A Question of Degree

For some reason, there is a very great distaste for Milton Friedman among Austrian school economists.  I can certainly understand the gap in monetary theory, and yes, Friedman did support the withholding tax and the negative income tax.  However, there cannot be disagreement on the major tenets of libertarianism.

Miton Friedman was an unabashed believer in free markets and perhaps there existed no more widely known and influential economist supporting capitalism.  

Imagine where we’d be, and I ask his in all seriousness, if Milton Friedman did not have the ear of men like Ronald Reagan.  Friedman remained for so long the lone advocate for free market reforms, at a time when the Keyensians were running amock.  And maybe without his persistence, the Austrian school would not have had the influence, growing even now, that it does today.  

I suppose I am nostalgic as I remember fondly reading A Monetary History as well as Capitalism and Freedom.  Maybe he got some things wrong, and on that I am not totally qualified to judge.  However, on the bigger picture, advocacy for free markets and capitalism, he seems to me at least, to have been not only right, but so influential that we ought to overlook his errors, and appreciate him for all his good work.

There can be little doubt that because of him freedom did advance worldwide, and the the ruinous Keyensianism, much like Jason in Friday 13th movies who always comes back to life, would have killed off freedom and capitalism a long time ago.

So, whatever differences Austrians have with Milton Friedman, I see it as only a matter of degree.  Let’s all at least acknowledge all the great he did do.


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