Mark Your Calendars (Jan. 29) for “Milton Friedman Day”

It’s true: one week from today, it will be Milton Friedman Day, “a day of national celebration and remembrance of Friedman’s life and his influence on American society and economic systems.” It will feature, among many other things, a day of web-based discussion hosted by The Economist; debates and discussion at various universities; and a national PBS broadcast of The Power of Choice: The Life and Ideas of Milton Friedman.

Friedman has turned up pretty reliably in various postings of this blog (type in his name in the search box to the right, and you’ll find them). FWIW, here are a couple of passages that caught my eye in an appreciation of Friedman by David J. Craig, published in the current edition of Columbia University’s alumni magazine. (Although Friedman is most vividly associated with the Univ. of Chicago, he received his PhD. from Columbia in 1946.) Consider them an appetizer to the Friedman feast to follow in a week:

Friedman was a free-market proponent from his days at Morningside Heights. His Columbia dissertation, “Income From Independent Professional Practice,” published as a book in 1945 with his thesis advisor Simon Kuznets [who would win the Nobel Prize in economics in 1971], argued that the American Medical Association had the power of a governmental regulatory body and that it artificially limited the number of licensed physicians in order to boost doctors’ profits. This increased patient costs, Friedman and Kuznets said, and hurt the quality of care.”

— “What most people really object to when they object to a free market is that it is so hard for them to shape it to their own will,” Friedman wrote in 1961 in “The New Liberal’s Creed.” “The market gives people what the people want instead of what other people think they ought to want. At the bottom of many criticisms of the market economy is really a lack of belief in freedom itself.


mgroves

No way! It's also my birthday as well. How fortuitous!

dan

whoa. my birthday too.

my 30th, actually...

micahclemens

This is really strange. Next Monday is also my birthday, my 24th...

unroyal

One of my heroes. By the way, it's not may birthday.

denny hare

To prior posts, Who really care when your birthdays are. You really need to find yourselves some friends, maybe each other.
Now about the article. There is no such thing as a free market economy, especially in todays market. Some one is always looking for leverage to capture an advantage. It is interesting how George's war has helped to unify our nieghbor to the south in their struggle against the corporate greed that has been suffocating them for decades. I would like to hear from you as to your thoughts on how economics and politics has helped to shape the worlds religions. Such as the influence that people like Constantine, St.Augustine, King James and others have have had in shaping doctrine and dogma.

dan

wow.

gee, fella. i hope you feel better about yourself now that you've showed us all how we should all see things your way.

lermit

I knew that the Empire of Milton Friedman would come to a crashing en and that his day would come. Reminds me of a modernity stint I had at Uni, it was a course on the idea of the market and of markets during the last three centuries. It came out as a bogus way of getting ideas for my tenure promotion, but then, I was teaching it so I set the example. The students liked it. Except one, he said that the market would never be free, that's why he had to steal it for himself.

Moral of the story: don't trust a market that sells itself as the one and only free market.

.lermit

lermit

Meaning 'crashing end'

Andy from Houston

Monopoly!

egretman

At the bottom of many criticisms of the market economy is really a lack of belief in freedom itself

Yes, finally someone said it. Regulation is the great evil. Why shouldn't I be able to pollute the river through my property? Won't the free market take care of the downstream problems?

For instance, my downstream neighbors may pay me NOT to pollute. I would get more money...good.

Or a rich company might buy my property at an exobitant price in order to collect the above "pollution" payments as a steady stream of income. I would get more money...good.

Ahhhhh.....the ivory tower is so much fun.

lpennock

In Nashville the PBS special "The Power of Choice" is airing at 2:00am Tuesday morning. Where's the love? Thankfully, I have TiVo.

fredamerican

Will Freidman's ideas stand the test of time? Why don't we have a day for Keynes, or Ricardo?

Remember this about Freidman, his ideas may be ideal on paper, but I live on food and air. I'd like every meal I eat and every breath I take to be ideal, because I know that they could easily be tainted. I take little comfort knowing that an economics professor, albeit a Nobel prize winning one, espouses a free market system that without regulation many things could fall apart.

Yet would he defend such a system if it was determined that the best way (most efficient) to produce a meal was by using tainted meat?

freethinker

"egretman" has got to be one of the worst posters I have ever come across. If anyone ever needs a source of meaningless, trite b.s., just ask egretman for his/her opinion.

Has anyone else noticed this?

Bennet Cecil

Peter S. Goodman's article today suggests flaws in Milton Friedman's promotion of small government and loosely regulated markets. Our housing crunch is the natural correction of unsustainable growth in the price of houses. The housing bubble was enabled by government regulators pushing interest rates so low that capital was almost free. Our fiscal and monetary choices will cause high unemployment, inflation, and severe economic contraction.

Edward

Milton Friedman considered the problem of pollution an exception to the perfection of markets. He supported taxing pollution, so that markets can price in pollution, give pollution a cost so that businesses will control it. Liberals(and probably a lot of Bush republicans) think this is a whacked idea. They act as if when you tax something you get more of it.
(Bush republicans, what a concept. as in Bush league.)

ashleenlor

below system alternative home present

mgroves

No way! It's also my birthday as well. How fortuitous!

dan

whoa. my birthday too.

my 30th, actually...

micahclemens

This is really strange. Next Monday is also my birthday, my 24th...

unroyal

One of my heroes. By the way, it's not may birthday.