30 Terrific Milton Friedman Quotes

Milton Friedman was a Nobel Memorial Prize winner and economist who is best known for his research on the stabilization policy. He also wrote multiple books about the theory of economy, including Capitalism and Freedom. Sadly, he passed away in 2006 at the age of 94. Here is a collection of some of his most notable quotes.

“Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.”

“Governments never learn. Only people learn.”

“History suggests that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom. Clearly it is not a sufficient condition.”

“I am in favor of cutting taxes under any circumstance and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it’s possible.”

“I say thank God for government waste. If government is doing bad things, it’s only the waste that prevents the harm from being greater.”


“If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.”

“I’m in favor of legalizing drugs. According to my values, if people want to kill themselves, they have every right to do so. Most of the harm that comes from drugs is because they are illegal.”

“Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon in the sense that it is and can be produced only by a more rapid increase in the quantity of money than in output.”

“Inflation is taxation without legislation.”

“Most economic fallacies derive from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.”

“Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.”

“One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.”

“Only a crisis, actual or perceived, produces real change.”

“Only government can take perfectly good paper, cover it with perfectly good ink and make the combination worthless.”

“Society doesn’t have values. People have values.”

“The black market was a way of getting around government controls. It was a way of enabling the free market to work. It was a way of opening up, enabling people.”

“The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.”

“The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit.”

“The only relevant test of the validity of a hypothesis is comparison of prediction with experience.”

“The problem in this world is to avoid concentration of power – we must have a dispersion of power.”

“The unions might be good for the people who are in the unions but it doesn’t do a thing for the people who are unemployed. Because the union keeps down the number of jobs, it doesn’t
do a thing for them.”

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

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

“They think that the cure to big government is to have bigger government… the only effective cure is to reduce the scope of government – get government out of the business.”

“Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.”

“Unfortunately, unanimity is not always feasible.”

“We have a system that increasingly taxes work and subsidizes nonwork.”

“When everybody owns something, nobody owns it, and nobody has a direct interest in maintaining or improving its condition. That is why buildings in the Soviet Union—like public
housing in the United States—look decrepit within a year or two of their construction.”

“With some notable exceptions, businessmen favor free enterprise in general but are opposed to it when it comes to themselves.”


This great video is an interview of Milton Friedman discussing his thoughts on the economy and greed in the world.

I hope you’ve loved these great Milton Friedman quotes.

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