Milton Friedman

United States
31 Jul 1912 // 16 Nov 2006


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The real problem for any government coming to power is to control the civil servants. They will all explain why it is quite impossible to do things other than the way they are currently done.

Evening Standard (London) (1980)
The problem of social organization is how to set up an arrangement under which greed will do the least harm, capitalism is that kind of a system.
The greatest advances of civilization, whether in architecture or painting, in science and literature, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government.
The world runs on individuals pursuing their self interests. The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn't construct his theory under order from a, from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn't revolutionize the automobile industry that way.
Perfect competition is a theoretical concept like the Euclidean line, which has no width and no depth. Just as we've never seen that line there has never been truly free enterprise.

There's No Such Thing as a Free Lunch (1975)
If freedom were not so economically efficient it certainly wouldn't stand a chance.

Sayings of the Week, Observer (London) (1987)
What kind of society isn't structured on greed?

There's No Such Thing as a Free Lunch (1975)
Inflation is one form of taxation that can be imposed without legislation.

Observer (London) (1974)
We have a system that increasingly taxes work and subsidizes nonwork.
The only way that has ever been discovered to have a lot of people cooperate together voluntarily is through the free market. And that's why it's so essential to preserving individual freedom.
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On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."