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Top 300 Milton Friedman Quotes (2023 Update)
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Milton Friedman Quote: “What you have as a result of past policies is that German entrepreneurs go outside of Germany for many of their activities. They are investing abroad instead of at home because there isn’t the openness, fluidity and opportunity they find outside their borders.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “How do you hold down government spending?”
Milton Friedman Quote: “Everywhere, and at all times, economic progress has meant far more to the poor than to the rich.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “Prohibition is an attempted cure that makes matters worse – for both the addict and the rest of us.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “In the modern world, tariffs and similar restrictions on trade have been one source of friction among nations. But a far more troublesome source has been the far-reaching intervention of the state into the economy in such collectivist states as Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, and Franco’s Spain, and especially the communist countries, from Russia and its satellites to China.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “Nor do the spokesmen for these organizations ever explain why, if the public school system is doing such a splendid job, it needs to fear competition from nongovernmental, competitive schools or, if it isn’t, why anyone should object to its “destruction.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “Here, too, we tend to be schizophrenic. We would all like to see government spending go down, provided it is not spending that benefits us. We would all like to see deficits reduced, provided it is through taxes imposed on others.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “The state of our educational system is a disgrace to our country. We have an elementary and secondary school system in which close to half of the youngsters never graduate properly. It’s a disgrace that there is more illiteracy today than there was 100 years ago.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “What would the people who sold us goods do with the money? They’d get dollars. What would they do with the dollars? Eat them?!”
Milton Friedman Quote: “On the contrary, the inflation itself is partly a response to the reaction. As it has become politically less attractive to vote higher taxes to pay for higher spending, legislators have resorted to financing spending through inflation, a hidden tax that can be imposed without having been voted, taxation without representation. That is no more popular in the twentieth century than it was in the eighteenth.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “It all would have been much better if individuals saved for their own old age.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “I’d like to promote lots of things. I’d like to promote elimination of drug prohibition. I’d like to promote parental choice in education through vouchers. Those are two things I think are very urgent and important. They’re both more important than the harm which Social Security will do.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “I believe the role that people like myself have played in the transformation of public opinion has been by persistently presenting a different point of view, a point of view which stresses the importance of private markets, of individual freedom, and the distorting effect of governmental policy.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “Given greater freedom about where to send their children, parents of a kind would flock together and so prevent a healthy intermingling of children from decidedly different backgrounds.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “Another social problem is the high cost of housing and the destruction of housing. The North Bronx looks like the pictures recently coming from Yugoslavia of areas that have been shelled. There is no doubt what the cause is: rent control in the city of New York, both directly and via the government taking over many dwelling units because rent control prevented owners from keeping them up.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “Every businessman is in favor of freedom for everybody else, but when it comes to himself that’s a different question. He’s always the special case. He ought to get special privileges from the government, a tariff, this, that and the other thing.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “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.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “I think in some ways it would make more sense to have as a poverty level a relative concept and say, the level of poverty is that level of income or that level of consumption below which 10 percent of the people now are.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “The preservation of freedom is the protective reason for limiting and decentralizing governmental power.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “I believe that the monetary stability is an absolutely critical element in the satisfactory operation of a system.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “That is why, as Adam Smith put it, an individual who “intends only his own gain” is “led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “The collapse of communism in essence added tens and tens of millions of people to the world labor supply, and the people who were added had previously been getting very low income, but they were not unskilled. Many of them were fairly well educated.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “The argument for collectivism is simple; free market is not.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “By relying primarily on voluntary co-operation and private enterprise, in both economic and other activities, we can insure that the private sector is a check on the powers of the governmental sector and an effective protection of freedom of speech, of religion, and of thought.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “You mustn’t judge a politician by talk. You have to judge them by performance.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “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 Quote: “Self-interest is not myopic selfishness. It is whatever it is that interests the participants, whatever they value, whatever goals they pursue. The scientist seeking to advance the frontiers of his discipline, the missionary seeking to convert infidels to the true faith, the philanthropist seeking to bring comfort to the needy – all are pursuing their interests, as they see them, as they judge them by their own values.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “Only people have incomes and they derive them through the market from the resources they own, whether these be in the form of corporate stock, or of bonds, or of land, or of their personal capacity.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “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.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “We regard the minimum wage rate as one of the most, if not the most, antiblack laws on the statute books. The government first provides schools in which many young people, disproportionately black, are educated so poorly that they do not have the skills that would enable them to get good wages. It then penalizes them a second time by preventing them from offering to work for low wages as a means of inducing employers to give them on-the-job training. All this is in the name of helping the poor.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “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.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “As a nation, we have been responsible for the murder of literally hundreds of thousands of people at home and abroad by fighting a war that should never have been started and can be won, if at all, only by converting the United States into a police state.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “You can travel from one end of the industrialized world to the other and almost the only people you will find engaging in backbreaking toil are people who are doing it for sport. To find people whose day’s toil has not been lightened by mechanical invention, you must go to the non-capitalist world.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “Personal freedom has grown greatly within China, and that will provoke ever more points of conflict between the individual and state.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “The most unresolved problem of the day is precisely the problem that concerned the founders of this nation: how to limit the scope and power of government. Tyranny, restrictions on human freedom, come primarily from governmental restrictions that we ourselves have set up.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “No central banker would disagree with the proposition that inflation is primarily a monetary phenomenon. Not one of them will disagree that every inflation has been accompanied by a rapid increase in the quantity of money and every deflation by a decline in the quantity of money.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “The argument for the free market is a complicated and sophisticated one and depends on demonstration of secondary effects. I have confidence market efficiency will win out.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “To the best of my knowledge, there has never been a monetary union, putting out a fiat currency, composed of independent states.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “There is a connection, and a close connection, for most unions most of the time. However, there are enough cases of union officials acting to benefit themselves at the expense of their members, both in legal ways and by misuse and misappropriation of union funds, to warn against the automatic equating of the interests of “labor unions” with the interests of “labor union members,” let alone with the interests of labor as a whole.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “The nineteenth-century liberal regarded an extension of freedom as the most effective way to promote welfare and equality; the twentieth-century liberal regards welfare and equality as either prerequisites of or alternatives to freedom.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “It is ironic that the Great Depression was produced by government but was blamed on the private enterprise system. The Federal Reserve System explained in its 1933 annual report how much worse things would have been if the Federal Reserve had not behaved so well, yet the Federal Reserve was the chief culprit in making the depression as deep as it was. So the government produced the depression, the private enterprise system got blamed for it, and there was a tremendous change in attitudes.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “I do not believe there is a natural resource economics. I believe there is good economics and bad economics.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “Government actions often provide substantial benefits to a few while imposing small costs on many.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “I think almost every economist would agree that government gets itself in trouble when it tries to interfere with voluntary behavior.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “The Soviet experience was much worse than experts in the West had thought. That discovery had a tremendous impact both on the intellectual community and on the public at large.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “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.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “Believers in aristocracy and socialism share a faith in centralized rule, in rule by command rather than by voluntary cooperation.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “In fiscal policy as in monetary policy, all political considerations aside, we simply do not know enough to be able to use deliberate changes in taxation or expenditures as a sensitive stabilizing mechanism.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “The existence of a free market does not of course eliminate the need for government. On the contrary, government is essential both as a forum for determining the “rule of the game” and as an umpire to interpret and enforce the rules decided on.”
Milton Friedman Quote: “We do not influence the course of events by persuading people that we are right when we make what they regard as radical proposals. Rather, we exert influence by keeping options available when something has to be done at a time of crisis.”
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