Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Why This Push Toward Milton Friedman?

Should Milton Firedman be a libertarian's cup of tea?

Dr. Walter Block responds to an inquiry from  Sadaf Hussain of the Centre for Civil Society, New Dehli :

Dear Sadaf:

Why this push toward Milton Friedman? If you read only one of these, read the one by Rothbard.

Block, 1999, 2003, 2010, 2011, 2013; Block and Barnett, 2012-2013; McChesney, 1991; Rothbard, 2002; Friedman and Block, 2006; Friedman and Block, 2006;  Lind, 2012; Machan, 2010; McChesney, 1991; North, 2012; Rothbard, 2002; Vance, 2005; Wapshott, 2012; Wenzel, 2012; Wilcke, 1999

Block, Walter E. 2013. “Was Milton Friedman a socialist” Management Education Science Technology Journal (MEST Journal); Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 11- 26;;

Block, Walter E. 1999. “The Gold Standard: A Critique of Friedman, from the free enterprise perspective, Greenspan,” Managerial Finance, Vol. 25, No. 5, pp. 15-33;;

Block, Walter E. 2003. "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. 2010. “Milton Friedman on Intolerance: A Critique.” Libertarian Papers; Vol. 2, No. 41;;

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. 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;;;

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;

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 7

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.”

Rothbard, Murray N. 2002. “Milton Friedman Unraveled.” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 16, No. 4, Fall, pp. 37-54;

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

Wapshott, Nicholas. 2012. “A Lovefest Between Milton Friedman and J.M. Keynes.” July 30
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 9

Wilcke, Richard R. 1999. “An appropriate ethical model for business,
and a critique of Milton Friedman,”

Best regards,


Walter E. Block, Ph.D.
Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics
Joseph A. Butt, S.J. College of Business
Loyola University New Orleans


  1. Sir Rees-Mogg said it beautifully in The Times of December
    12, 1979:
    “Gold is a possession and not a promise. A
    government that owns an ounce of gold does not have
    to ask the United States or anyone for permission to
    cash it. The gold supply is finite; that is its monetary
    Milton Friedman and his monetarist followers came later.
    They pretended to be free-market oriented, but in the most important
    aspect of economic life – money – they were interventionists.
    Central banks are a statist innovation and are not compatible with a
    free market. Monetarists favored floating exchange rates instead of
    fixed exchange rates, and advocated the need for increasing the
    money supply at some regular rate. According to them, that would
    solve most problems.
    “Keynesianism and Friedmanism are simply
    20th century versions of John Law. Their appeal is
    that by ignoring the discipline of convertibility into
    gold, and deliberately printing paper money at some
    economist or politician-minded rate we can somehow
    cheat nature and get something for nothing, eliminate
    the business cycle, and ensure perpetual full
    employment prosperity – without ever taking our
    lumps. It means, of course, that some economist – or
    council of economists – serving a politically-oriented
    government and not risking his own money and
    judgement in the marketplace, knows so much about
    the workings of the economy that he, in his John Law
    wisdom, can decide what monetary, fiscal, tax, trade,
    price, income, or what-have-you policy is best for all
    the rest of us, and can thus fine-tune our great

    Gold Wars, Ferdinand Lips

  2. Dear Mr Block,

    I read all the articles that you suggested. I remember having this discussion with you last year. I do agree with the papers/articles that you have suggested. But for my clarification, I just want to ask, isn't the idea of classical liberalism to have a limited role of government. The end goal to should be no government and force, but shuoldn't we first start with limiting the role of government.