Milton Friedman on the "Great Virtue" of Free Markets, Iraq, & More


Via Arts & Letters Daily comes this interview with Milton Friedman in New Perspectives Quarterly. Snippets:

The great virtue of a free market is that it enables people who hate each other, or who are from vastly different religious or ethnic backgrounds, to cooperate economically….

The big issue is whether the United States will succeed in its venture of reshaping the Middle East. It is not clear to me that using military force is the way to do it. We should not have gone into Iraq. But we have. At the moment, the most pressing issue, therefore, is to make sure that effort is completed in a satisfactory way….

At the end of World War II, government spending was 15-20 percent of national income. Then it went up dramatically so that by 1980 it hit 40 percent largely because of programs ranging from Medicare to environmental regulation to Social Security. From 1980 until 2005, it has remained static. We haven't beaten the tendency or rolled it back. We've just stopped the growth.

Whole thing here.

Reason recently interviewed the 93-year-old Friedman on the 50th anniversary of his creation of the idea of school vouchers. That's online here. And he participated in our rollicking debate about the social responsiblity of business here.