Home > Anarchy, Mainstream failure > Milton Friedman was an idiot

Milton Friedman was an idiot

Friedman had some reasonable insights into the inefficiencies of government.

However he made a number of unforgivable errors, which ironically endeared him to the Establishment and enhanced his reputation.

First, he trashed Austrian Business Cycle Theory.

Second, he was a fiat money guy, supporting fiat money over gold (up until the end, when he started having doubts – too late in my view).

Third, he supported central banking.  How he could be a “free market guy” and support monopoly fiat and monopoly price fixing of interest rates is beyond me.

Fourth, he destroyed Chile by implementing policies which systematically removed social investment and safety nets that (arguably) govts should provide, whilst keeping monopoly fiat in place.  He should have advocated the elimination of monopoly fiat and allowed the continuation of social safety nets.  He was clearly a tool of the major US banks in Latin America.

Fifth, his policies destroyed New Zealand, partially destroyed Australia, and partially destroyed many other countries including the UK and the US. 

Antal E. Fekete does a wonderful job of destroying Friedman’s theories here, in a speech he delivered in late 2006, just after Friedman’s death.  He also wrote a brilliant piece critiquing both Keynesianism and monetarism here, entitled (tellingly) Götterdämmerung.

If you are shocked by the title of my post, please read these two pieces immediately.

I will never forget Friedman sitting on the edge of Victoria Harbour in the late 1970s openly admiring the “free market” of Hong Kong.  Hong Kong has the highest number of billionaires in Asia but 18% of the population live below the poverty line.  Pollution problems are very serious.  If you ask the average Hong Konger are they happy I guarantee they’ll say no.  Housing is hideously expensive and is a huge tax on the working people (despite the supposedly low rates of tax there).  Social services for the aged are extremely poor.  Worst of all no one can buy and sell in gold – the monopoly HK dollar is pegged to the US dollar.  So the economy is subject to the same mad monetary swings as the US.

It is not so much a “Free Market” as one “Trapped in a Monopoly Money Hell”.  If they could be allowed to trade in any currency they liked, I’d be more sanguine about HK.  Until that fundamental issue is addressed, the Hong Kong people will never be free.

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  1. Alice
    December 28, 2009 at 7:35 am

    He didnt JUST trash the Austrian Business Cycle. The Guy trashed Keynes. Who was he but an idiot? Free market …my eye. Its a Monopoly market. Its dog eat dog with no rules until the most vicious, most unappealing,striongest nastiest dog wins the monopoly. Thats all a free market is. Its darwin, its dogs and its not about protecting competition. Competition is as dead as the heart and soul of Goldman Sachs.

  2. December 28, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Well, there’s fierce competition for $$$s, due to our debt-based system creating a shortage of “capital” (ironically).

    The monopoly creators of fiat paper are not competing with each other however and that’s what Friedman couldn’t see.

    Remember Keynes was a monopoly fiat paper guy too so really they belong in the same broad group of “pro-counterfeiting” economists.

    Only the Austrians and Fekete I would classify as outside this broad school.

    Even “radicals” such as Rowbotham and Ellen Brown and Steve Keen are all monopoly fiat paper people.

  3. June 4, 2010 at 4:22 am

    You guys fail to realize that Miltion was a REPUBLICAN. He used his high education credentials to make it seem like he was right when backing up Republican idiocy and ideaology. “Oh, I have this degree and this record, so therefore everything I say is true.” He was a Republican and very much an anarchist, he wanted no regulations on anything. He was for the rich and big business and he wanted them to grow as big as they could. He was against decent wages for workers as well. I don’t think he was an idiot, he was another belly dancer for the right wing and he used his education to try to polish it up.

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