Yesterday was the 100th anniversary of Milton Friedman’s day of birth. The Wall Street Journal ran a laudatory article on him.
This year is the 100th anniversary of Ludwig von Mises’ Theory of Money and Credit. There has been no article in the Wall Street Journal. The Mises Institute took my advice and held several sessions on that book at its March week-long Austrian Scholars Conference. A book on that book will be published next year. Few people in academia and the financial media will notice.
This reflects the shape this nation is in: bad.
It reminds us once again: halfway measures don’t change anything. They only slow things down. Too often they deflect and confuse. This was the case with Friedman from beginning to end.
Let’s survey the article.
In the 1960s, Friedman famously explained that “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” If the government spends a dollar, that dollar has to come from producers and workers in the private economy. There is no magical “multiplier effect” by taking from productive Peter and giving to unproductive Paul. As obvious as that insight seems, it keeps being put to the test.
This was a direct assault on Keynes. Yet Friedman never directly confronted Keynes. He never wrote a comprehensive critique of Keynes. He even declared, famously, “We are all Keynesians now” in Time magazine in late 1965. He referred to methodology, but that was a crucial admission of defeat.
Read More at lewrockwell.com. By Gary North.
Photo Credit: Peter Guo (Creative Commons)
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