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Milton Friedman

Geburtstag: 31. Juli 1912
Todesdatum: 16. November 2006

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Milton Friedman war ein US-amerikanischer Wirtschaftswissenschaftler, der fundamentale Arbeiten auf den Gebieten der Makroökonomie, der Mikroökonomie, der Wirtschaftsgeschichte und der Statistik verfasste. Er erhielt 1976 den Alfred-Nobel-Gedächtnispreis für Wirtschaftswissenschaften für seine Leistungen auf dem Gebiet der Analyse des Konsums, der Geschichte und der Theorie des Geldes und für seine Demonstration der Komplexität der Stabilitätspolitik. Friedman wird neben John Maynard Keynes als der einflussreichste Ökonom des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts angesehen.

Friedman, der sich selbst als klassischen Liberalen betrachtete, hob besonders die Vorteile eines freien Marktes und die Nachteile staatlicher Eingriffe hervor. Seine Grundhaltung kommt in seinem Bestseller Kapitalismus und Freiheit zum Ausdruck. Darin forderte er die Minimierung der Rolle des Staates, um politische und gesellschaftliche Freiheit zu fördern. In seiner Fernsehserie Free to Choose, die PBS im Jahre 1980 sendete, erklärte Friedman die Funktionsweisen des freien Marktes und unterstrich besonders, dass andere wirtschaftliche Systeme die sozialen und politischen Probleme einer Gesellschaft nicht adäquat lösen könnten.

Friedman war Professor an der University of Chicago. Er war Schüler von Frank Knight. Der Rechtswissenschaftler David D. Friedman ist sein Sohn, Patri Friedman sein Enkel.

Zitate Milton Friedman

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„Mit einigen rühmlichen Ausnahmen, sind Geschäftsleute für die freie Marktwirtschaft im allgemeinen, aber dagegen wenn es um sie selbst geht.“

— Milton Friedman
Lecture "The Suicidal Impulse of the Business Community" (1983); cited in Filters Against Folly (1985) by Garrett Hardin ISBN 067080410X

„I am in favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it's possible.“

— Milton Friedman
Context: I am in favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it's possible. … because I believe the big problem is not taxes, the big problem is spending. I believe our government is too large and intrusive, that we do not get our money's worth for the roughly 40 percent of our income that is spent by government … How can we ever cut government down to size? I believe there is one and only one way: the way parents control spendthrift children, cutting their allowance. For government, that means cutting taxes. As quoted in Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and other big government Republicans hijacked the conservative cause (2006) by Richard A Viguerie, p. 46 <!-- similar to statement previously dated (16 September 2003) — but linked page indicates[http://www.rightwingnews.com/interviews/friedman.php "interview" by John Hawkins dated 25 February 2012] : I am in favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it's possible. … because I believe the big problem is not taxes, the big problem is spending. The question is, "How do you hold down government spending?" Government spending now amounts to close to 40% of national income not counting indirect spending through regulation and the like. If you include that, you get up to roughly half. The real danger we face is that number will creep up and up and up. The only effective way I think to hold it down, is to hold down the amount of income the government has. The way to do that is to cut taxes. -->

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„The case for is exactly as strong and as weak as the case for prohibiting people from overeating. We all know that overeating causes more deaths than drugs do.“

— Milton Friedman
Context: The proper role of government is exactly what John Stuart Mill said in the middle of the 19th century in On Liberty. The proper role of government is to prevent other people from harming an individual. Government, he said, never has any right to interfere with an individual for that individual's own good. The case for is exactly as strong and as weak as the case for prohibiting people from overeating. We all know that overeating causes more deaths than drugs do. If it's in principle OK for the government to say you must not consume drugs because they'll do you harm, why isn't it all right to say you must not eat too much because you'll do harm? Why isn't it all right to say you must not try to go in for skydiving because you're likely to die? Why isn't it all right to say, "Oh, skiing, that's no good, that's a very dangerous sport, you'll hurt yourself"? Where do you draw the line?

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

— Milton Friedman
Context: It's nice to elect the right people, but that isn't the way you solve things. The way you solve things is by making it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right things. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ac9j15eig_w About changing congress] (c. 1977)

„The existence of a free market does not of course eliminate the need for government.“

— Milton Friedman
Context: 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. Ch. 1 The Relation Between Economic Freedom and Political Freedom, 2002 edition, page 15

„The free man will ask neither what his country can do for him nor what he can do for his country. He will ask rather "What can I and my compatriots do through government" to help us discharge our individual responsibilities, to achieve our several goals and purposes, and above all, to protect our freedom?“

— Milton Friedman
Context: The free man will ask neither what his country can do for him nor what he can do for his country. He will ask rather "What can I and my compatriots do through government" to help us discharge our individual responsibilities, to achieve our several goals and purposes, and above all, to protect our freedom? And he will accompany this question with another: How can we keep the government we create from becoming a Frankenstein that will destroy the very freedom we establish it to protect? Freedom is a rare and delicate plant. Our minds tell us, and history confirms, that the great threat to freedom is the concentration of power. Government is necessary to preserve our freedom, it is an instrument through which we can exercise our freedom; yet by concentrating power in political hands, it is also a threat to freedom. Even though the men who wield this power initially be of good will and even though they be not corrupted by the power they exercise, the power will both attract and form men of a different stamp. Introduction

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„Unfortunately, unanimity is not always feasible.“

— Milton Friedman
Context: The political principle that underlies the is unanimity. In an ideal free market resting on private property, no individual can coerce any other, all cooperation is voluntary, all parties to such cooperation benefit or they need not participate. There are no values, no "social" responsibilities in any sense other than the shared values and responsibilities of individuals. Society is a collection of individuals and of the various groups they voluntarily form. The political principle that underlies the political mechanism is conformity. The individual must serve a more general social interest — whether that be determined by a church or a dictator or a majority. The individual may have a vote and say in what is to be done, but if he is overruled, he must conform. It is appropriate for some to require others to contribute to a general whether they wish to or not. Unfortunately, unanimity is not always feasible. There are some respects in which conformity appears unavoidable, so I do not see how one can avoid the use of the political mechanism altogether. "The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits" in The New York Times Magazine (13 September 1970)

„To the free man, the country is the collection of individuals who compose it, not something over and above them.“

— Milton Friedman
Context: To the free man, the country is the collection of individuals who compose it, not something over and above them. He is proud of a common heritage and loyal to common traditions. But he regards government as a means, an instrumentality, neither a grantor of favors and gifts, nor a master or god to be blindly worshipped and served. Introduction

„Hell hath no fury like a bureaucrat scorned.“

— Milton Friedman
Context: In this day and age, we need to revise the old saying to read, "Hell hath no fury like a bureaucrat scorned." "Bureaucracy Scorned" in Newsweek (29 December 1975), later published in Bright Promises, Dismal Performance : An Economist's Protest (1983)

„There's a sense in which all taxes are antagonistic to free enterprise … and yet we need taxes.“

— Milton Friedman
Context: There's a sense in which all taxes are antagonistic to free enterprise … and yet we need taxes. We have to recognize that we must not hope for a Utopia that is unattainable. I would like to see a great deal less government activity than we have now, but I do not believe that we can have a situation in which we don't need government at all. We do need to provide for certain essential government functions — the national defense function, the police function, preserving law and order, maintaining a judiciary. So the question is, which are the least bad taxes? In my opinion the least bad tax is the property tax on the unimproved value of land, the Henry George argument of many, many years ago. As quoted in The Times Herald, Norristown, Pennsylvania (1 December 1978)

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