Freedom Man: Milton Friedman had both genius and common sense.
Friedman’s own personal background made him familiar with the problems of those who begin life without the privileges of the elite--and of the importance of education as a way to advance beyond their beginnings. Born in Brooklyn in 1912 to immigrant parents, he grew up in New Jersey, living over his family’s store, and worked his way through Rutgers University. Later, he went on to postgraduate work at the University of Chicago. The rest, as they say, is history.
Friedman's Sampler: A selection of writings from The Wall Street Journal.
On the Free Market
What most people really object to when they object to a free market is that it is so hard for them to shape it to their own will. The market gives people what the people want instead of what other people think they ought to want. At the bottom of many criticisms of the market economy is really lack of belief in freedom itself.
The real problem is to establish an economic environment in which there is a demand for workers at wages that those workers not only regard as satisfactory, but are qualified to earn: Better qualified workers and better wages--not simply more jobs--is the real problem.
On Hong Kong
By some accident of officialdom, the colonial office assigned John Cowperthwaite, a Scotsman and a disciple of Adam Smith, to serve as financial secretary of Hong Kong. Cowperthwaite's free market policies are widely credited with producing the subsequent economic miracle that led to a phenomenal rise in the average level of living despite a nearly 10-fold rise in population.
It is hard to conceive of a more severe test of free market policies. Hong Kong is an island devoid of any significant natural resources other than a great harbor. When the Communists took over China, refugees came streaming over the borders with only the possessions they could carry. They and their successors produced a rapid rise in population. Hong Kong received negligible if any foreign aid to assist the assimilation of the refugees.
Under these adverse circumstances, the salvation of Hong Kong has been its complete free trade and free market policy. No tariffs on imports, no subsidies or other privileges to exports. (The only restrictions are those that Hong Kong has been forced to impose by pressure from other countries, including the U.S., as under the multifiber agreement.) There is no fixing of prices or wages; few if any restrictions on entry into business or trade; and government spending and taxes have been kept low. The top tax rate on personal income is 25%, with a maximum average rate of 15%. . . .
What a contrast to the experience of most of the colonies to which Britain gave their freedom after the war. And what a striking demonstration of how much better free trade and free markets are for the ordinary citizen than the protectionism of Mr. Buchanan and the "fair trade" of President Clinton. "Fair" is in the eye of the beholder; free is the verdict of the market. (The word "free" is used three times in the Declaration of Independence and once in the First Amendment to the Constitution, along with "freedom." The word "fair" is not used in either of our founding documents.)
Filipinos pray for application and implementation of free market and free trade principles of Adam Smith (probably a Catholic, Christian) and modern day apostle - Milton Friedman - in the Philippines. May their spirit sprinkle dust of capitalism to Filipinos.