Milton Friedman

Part of the "Critiques of Libertarianism" site.

Last updated 03/18/09.

Milton Friedman was perhaps the most brilliant and productive libertarian ever.

He strongly challenged Keynsianism, helped to invent the payroll withholding tax system. was an intellectual leader of the Chicago School, and swayed the economic policies of Reagan, Thatcher, and Pinochet.

Paul Krugman provides a really good overview in Who Was Milton Friedman? in The New York Review Of Books. He writes: "Moreover, Friedman's effectiveness as a popularizer and propagandist rested in part on his well-deserved reputation as a profound economic theorist. But there's an important difference between the rigor of his work as a professional economist and the looser, sometimes questionable logic of his pronouncements as a public intellectual... Friedman's laissez-faire absolutism contributed to an intellectual climate in which faith in markets and disdain for government often trumps the evidence." The last section of the article has some stern criticism of Friedman's popularization.


NEW 4/07: Milton Friedman's Hong Kong Misconceptions
This AsiaSentinel article points out that Friedman ignored four major areas of socialism in Hong Kong: subsidized housing, free medical care, free education, and external security provided by another nation.
NEW 7/07: Maxspeak Does Milton Friedman Day
"Today we discuss Milton Friedman's leading contributions to economic thought, under the general theme, How Somebody So Well-Regarded Was Oh So Wrong."
NEW 11/07: This Choir Does The Preaching!
The Milton Friedman choir sings of how corporations are amoral and have no choice, so let us rejoice in privatization. Bizarre!
NEW 2/08: Shleifer the (Counter-)Revolutionary
Dani Rodrik ridicules Andrei Shleifer's "Age of Milton Friedman" triumphalism, pointing out how the evidence is misused.
NEW 3/09: Milton Friedman - Economist/Intellectual Prostitute
Shaun Snapp's condemnation of Milton Friedman for shilling for corporate interests in maximizing their profits at the expense of the rest of us.
NEW 3/09: Milton Friedman: a study in failure
Friedman's most successful influence in government policy was one he regretted: creating the withholding tax.

Print References

The links here are to, through their associates program, primarily because of the review information. Books without links are generally out of print, and can often be easily found at AddAll Used and Out Of Print Search. Good sites for bargain shopping for sometimes expensive new books are Online Bookstore Price Comparison and AddAll Book Search and Price Comparison. Both of those list applicable coupons. Another is

Harry Brighouse "Justice (Key Concepts)"
Contains 20 pages of criticism of Friedman and Nozick's ideas of justice.
Peter G. Brown "Restoring Public Trust"
A progressive refutation and alternative to Milton Friedman's "Free To Choose".
Elton Rayack "Not So Free To Choose"
An extensive criticism of Milton Friedman's economic and social philosophy.
John Cunningham Wood and Ronald N. Woods "Milton Friedman: critical assessments"
Routledge 1990.

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Copyright 2007 by Mike Huben ( ).
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