[Previous] Beyond Criticism? | Home | [Next] Mises on Force and Persuasion

Milton Friedman was a Statist

Now you know.



In the interview, he expresses disagreement with Ayn Rand and her view that the State is bad because it uses force against its citizens. He does not provide any argument that she's mistaken, or that his view is better.

Milton also, for example, advocated a negative income tax. That means if you contribute a sufficiently small amount to the economy then the State takes money by force from other citizens and gives it to you.

The purpose of this post is simply to inform people about how a libertarian icon is a blatant Statist. (And, by the way, he's not the only one.)

Elliot Temple on April 9, 2010

Messages (3)

Milton Friedman was Keynesian

Are you just being snarky?

It all depends on how you define statism.

I have no idea what your views are on this issue based on what you've written here, but I'd be happy to share a little of my own.

There are some important differences between -- say Hayek and Friedman:


Also, Murray N. Rothbard, who was clearly a justificationist in his methodology, does make a lot of interesting points about Milton Friedman here:


I consider the biggest issue these days monetary policy. I very much agree with Hayek on these issues as best I can understand them. Even Friedman has said he isn't necessarily *against* the gold standard. Perhaps he has endorsed it somewhere? But he seems to use a faulty methodology (which he considers Popperian) to endorse government control of currency -- or at least to make it seem like a viable option, when really it isn't.

If the government had to fund itself via some type of free market based currency (gold, silver, oil, shares of Coca-cola ... whatever), it would have a far more difficult time maintaining expensive governmental programs than it does now. Because it would have to tax more directly. So while with one hand Milton Friedman delivers arguments for the free market, with the other he efficiently argues for a national monopoly of money, which is the primary enabler of big government. So he seems to me to be an odd friend of libertarianism -- which I presume means small government.

Matt D. at 2:18 PM on April 10, 2010 | #2030 | reply | quote

No, not snarky. And no it doesn't depend how you define Statism. Milton had positions on issues, and they can be expressed whatever terminology you use.

Some people have not read anything by Milton Friedman and instead go by his reputation. His reputation is misleading, and dispelling it is informative.

You mention Hayek. Hayek was a statist too, by the way. e.g. he advocated a guaranteed minimum income be taken, by force, by the State, from some people, for the benefit of others.

Elliot at 3:21 PM on April 10, 2010 | #2031 | reply | quote

I wasn't sure if you were making a statement that Friedman was a statist or if you were poking fun at the claim Friedman was a statist. That's why I asked if you were being snarky.

If you were poking fun at the claim, then I thought you might have a different idea of statism in mind. However, as you accept the claim, then your view is probably at least similar enough to mine that there's not much of a debate here.

Matt D. at 7:46 PM on April 10, 2010 | #2032 | reply | quote

Want to discuss this? Join my forum.

(Due to multi-year, sustained harassment from David Deutsch and his fans, commenting here requires an account. Accounts are not publicly available. Discussion info.)