

The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.

The Great Depression, like most other periods of severe unemployment, was produced by government mismanagement rather than by any inherent instability of the private economy.

The greatest advances of civilization, whether in architecture or painting, in science and literature, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government.

The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit.

The most important ways in which I think the Internet will affect the big issue is that it will make it more difficult for government to collect taxes.

The only relevant test of the validity of a hypothesis is comparison of prediction with experience.

The only way that has ever been discovered to have a lot of people cooperate together voluntarily is through the free market. And that’s why it’s so essential to preserving individual freedom.

The power to do good is also the power to do harm.

The problem of social organization is how to set up an arrangement under which greed will do the least harm, capitalism is that kind of a system.

The world runs on individuals pursuing their self interests. The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a, from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.

Universities exist to transmit knowledge and understanding of ideas and values to students not to provide entertainment for spectators or employment for athletes.

We have a system that increasingly taxes work and subsidizes nonwork.

Well first of all, tell me, is there some society you know of that doesn’t run on greed? You think Russia doesn’t run on greed? You think China doesn’t run on greed? What is greed?