Friday, January 24, 2020

Walter Block Says Milton Friedman Was a Socialist and Twitter Erupts

Dr. Walter Block has a legitimate case for calling Milton Friedman a socialist in the sense that Friedman was a supporter of many central planning schemes, including a call for the Federal Reserve to print a fixed amount of money every year out of thin air.

Twitter has erupted, but no one discusses Dr. Block's points, it is all ad hominem attacks against him.

Just take a look at this sorry thread.



  1. He supported some socialist policies, it's true. But being a socialist isn't a fine line; I don't know where the tipping point is, where one is suddenly a socialist.
    It's like being a racist: It's a sliding scale, from one end (stepping to the other side of the street when you see black people coming; assuming white people are racist; making racial jokes; believing that blacks can't be racist) to the other extreme end (believing in the innate superiority and inferiority of certain races; advocating for an inconsistent application of the law based on race; genocide).

  2. Block is being a provocateur. By the standards of Anarcho-Capitalism, every one is a socialist except for Walter and others that are like minded.

    But to lump,by implication, Milton Friedman in the same category as Oscar Lange, John Kenneth Galbraith, Paul Sweezy or Richard Wolff is ridiculous.

  3. Old news. von Mises called Friedman a socialist many years ago. The fact that Friedman assisted the federal government in implementing the payroll tax, forcing all employers into the role of tax collector is evidence enough that he was a socialist. He was the worst kind. He used the rhetoric of the free market but his actions were socialist.

    1. And FA Hayek and Wilhelm Rokpe called for even more intervention than Friedman did. Hayek's Constitution of Liberty is much more socialistic than Friedman's Capitalism and Freedom. But waiting to hear Austrians call Hayek "socialist"

      I am not suggesting there are not legitimate points of differences but why some Austrians have this obsession with Friedman when there are plenty of other fire worse targets to focus on makes me think something else is at work here.

      Case in point. Economically, politically and methologically Gary Becker was 100 percent in line with Milton Friedman. But Walter has always been very respectful of Gary Becker and to my knowledge has never written a paper 'Why Gary Becker is a Socialist".

      Somewhere down the road Milton Friedman must have offended or slighted Murray Rothbard and Murray's acolytes haven't ever forgiven him.

  4. Unfortunately for Block, Friedman called for abolishing the Fed. Right from his mouth: