Wisdom Meets Design: Inspiring Quotes From Milton Friedman

Hailed as the godfather of conservative libertarianism, Milton Friedman quotes openly attacked Keynesianism in an era when most economists widely accepted its fundamental premises.

Friedman won the 1976 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences “for his achievements in the fields of consumption analysis, monetary history and theory and for his demonstration of the complexity of stabilization policy.” As a leader of the Chicago school of economics he taught several of the country’s future preeminent economists including Gary Becker, Robert Fogel, and Thomas Sowell.

Although Friedman approved of some aspects of the New Deal which he deemed suitable responses to the Great Depression, he opposed its regulation of both prices and wages. This opposition would color much of Friedman’s later stance on government intervention.

Friedman continued working for the government as a mathematical weapons statistician throughout the Second World War. When peace resumed he earned his doctorate from Columbia University and accepted a position at the University of Chicago where he would remain for 30 years. During his tenure Friedman wrote several influential books including A Theory of the Consumption Function and Capitalism and Freedom in which he laid out his groundbreaking theories.

Friedman developed the permanent income hypothesis, which holds that changes in a person’s permanent income – their expected long-term average income – predicts their consumption habits far more reliably then their current income could alone. This hypotheses was formative in helping economists predict how consumers would stabilize their spending, and furthermore a blatant contradiction to Keynesian theory.

While he acknowledged the role of government in the monetary system, Friedman believed the Federal Reserve’s historically poor performance begged its replacement by a computer algorithm. He also advocated for floating exchange rates, the implementation of school choice and school vouchers, abolishing a system of conscription which he deemed inequitable and arbitrary, and the adoption of an anti-interventionist foreign policy.

Although a member of the Republican party who advised both Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, Friedman always espoused libertarian philosophical principles. He was soundly in favor of legalizing drugs, prostitution, and homosexuality, and while he was also in favor of immigration for its economic benefits he opposed immigrants’ access to the welfare system.

Friedman worked right up until the age of 94. Like Charles Schultz, his final work appeared in newspapers the day following his death.

Milton Friedman Quotes on Greed, Freedom, Socialism, and More

Milton Friedman quotes

  • “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.”
  • “I am favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it’s possible.”
  • “Inflation is caused by too much money chasing after too few goods.”


Merch Inspired By Milton Friedman

Milton Friedman Design


Have you come to Libertas Bella looking for an economist who didn’t advocate for a free market? Fat chance. Milton Friedman was the economic system’s biggest fan, and if anyone tried to sass him about his position he could simply ask them if they had a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.

Friedman was a fierce opponent of Keynesian economics, which hold that the government has an obligation to ferry capitalism through periods of recession. He channeled Adam Smith as he rebuked Keynes’ position, asserting that the free market does not in fact require propping up by any horde of bureaucrats with no skin in the game. While world leaders are typically loathe to relinquish power, Friedman found willing audiences in Reagan and Thatcher and helped to shape Western economic policy as we know it today.

As a leader of the Chicago school of economics, Friedman fostered an academic environment that gave rise to scholars capable of rebuking the East Coast schools’ liberal ideals. He thought little of the Federal Reserve and championed its replacement by a computer algorithm. In his cavalcade of scholarly articles he argued for giving people more freedom – allowing school choice, abolishing the draft, and ceasing military intervention abroad.

Had Friedman ever actually tried smoking marijuana? It is highly unlikely. Pot smokers are seldom able to tie their neckties as immaculately as Friedman did. But a libertarian to his core, he opposed the war on drugs so that Americans might one day properly enjoy Steely Dan records without breaking the law.

Summarizing the life’s work of a man like Milton Friedman is like trying to catch Niagara Falls in a drinking glass. Nearly every modern libertarian ideal echoes his thoughts in some way. And now, finally, you can wear his handsome mug on a T-shirt or sweatshirt!

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