Thomas Siems has written an excellent op-ed about Milton Friedman in today’s WSJ:
Today, in cities across America, events are being held to celebrate the ideas, vision and influence of the late, great economist and Nobel prize-winner Milton Friedman. This would have been his 95th birthday.
The occasion gives us a chance to look back on many of the questions Friedman contemplated during the course of his productive career. In particular, why do people in some countries prosper, while those in other countries live in poverty? Is it luck? Is it something that their governments do? Or perhaps it’s something that their governments don’t do?
Friedman taught that economic growth comes from innovation and entrepreneurship, by individuals whose minds are open to ideas and by firms engaged in competitive markets open to trade. Friedman saw cooperation in this competition. He saw opportunity in free markets and globalization. And he saw education and the free exchange of ideas as prerequisites to advancing this freedom for the next generation.
Indeed, Friedman once said, “Freedom is not the natural state of mankind. It is a rare and wonderful achievement. It will take an understanding of what freedom is, of where the dangers to freedom come from. It will take the courage to act on that understanding if we are not only to preserve the freedoms that we have, but to realize the full potential of a truly free society.”
So as we celebrate Milton Friedman’s birthday and achievements, we must continue his legacy and keep making the case for freedom.