Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Walter Block Has a Few Things to Say to Bernie Sanders about Milton Friedman

An article, written by Bernie Sanders in 2009, Milton Friedman: The Failed Prophet, has been republished by In These Times and has received considerable coverage in this second go round.

I asked Dr. Walter Block his thoughts on the paper which were written by his fellow high school track team member (They both graduated from James Madison High School in Brooklyn in 1959).

Below is Dr. Block's response:
Dear  Bob:

Here's my response:

Senator Bernie Sanders writes as if the U.S. of 2009 pretty much followed every public policy recommendation of Milton Friedman's. This is not at all true. Were it the case, we would have had unilaterally declared full free trade with all nations (no Nafta, no Cafta, etc.), no minimum wage at all, no rent control, no occupational licensure even for doctors, vouchers for all school children and a Fed limited to his 3% rule, no bailouts, none, for firms "too big to fail." Obviously, we do not now, or then, live in anything like that kind of world. If Senator Sanders wishes to criticize Milton Friedman, he should do his homework first.

If I were writing a critique of Bernie's policies, and followed the pattern he used against Milton Friedman, I'd have a ball! I'd say that thanks to the Senator from Vermont, we now have the economy of Cuba, or North Korea, or the USSR, or Venezuela, and it just isn't working well.

The problem with Milton Friedman was not that he favored capitalism too much, but, rather, too little. Bernie, you don't like Friedman's negative income tax, nor his voucher plan? Why ever not?

For a criticism of this Nobel Prize winning economist from a truly free enterprise point of view, see the following:

Berliner, 1995, 326; Block, 1969, 1999, 2003A, 2003B, 2006, 2010A, 2010B, 2011, 2013; Block and Barnett, 2012-2013; Freidman and Block, 2006; Friedman, 2000; Kinsella, 2009; Lind, 2012; Long, 2006; Marcus, 2007; McChesney, 1991; North, 2012;  Rothbard, 2002; Friedman and Block, 2006; Friedman and Block, 2006; Kinsella, 2009; Lind, 2012; Machan, 2010; Marcus, 2007; McChesney, 1991; North, 2012; Rand, undated; Rothbard, 2002; Sennholz, 2006; Vance, 1996, 2005; Wapshott, 2012; Wenzel, 2012; Wilcke, 1999

Berliner, Michael S., ed. 1995. Letters of Ayn Rand. New York, N.Y.: Dutton

Block, Walter E. 1969. “Against the Volunteer Military,” The Libertarian Forum, August 15, p. 4; http://www.mises.org/journals/lf/1969/1969_08_15.pdf

Block, Walter E. 1999. “The Gold Standard: A Critique of Friedman, Mundell, Hayek, Greenspan,” Managerial Finance, Vol. 25, No. 5, pp. 15-33; http://giorgio.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContainer.do?containerType=Issue&containerId=13529; http://www.mises.org/etexts/goldcritique.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2003A. "Private property rights, economic freedom, and Professor Coase: A Critique of Friedman, McCloskey, Medema and Zorn," Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 26, No. 3, Summer, pp. 923-951;

Block, Walter E. 2003B. "Private property rights, economic freedom, and Professor Coase: A Critique of Friedman, McCloskey, Medema and Zorn," Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 26, No. 3, Summer, pp. 923-951; http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_go2782/is_3_26/ai_n6640908/?tag=content

Block, Walter E. 2006. “Milton Friedman, RIP.” November 16.
http://www.mises.org/story/2393; http://blog.freeny.org/?p=818

Block, Walter E. 2010A. “Milton Friedman on Intolerance: A Critique.” Libertarian Papers; Vol. 2, No. 41; http://mises.org/daily/6208/Friedman-on-Intolerance-A-Critique;

Block, Walter E. 2010B. “Is Milton Friedman a libertarian? No.” Laissez-Faire, No. 32, pp. 9-22, March; http://fce.ufm.edu/Publicaciones/LaissezFaire/

Block, Walter E. 2011. "How Not To Defend the Market: A critique of Easton, Miron, Bovard, Friedman and Boudreaux.” Journal of Libertarian Studies; Vol. 22, pp. 581–592

Block, Walter E. 2013. “Was Milton Friedman a socialist” Management Education Science Technology Journal (MEST Journal); Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 11- 26; http://mest.meste.org/MEST_1_2013/_02.pdf;

Block, Walter E. and William Barnett II. 2012-2013. “Milton Friedman and the financial crisis,” American Review of Political Economy, Vol. 10, No. 1/2, June, 2012 – June 2013; pp. 2-17; http://www.ARPEJournal.com; http://arpejournal.com./ARPEvolume10number1-2/Block.pdf; arpejournal.com

Friedman, Milton and Walter E. Block. 2006. “Fanatical, Not Reasonable: A Short Correspondence Between Walter E. Block and Milton Friedman (on Friedrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom).” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 20, No. 3, Summer, pp. 61-80; http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/20_3/20_3_4.pdf; https://mises.org/system/tdf/20_3_4.pdf?file=1&type=document

Friedman, Milton. 2000. “Interview,” Commanding Heights. October 1http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/commandingheights/shared/minitextlo/int_miltonfriedman.html
States Milton Friedman: “In the middle of a debate on the subject of distribution of income, in which you had people who you would hardly call socialist or egalitarian -- people like Lionel Robbins, like George Stigler, like Frank Knight, like myself -- Mises got up and said, ‘You're all a bunch of socialists,’ and walked right out of the room.”

Long, Roderick T. 2006. “Realism and abstraction in economics: Aristotle and Mises versus Friedman.” The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics Vol. 9, No. 3, Fall, pp. 3–23; http://www.mises.org/journals/qjae/pdf/qjae9_3_1.pdf

Kinsella, Stephan. 2009. “Milton Friedman on Intolerance, Liberty, Mises, Etc.” November 9;

Lind, Michael. 2012 . « Thank you, Milton Friedman: How conservatives' economic hero helped make the case for big government.” August 7 ;

Machan, Tibor R. 2010. Milton Friedman and the Human Good, June 7http://mises.org/daily/4451/Milton-Friedman-and-the-Human-Good

Marcus, B. K. 2007. “The Tepid Movement Before Mises” April 12http://www.mises.org/story/2530

McChesney, Fred. 1991. "Antitrust and Regulation: Chicago's Contradictory Views," Cato Journal, Vol. 10, No. 3, Winter, pp. 775-778

North, Gary. 2012. “Detours on the Road to Freedom: Where Milton Friedman Went Wrong.”

Rand, Ayn. Undated. Her view on Friedman, and Stigler, 1946: “‘collectivist propaganda’ and ‘the most pernicious thing ever issued by an avowedly conservative organization’” cited in Skousen, Mark. 2001. The Making of Modern Economics. New York: M. E. Sharpe, p. 387; http://books.google.ca/books?id=QV2OJqbt45oC&pg=PA387&lpg=PA387&dq=%22the+most+pernicious+thing+ever+issued+by+an+avowedly+conservative+organization%22&source=web&ots=D-V4j_dhJA&sig=DZYoo1KjulTGviiR7kFGINFrbnY&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result

Friedman, Milton and George Stigler. 1946. “Roofs or Ceilings?,” September, Irvington-on-Hudson: Foundation for Economic Education, http://www.fee.org/library/books/Roofs_or_Ceilings.asp;reprinted as Friedman, Milton, and George Stigler. 1981. "Roofs or Ceilings?" in Rent Control: Myths and Realities, Walter E. Block and Edgar Olsen, eds., Vancouver: The Fraser Institute.

Rothbard, Murray N. 2002. “Milton Friedman Unraveled.” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 16, No. 4, Fall, pp. 37-54; http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/16_4/16_4_3.pdf

Sennholz Hans F. 2006. “Milton Friedman, 1912-2006,” December 16http://mises.org/story/2414

Vance, Laurence M. 1996. “Friedman’s Mistake.” The Free Market. Vol. 14, No. 11. November. http://www.mises.org/freemarket_detail.asp?control=158&sortorder=articledate

Vance, Laurence. 2005. “The Curse of the Withholding Tax” April 21;

Wapshott, Nicholas. 2012. “A Lovefest Between Milton Friedman and J.M. Keynes.” July 30; http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/07/30/nicholas-wapshott-a-lovefest-between-milton-friedman-and-j-m-keynes.html; “Libertarians worship Milton Friedman, and liberals lionize John Maynard Keynes. But a long-lost essay shows that the champion of small government admired the prince of the New Deal.”

Wenzel, Robert. 2012. “How Milton Friedman Helped Make the Case for Big Government.” August 9http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2012/08/how-milton-friedman-helped-make-case.html

Wilcke, Richard R. 1999. “An appropriate ethical model for business,
and a critique of Milton Friedman,” http://mises.org/journals/scholar/Ethics.PDF

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