July 31, 2007

Happy Birthday, Dear Milton...

Dallas Fed economist and policy adviser, Thomas Siems, writes a guest editorial in the WSJ today (paid link) on the one man whose greatness we all agree on around here.

Thanks to his unwavering support for free enterprise and open markets, Friedman's ideas have elevated standards of living for a rising share of the world's population. More and more people are free to choose their path in the economy, acting in their own self-interest by engaging in mutually beneficial exchange under the rule of law. More and more central banks have followed Friedman's advice and taken control of money growth; indeed, inflation has fallen around the world in developed economies, emerging markets and even among most less-developed nations. And more and more nations are engaged in trade with each other, seeing new markets as a source of greater opportunities and additional resources.

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.

A great gift to world, 95 years ago. Hat-tip: Everyday Economist

Posted by John Kranz at July 31, 2007 3:18 PM