Friday, November 17, 2006

Today we lost one of the greatest economists of all times

The following lines about Milton Friedman should say a lot about his principles, even for non-economists:

In 1962, Mr. Friedman took on President John F. Kennedy’s popular inaugural exhortation: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” In an introduction to his classic book “Capitalism and Freedom,” a collection of his writings and lectures, he said President Kennedy had got it wrong: You should ask neither.
“What your country can do for you,” Mr. Friedman said, implies that the government is the patron, the citizen the ward; and “what you can do for your country” assumes that the government is the master, the citizen the servant. Rather, he said, you should ask, “What I and my compatriots can do through government to help discharge our individual responsibilities, to achieve our several goals and purposes, and above all protect our freedom.”

Read more in the New York Times obituary from today. And see also an article Greg Mankiw wrote about Milton Friedman back in 1998.

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