Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Happy100th Birthday Milton Friedman!

Milton Friedman was born on this day, July 31, in 1912 and he would have been 100 years old today.  Unfortunately, Milton died on November 16, 2006 when he was 94 years old.  Coincidentally, that was just several months after the Carpe Diem blog started in September 2006.  A custom Google search of Carpe Diem reveals that "Milton Friedman" has "appeared" on this blog more than 1,200 times in the last six years, and his ideas, quotes and videos should be familiar to all regular CD visitors.  In contrast, I found 694 results for "Milton Friedman" on Marginal Revolution, 651 on Cafe Hayek and 258 on Greg Mankiw's blog

Since he's made such regular appearances here, I didn't feel that it was necessary to provide a special tribute for Milton Friedman's 100th birthday, except to provide some links below to others who have written today about Milton Friedman (here's his Wikipedia page):

1. Thomas Sowell writing in Investor's Business Daily, "On Milton Friedman's 100th Birthday, He's Needed More Than Ever."

2. Don Boudreaux in today's StarTribune "Milton Friedman -- a man of intellectual stature."

3. Chicago Tribune staff editorial, "Milton Friedman's Century," which concludes, "The world has changed immensely in the past 100 years. Thanks in part to Milton Friedman, many of the changes have been for the better."

4. Steve Moore in today's WSJ, "The Man Who Saved Capitalism," with a great quote from Harvard's Andrei Shleifer who describes 1980-2005 as "The Age of Milton Friedman," an era that "witnessed remarkable progress of mankind. As the world embraced free-market policies, living standards rose sharply while life expectancy, educational attainment, and democracy improved and absolute poverty declined."

5. Steve Hayward at Powerline, "Milton Friedman at 100."

6. My favorite Milton Friedman quotes.

7. And finally, an excellent summary of Milton Friedman's impact from a WSJ editorial after Friedman's death in 2006:  "Few people in human history have contributed more to the achievement of human freedom than Milton Friedman."

28 Comments:

At 7/31/2012 3:10 PM, Blogger jd said...

Mark:

Awhile back, you published a little table that you attributed to Dr. Friedman. If I could remember exactly what it was, I wouldn't be asking, but I'm hoping you can recall. The table pertained to spending my own money vs. other people's money on things that were for my benefit vs. other people's benefit. something like that. Do you recall what I'm getting at?

 
At 7/31/2012 3:44 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

jd:

You may mean this. You can scroll down for the chart.

If you haven't read Friedman's book "Free to Choose", you owe it to yourself to do so.

 
At 7/31/2012 3:46 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

nothing about "Free to Choose"?

 
At 7/31/2012 5:12 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

A custom Google search of Carpe Diem reveals that "Milton Friedman" has "appeared" on this blog more than 1,200 times in the last six years

That's an average of 200 times a year, or once every 1.8 days.

 
At 7/31/2012 5:28 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"at's an average of 200 times a year, or once every 1.8 days"

Tsk. You numbers guys can be a real pain, ya know? :)

 
At 7/31/2012 5:31 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

who was second? Sowell?

 
At 7/31/2012 5:57 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"That's an average of 200 times a year, or once every 1.8 days."


Did you happen to check how often ethanol was mentioned?

 
At 7/31/2012 6:06 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Tsk. You numbers guys can be a real pain, ya know? :)

Ask me about baseball...

Did you happen to check how often ethanol was mentioned?

1,120 times.

who was second? Sowell?

Sowell was mentioned 982 times.

All these include comments.

 
At 7/31/2012 6:22 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

jon-

that you for setting off what will doubtless wind up being a ruinous ballot stuffing war to inflate our favorite economists in the rankings.

 
At 7/31/2012 6:26 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

that you for setting off what will doubtless wind up being a ruinous ballot stuffing war to inflate our favorite economists in the rankings.

For the record, I am just reporting statistics.

 
At 7/31/2012 6:27 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Besides, if someone is going to stuff this ballot box, they really really need a life.

 
At 7/31/2012 6:46 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Did you happen to check how often ethanol was mentioned?"

Yes, but my counter started to overheat so I had to stop.

 
At 7/31/2012 6:53 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"that you for setting off what will doubtless wind up being a ruinous ballot stuffing war to inflate our favorite economists in the rankings."

Hmm. I appears that the name Mark Perry shows up here more often than that of any other economist.

 
At 7/31/2012 7:09 PM, Blogger jd said...

Ron H.

Thanks so much. That's the table from Uncle Milty that I was looking for.

Just out of curiosity, since ethanol has not been mentioned much since I've been reading this blog, can I assume that Mark Perry is not a fan of the ethanol alternative?

 
At 7/31/2012 7:26 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Just out of curiosity, since ethanol has not been mentioned much since I've been reading this blog, can I assume that Mark Perry is not a fan of the ethanol alternative?

He doesn't talk much about Ethanol, actually. We have one commentator who is obsessed with the stuff. On nearly every topic, regardless, he will somehow bring up ethanol.

 
At 7/31/2012 8:26 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

"Ethanol" has appeared on the blog more than 1,000 times, just not so much recently.

By the way, anybody can do a customized Google search of Carpe Diem for any word or search term, just use the Googe search on the right side of the blog, right below the "About Me" section.

 
At 7/31/2012 11:27 PM, Blogger Steve said...

My Favorite Milton YouTube Clip

 
At 8/01/2012 12:25 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

An upper level business class, at my very liberal university, required "Free to Choose" on its reading list. Praise be to Milton and Rose Friedman for this nobel work.

BTW, this book was first published over forty years ago and is still #2 in Amazon's Free Enterprise category, with Milton's "Captialism and Freedom" steady at #1!

 
At 8/01/2012 12:58 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Choice has 2,190 results on Carpe Diem custom search.

 
At 8/01/2012 2:49 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Buddy:

"Choice has 2,190 results on Carpe Diem custom search."

That's just me stuffing the ballot box. :)

 
At 8/01/2012 2:59 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 8/01/2012 3:20 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Buddy:

"An upper level business class, at my very liberal university, required "Free to Choose" on its reading list. Praise be to Milton and Rose Friedman for this nobel work."

In my view "Free to Choose" should be required reading for every high school student as a condition of graduation.

As a basic understanding on which to build all future economic and business learning, and as a guide to critical thinking, it could be invaluable. By the time students enroll in advanced business classes, their heads can be so full of information and ideas that may or may not be useful to them, that "Free to Choose" may not have as much of an impact.

 
At 8/01/2012 3:43 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Buddy

I'm just curious. As an obvious fan of Milton Friedman and the concepts in his book that can be summarized by it's title "Free to Choose", How would you characterize his views on free trade? They seem to be very different from yours.

 
At 8/02/2012 9:31 AM, Blogger givemefreedom said...

Nice link Ron H.

Wealth can only be created when 2 people trade with eachother. It is a simple concept. Person A has something that he values at 1. Person B has something that she values at 1. Persons A and B will only trade if they each value the other's good at more than one, otherwise there is no incentive to trade. So after the trade, person A has B's good and person A values it at more than one. Person B has A's good and person B values it at more than one.

The magic of trade is that it makes 1 plus 1 equal more that 2. In which countries persons A and B live is completely irrelevant. They are both better off after the trade.

 
At 8/02/2012 9:58 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Ron H states:

"Buddy

I'm just curious. As an obvious fan of Milton Friedman and the concepts in his book that can be summarized by it's title "Free to Choose", How would you characterize his views on free trade? They seem to be very different from yours."


First, nice video Ron. I had never seen Mr. Friedman so fired up.

I, like the Friedmans, am very much a free trader, but I am not a unilateral free trader.

The Friedman's made three trips to China and the lingering memories that remain for the public are:

Milton's advice to the Chinese authorities that inflation can be controlled by limiting the printing of yuan.

Mr. Friedman pointing to Hong Kong as a as a very shining example of the riches of capitalism and limited goveernment.

Alas, Milton resigned himself that the "Hong Kong Experiment" was probably over by 1998.

I, like millions of others, wish the Friedmans were still with us. I speculate that they would be highly critical of the swing to control of almost all major business in China by local and national party authorities.

I don't advocate tariffs and of course the Friedmans did not either (duh), but Milton did hesitate a little with the thought of the U.S. steel industry being eliminated, on the grounds of national defense.

I'm sorry I can't engage in debate today, but my work load as a very small business owner is out of control.

 
At 8/02/2012 4:12 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

givemefreedom

"The magic of trade is that it makes 1 plus 1 equal more that 2. In which countries persons A and B live is completely irrelevant. They are both better off after the trade."

Absolutely, and Friedman not only understood that, but more importantly was able to explain it in a way that made it obvious to anyone.

 
At 8/02/2012 5:56 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Buddy

"First, nice video Ron. I had never seen Mr. Friedman so fired up."

Even Uncle Milty had a limit to his tolerance of collectivist jerks.

He made it *very* clear that he valued the interests of the individual over the interests of the collective.

Thanks for the links, Buddy, good stuff. Actually the "Hong Kong Wrong" WSJ article is from Oct 2006. Gotta love this part:

"Mr. Tsang insists that he only wants the government to act "when there are obvious imperfections in the operation of the market mechanism." That ignores the reality that if there are any "obvious imperfections," the market will eliminate them long before Mr. Tsang gets around to it. Much more important are the "imperfections" -- obvious and not so obvious -- that will be introduced by overactive government. "

To bad. It was great while it lasted. Meddling is just too great a temptation for those in power. Apparently Cowperthwaite (could that be a real name?) was an anomaly.

"I don't advocate tariffs and of course the Friedmans did not either (duh), but Milton did hesitate a little with the thought of the U.S. steel industry being eliminated, on the grounds of national defense."

If you don't favor punching yourself in the face until someone changes their behavior (tariffs or quotas), how do you propose to influence the behavior of China?

Certainly each of us is "free to choose" to some extent who we do business with, and you might prefer to avoid doing business with people who live in China, but I hope you don't favor government policies that limit MY choices.

You must be aware that Hong Kong is the major trading partner of China, with a much larger percentage of their foreign trade than the US has with China, and they have prospered because of or despite that relationship, depending on your view.

The sole determinant of relative prosperity seems to be lack of government interference.

 
At 8/02/2012 9:52 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Of course that should be:

"Too bad, it was great while it lasted"

Not:

"To bad it was great while it lasted."

 

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