Milton Friedman Quotes on Capitalism, Inflation and Freedom

“Inflation is caused by too much money chasing after too few goods.” – Milton Friedman

70 Milton Friedman Quotes

milton friedman quotes
  1. “He moves fastest who moves alone.”
friedman quote on inflation

2. “Inflation is taxation without representation.”

milton friedman quote social responsibility

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

milton friedman quote on capitalism

4. “Anybody who was easily converted was not worth converting.”

milton friedman quote on taxation

5. “Inflation is taxation without legislation”

 Milton Friedman Quote on government

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

7. “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.”

 Milton Friedman Quote on freedom

8. “The preservation of freedom is the protective reason for limiting and decentralizing governmental power.”

milton friedman quote capitalism and freedom

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

10. “There is no place for government to prohibit consumers from buying products the effect of which will be to harm themselves”

Milton Friedman Quotes Social Responsibility

11. “With some notable exceptions, businessmen favor free enterprise in general but are opposed to it when it comes to themselves.”

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

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

14. “It’s always so attractive to be able to do good at somebody else’s expense”

15. “Freedom is a rare and delicate plant”

16. “There’s nothing that does so much harm as good intentions.”

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

18. “Political freedom means the absence of coercion of a man by his fellow men.”

19. “Governments never learn. Only people learn.”

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

21. “Inflation is caused by too much money chasing after too few goods.”

22. “The major way that society has come to agree on the rules of property is through the growth of common law, though more recently legislation has played an increasing role.”

23. “There is no such thing as a free lunch.”

Milton Friedman Quotes On Inflation and Money

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

25. “There is no law of conservation which forces the growth of new centers of economic strength to be at the expense of existing centers.”

26. “You cannot simultaneously have free immigration and a welfare state.”

27. “I think that the Internet is going to be one of the major forces for reducing the role of government.”

28. “In which of these respects the public is more stubborn is an empirical question to be judged from the factual evidence, not something that can be determined by reason alone.”

29. “The source of tolerance is the recognition that none of us have the absolute truth. There can be no tolerance without humility.”

30. “Wherever you had Freedom, you had Capitalism.”

31. “We want to avoid competition; and yet its the competition that protects us in various forms.”

32. “Many highly schooled people are uneducated, and many highly “educated” people are unschooled.”

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

Milton Friedman Quotes on Capitalism

34. “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.”

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

36. “All learning is ultimately self-learning.”

37. “I say thank God for government waste. If government is doing bad things, it’s only the waste that prevents the harm from being greater.”

38. “You cannot be sure that you are right unless you understand the arguments against your views better than your opponents do.”

39. “The role of government just considered is to do something that the market cannot do for itself, namely, to determine, arbitrate, and enforce the rules of the game.”

40. “The case for prohibiting drugs is exactly as strong and as weak as the case for prohibiting people from overeating.”

41. “You never can cure poverty. Poverty is in the eye of the beholder.”

42. “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.”

43. “Not all ‘schooling’ is ‘education,’ and not all ‘education’ is ‘schooling’.”

44. “The combination of economic and political power in the same hands is a sure recipe for tyranny.”

Milton Friedman Quotes On Government

45. “Nobody spends somebody else’s money as carefully as he spends his own. Nobody uses somebody else’s resources as carefully as he uses his own. So if you want efficiency and effectiveness, if you want knowledge to be properly utilized, you have to do it through the means of private property.”

46. “The public at large thinks that government is too big.”

47. “Exchange is truly voluntary only when nearly equivalent alternatives exist. Monopoly implies the absence of alternatives and thereby inhibits effective freedom of exchange.”

48. “People who intend to serve only the public interest are led by an invisible hand to serve private interests which was no part of their intention.”

49. “Asking economists for investment advice is like asking a physicist to fix a broken toilet. Not their field, though sort of related.”

50. “Make the acvocacy of radical causes sufficiently remunerative, and the supply of advocates will be unlimited.”

51. “A society that aims for equality before liberty will end up with neither equality nor liberty.”

52. “Corruption is government intrusion into market efficiencies in the form of regulations.”

53. “Economic freedom is an essential requisite for political freedom. By enabling people to cooperate with one another without coercion or central direction, it reduces the area over which political power is exercised.”

54. “When you start paying people to be poor, you wind up with an awful lot of poor people.”

55. “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.”

56. “At the bottom of many criticisms of the market economy is really lack of belief in freedom itself.”

57. “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.”

58. “Government actions often provide substantial benefits to a few while imposing small costs on many.”

Milton Friedman Quotes On Socialism

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

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

61. “The capital resources of the nation are not increased by using the tax collector rather than the stock market to mobilize them.”

62. “The government doesn’t have any money. The only power it has is to take from some and give to others.”

63. “The way you solve things is by making it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing.”

64. “Society doesn’t have values. People have values.”

65. “Unfortunately, the hardest thing for people to understand is that maybe if you leave things alone, it’ll be better than stepping in and trying to do something.”

66. “It is a mark of the political freedom of a capitalist society that men can openly advocate and work for socialism.”

67. “The government has no more right to tell me what goes into my mouth, including illegal drugs, than it has to tell me what comes out of my mouth.”

68. “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.”

69. “There are severe limits to the good that the government can do for the economy, but there are almost no limits to the harm it can do.”

70. “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon, in the sense that it is and can be produced only by a more rapid increase in the quantity of money than in output.”

Additional Read: Who Was Milton Friedman?

Milton Friedman July 31, 1912 – November 16, 2006 was an American economist and statistician who received the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his research on consumption analysis, monetary history and theory and the complexity of stabilization policy.

In his writings, Friedman has covered a wide range of economic and public policy issues. His books have influenced people all over the world, even in countries that were once communist. Friedman came in second place behind John Maynard Keynes in a 2011 survey of economists conducted under the direction of the EJW. The Economist called him “the most influential economist of the latter half of the 20th century” after he passed away.

A Must Read: Free to Choose: A Personal Statement by Milton Friedman

Milton Friedman book
Free to Choose: A Personal Statement by Milton Friedman

Economic freedom is a necessary condition for political freedom, according to the book’s key excerpt. It decreases the territory over which political power is exercised by allowing people to cooperate with one another without coercion or central direction. Additionally, the free market acts as a counterbalance to any potential concentration of political power by distributing power. Tyranny is a foregone conclusion when both economic and political power are concentrated in the same individuals.

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