May 25, 2006

Friedman Got Sowell

From a Corner reader, this gem by Milton Friedman from 1962:

“So long as effective freedom of exchange is maintained, the central feature of the market organization of economic activity is that it prevents one person from interfering with another in respect of most of his activities. The consumer is protected from coercion by the seller because of the presence of other sellers with whom he can deal. The seller is protected from coercion by the consumer because of other consumers to whom he can sell. The employee is protected from coercion by the employer because of other employers for whom he can work, and so on. And the market does this impersonally and without centralized authority.”

“Indeed, a major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that it does this task so well. It gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.”

I recently finished "Basic Economics" by Thomas Sowell, and this theme runs through it from cover to cover. Small wonder, since Sowell studied under Friedman at the University of Chicago. An amazing book, by the way. I do hope that there are American colleges and universities that use it in their Econ programs. It would have done me a world of good thirty-five years ago. I'm ready for the sequel.

Posted by dan at May 25, 2006 7:49 PM