Talk:Milton Friedman

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This Economics related article has been assessed as SIGNIFICANTLY PROBLEMATIC in one or more ways. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.

This article requires attention for the following reason(s):
  • Article content and tone is contested.
  • Full of inaccuracies


Perhaps it would be an idea to add sources for the claims in this title and clean up the language? There are a great number of claims that have no sources or sources that have no mention of Milton Friedman.

I suggest these be removed or have the \{\{fact\}\} tag to show there is no substantiation for that particular claim. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

As you have discovered, this isn't Wikipedia. Did you seriously mean to imply that he had no connection to the chief supporting actor in Bedtime for Bonzo? Any hasty search will show that to be untrue; that there was a connection is obvious. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 16:31, 10 December 2012 (UTC)


The article claims that Friedman blamed the economic stagnation of the 70s purely on the federal reserve. The article speaks as though Friedman disregarded the importance of the negative influence stemming from Nixon's price controls, yet Friedman was highly critical of that as well. Does rationalwiki think that wage and price controls come from free market orthodoxy? Interesting. Burkean (talk) 23:19, 5 August 2014 (UTC)

This article is utterly unscientific and needs major work[edit]

This article clearly has nothing to do with any "rational" assessment, and everything to do with a one-sided and inaccurate political interpretations. Chile is the richest and most economically successful Latin American country today, largely because of market liberalization policies post-Pinochet which Friedman supported. The fact that his only audience at the time was a despotic dictator was sad, but Friedman supported democracy, and the fact that pro-market policies which he supported led to Chile being the wealthiest and most economically successful country in Latin America ought to give pause to this wiki-- which has pushed a crappy one-sided interpreration of economic history embodied in this article-- some pause.

The fact that an article on a wiki that promotes rationality needs an "in fairness" section where the relevant facts of the matter are stashed away is depressing. The whole article should be a fair assessment, not the Godawful one-sided political hack job that it is now. — Unsigned, by: Socioanthropologist / talk / contribs

@Socioanthropologist Yeah, this article requires expert attention. One might as well go over to Wikipedia. Nerd (talk) 14:22, 6 August 2018 (UTC)

"the absolute worst kind of leftist IQ 110 filth"[edit]

Feedback (which also explains the above section): --ZooGuard (talk) 20:42, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

I like this "Chile must be doing well because of economic liberalization in the wake of one of South America's worst dictators, having the world largest copper reserves can't have anything to do with it" thinking. Especially the way it glosses over how GDP per capita doesn't at all translate into money for non-elites. Ikanreed (talk) 20:52, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
"he advised Pinochet therefore he was evil" line on Friedman was really what made me realize that I should stop taking his [Friedman's] critics seriously - sums it up. nobsISIS is a thorn in the world's ass and will be removed. 03:14, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Oh, I'm sorry, do you feel that direct material support for abusive tyrants are no big deal nobs? Allow me to shed a single tear for that poor poor economist so unduly smeared. Ikanreed (talk) 14:54, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Ok, show evidence of "direct material support". nobsISIS is a thorn in the world's ass and will be removed. 16:27, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Sorry nobs, not an argument you're going to win. Being an advisor does actually meet that definition.
the term “material support or resources” means any property, tangible or intangible, or service, including currency or monetary instruments or financial securities, financial services, lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, safehouses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel (1 or more individuals who may be or include oneself), and transportation, except medicine or religious materials; 18 U.S. Code § 2339A
Okay? Ikanreed (talk) 16:36, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
PS: I'm not arguing he did something illegal. It's only illegal to provide material support to terrorists, not mass murdering government leaders. Just that he did that. Ikanreed (talk) 16:39, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Hmm, if material support includes all those things, why not just drop the "material" and call it support? (talk) 16:52, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Free speech reasons. You're allowed to say, for example, "I think Osama Bin Laden did a great thing for Islam." That's immaterial support. So is "I'll pray for your success(lol)". Heck, edge cases like childcare probably don't count. Material support is the class of support that may allow someone to directly achieve their goals. Ikanreed (talk) 16:56, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Look at the quote on the header: "A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both. Is it being alleged Pinochet took Friedman's expert advice? nobsISIS is a thorn in the world's ass and will be removed. 16:45, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

Holy hell, you're really pushing this "Friedman did nothing wrong" line pretty hard. Being an adviser doesn't mean that those you advise are going to share your worldview, just that you're supporting them. Ikanreed (talk) 16:49, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

...causing the government to severely intervene the economy and to bailout several banks and enterprises, raising the poverty levels from the 15% in 1973, to 44% by the end of 1982...

Wow. Does this mean the Chilean government had to drop Friedman's ideas, causing the government to intervene and raise the poverty level? or does it mean Friedman advised the government to intervene and raise the poverty level? nobsISIS is a thorn in the world's ass and will be removed. 16:54, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

Oh, so I take that a tacit admission that you're dropping the "he didn't provide material support" argument and starting a new "They didn't actually incorporate his polices" argument, right? Ikanreed (talk) 16:58, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Poverty was 15% in 1973, causing such dissatisfaction a majority elected a Socialist President in 1976; at what point did Friedman begin provided material support (which evidently neither Allende nor Pinochet believed in)? nobsISIS is a thorn in the world's ass and will be removed. 17:13, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
P.S. and again, why does this RW article say government intervention causes a rise in the poverty level, but in any other article on the US economy, government spending, or Keynesianism, it's wingnut propaganda? nobsISIS is a thorn in the world's ass and will be removed. 17:17, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Because not all intervention is of the same character and that kinda reductionist false dilemma isn't as clever as you think it is? You're really dancing from point to point here.
And because more long term, more empirical, less subjective, less localized observation of state interference suggests a definite trend. A trend that isn't just about inequality, but subjective wellbeing. it's not just a one time finding. I know it's not what you want to hear. Ikanreed (talk) 17:33, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Ok, so your talking about labels such as "leftist" or "welfare state" and popular perceptions. But look at that condition of this article mainspace: it starts with a very good quote the characterizes Friedman's ideas. In the Chilean section it's pretty obvious a tyrant dictator did not value or implement Friedman's ideas. Then a confusing set of statistics that predate both Allende and Pinochet. No mention is made of when and who hired Friedman. Most astonishing of all (for a Rationalwiki article) is the blatant admission consclusion theory that government intervention and bailouts lead to rising poverty rates. Can you imagine such a statement in the TARP article? "causing Pelosi & the Democrats's to severely intervene the economy and to bailout several banks and enterprises, raising the poverty levels from the X% in 2008, to Y% by the end of 2014..." nobsISIS is a thorn in the world's ass and will be removed. 18:17, 29 January 2015 (UTC).
1. We don't have a TARP article. Your link goes to a subsection that isn't exactly the effusive praise you're imagining. 2. That's what our cite says about this case in the executive summary. Ikanreed (talk) 19:39, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Miracle of Chile § Milton FriedmanWikipedia, using the same sources, says virtually the opposite of what you're trying to say here. It reads, Pinochet "asked Friedman to write him a letter laying out what he thought Chile’s economic policies should be" and Friedman "proposed relief of cases of real hardship among poorest classes." We can argue point by point WP, RW or the World Banks account if you wish.
Miracle of Chile § DemocracyWikipedia is where the focus should be. During the Reagan and Clinton eras there was widespread belief, based on Friedman's ideas, that free markets and free trade would foster democracy. This belief is not so sacrosanct today. Free markets and free trade have not fostered democracy in Russia, Saudi Arabia, China, the Islamic State, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Ukraine and other hotspots. Income inequality is not the root cause of instability and suffering in these regions. This is where the focus of discussion is today. This article sounds like another outdated Marxist agenda driven hit piece. nobsISIS is a thorn in the world's ass and will be removed. 22:11, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
I don't even get what argument you're trying to make besides "reds reds reds reds reds". Just so we're clear, I'm not a socialist or a communist, but Friedman was kinda a predictive failure who had no trouble enjoying close relationships with awful people. Ikanreed (talk) 22:41, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Read the WP article; look at the chart; Chile did worst under Allende. Pinochet asked for Friedman's advice;

economic reforms implemented by the Chicago Boys had three main objectives: economic liberalization, privatization of state-owned companies, and stabilization of inflation. The first reforms were implemented in three rounds – 1974–83, 1985, and 1990.[2] The reforms were continued and strengthened after 1990 by the post-Pinochet center government

the chaos originated under Allende; reforms were continued after Pinochet left. What is your argument, WP got it wrong and Allende's chaos should have continued? nobsISIS is a thorn in the world's ass and will be removed. 22:59, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

Miracle of Chile[edit]

Rationalwiki says:

What Friedman leaves out is the fact that at its ultimate extent, the "Miracle of Chile" failed in the 82' monetarist crisis, causing the government to severely intervene the economy and to bailout several banks and enterprises, raising the poverty levels from the 15% in 1973, to 44% by the end of 1982.[7]

Wikipedia says:

Minister of Finance Sergio de Castro, departing from Friedman’s support for free floating exchange rates, decided on a pegged exchange rate of 39 pesos per dollar in June 1979, under the rationale of bringing Chile’s rampant inflation to heel. [t]he result,[14] however, was that a serious balance-of-trade problem arose. Since Chilean peso inflation continued to outpace U.S. dollar inflation, every year Chilean buying power of foreign goods increased, all fueled by foreign loans in dollars[citation needed]. [w]hen the bubble finally burst in late 1982, Chile slid into a severe recession that lasted more than two years.

It is fairly clear, according to the Wikipedia article, the Miracle of Chile extends well past 1990. It does not ends in 1982, as Rationalwiki blatantly and obviously distorts. What is the purpose of Rationalwiki accrediting the monetary crisis of 1982 to Friedman, when all the scholarly, reputable sources clearly state it occurred when Chile briefly departed from Friedman's advice. nobsISIS is a thorn in the world's ass and will be removed. 23:50, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

" the country took on large amounts of debt from the IMF.[8][edit]

ummmm, the IMF does not act as a lender, that is the World Bank's job. All the IMF does is keep track of, and facilitate transfers for international balance of trade accounts. It does not really buy or sell debt bearing instruments or make loans. It functions more as an accountant or referee in payment transfers and settlements. It advises nations whose subscription accounts are in default so they can maintain membership or qualify for loans from other lenders.

In recent years, they have expanded their abilities in the area of currency stabilization, meaning they can buy up a shitload of a country's worthless inflated currency which amounts to a bad debt on the IMF's books and an unpaid loan on the issuing countries treasury, but this is more of PR move on the IMF, and can not be consider direct investment the country.

Anyway's the cite for this statement does not even mention the IMF, so it's a pretty good illustation that the author of this article knows and understands jackshit about simple macroeconomic concepts. nobsISIS is a thorn in the world's ass and will be removed. 03:33, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

Pot meet kettle. So, "the IMF does not act as a lender", nobs? Curious, because both WikipediaWikipedia and the IMF itself insist that it does (by being able to draw on the massive "common pot" that governments pay into and which is also linked to their IMF voting powers). Also, and this is the crucial point, it's the IMF which sets the conditions for these loans, which tend to include very Chicago'esque privatisation schemes (the reason why the IMF is despised in numerous countries where it has "helped" with debt problems, though I seem to recall even the IMF making sounds towards toning down the free market fundamentalism some years ago).
And no, these IMF loans aren't a product of "recent years" - let me take a page from your playbook and quote Wikipedia: "On 1 March 1947, the IMF began its financial operations, and on 8 May France became the first country to borrow from it."Wikipedia ScepticWombat (talk) 07:33, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
I think I covered how IMF acts as a lender. It surely does not "lend" anything convertible to the receiving nations own currency. It buys up the excess currency of a debtor nation with a some form of exchangeable asset (SDR's T-bills, dollars, euros, etc) that will satisfy other creditor nations. It does not make direct investment to create jobs or humanitarian relief. The source of exchange stabilization comes from its stabilization funds, and is reflected as debt to the receiving nations account owed to the IMF itself. At the time these purchases ("purchase" is more accurate that "debt") it is pretty well understood, the nation struggling to pay its foreign debt with an inflated currency is unlikely to repay the exchange of its worthless currency with something that will satisfy foreign creditor nations anytime soon.
It's a matter of understanding foreign trade: nations trade their raw produce & services with each other; at the end of a 12 month period, some nations have surplus accounts and others deficit accounts. The sum total of what is owed to other nations is called foreign debt (the IMF is not another nation). IMF assistance to drain off excess currency, and provide a medium of exchange acceptable to foreign debt holders is not really part of a nation's foreign debt portfolio. nobsISIS is a thorn in the world's ass and will be removed. 13:22, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
The IMF provides liquidityWikipedia, it does not make direct investmentWikipedia. nobsISIS is a thorn in the world's ass and will be removed. 13:27, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
So your response is to define only FDI and similar "direct" loans as "real" loans, despite the IMF itself describing its activities as lending - cool way of lawyering your way out of the problem, nobs. ScepticWombat (talk) 13:43, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
What is the definition of "foreign trade", or "foreign trade debt"? All the IMF does is "restructure" a nation in default (or ready to default) ability to repay other foreign debtors. These so-called "loans" (which really are purchases of their excess local currency) come with conditions which can make it, as you cited earlier, "despised in numerous countries where it has "helped" with debt problems". They provide liquidity often with the expectation the so-called "loan" will not be repaid (under U.S. tax law for example, a "loan" which a creditor makes knowing in advance there is greater than 50% likelihood the debtor will not be able to repay may not be deductible as a "bad debt", and can be treated as a gift, which is non-deductible. nobsISIS is a thorn in the world's ass and will be removed. 18:25, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
Why are you asking others to define your claim? Didn't you think it through properly? -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 18:37, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
Sure. Foreign direct invest fundamentally takes on three forms (1) a foreign entity buying an ongoing business in a host country; (2) a foreign entity starting a business in a host country; (3) a foreign entity lending to someone in a host country.
The IMF exists to settle accounts between nations (now, here many laymen get confused already. When we speak of settling accounts, the vast majority of these exchanges in total volume (let's use US dollars as a measure, or gold, or euros, or SDRs) are between private entities, not between governments). The IMF is simply the record keeper of accounts between net debtor and net creditor, and provides the liquidity to facilitate faster transactions. nobsISIS is a thorn in the world's ass and will be removed. 18:50, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
This is an awfully petty distinction for how irrelevant it is to your greater claim of bias in the article. Ikanreed (talk) 19:08, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
Chile is a textbook example as to why the IMF was created, and it's unfortunate RW want's to distort a great lesson here, that Wikipedia seems to put across in remarkable fashion, simple to carry some outdated anti-Austrian school agenda.
The big mindfuck, from my own personal experience, that I've been researching for years is, how can an FDR New Deal reform like the IMF, along with the Exchange Stabilization FundWikipedia, which has proven remarkable in rescuing the Chilean economy (and others) have been the brainchild of a dedicated Stalinist like Harry Dexter WhiteWikipedia. nobsISIS is a thorn in the world's ass and will be removed. 19:27, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
I can't tell if the reason you're jumping from topic to topic like this is because you're crazy or because I'm missing something crucial, but I will just straight up tell you I can't follow your argument. Ikanreed (talk) 19:30, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Ok, this article's definition of "Chilean Miracle" does not jibe with the rest of the planet's understanding of the term. It says it crashed in 1982. Everybody else says it carried on into the 1990s. And if you'r whole intent is to impugn the reputation of Milton Friedman by connecting the dots to Augusto Pinochet, why don't you go to Chronic inflation § ChileWikipedia and start edit warring there. nobsISIS is a thorn in the world's ass and will be removed. 19:49, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

Mostly because my interest in NPOV editing has waned. I much prefer an honest argument with a direction to reasonable neutrality. Ikanreed (talk) 20:03, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
So go back to the top, Talk:Milton_Friedman#Miracle_of_Chile and reconcile those two statements in quotebox. nobsISIS is a thorn in the world's ass and will be removed. 20:07, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
I don't see any strong disagreement there. Sorry. Ikanreed (talk) 20:30, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
ok, if you want to leave in the claim that government intervention caused a rise in the poverty rate, I'm fine with that, too. nobsISIS is a thorn in the world's ass and will be removed. 03:51, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
I think nobs is missing the point that the 1982 crash marked the end of the ultra-Chicago model and that government intervention occurred because the "Chicago experiment" tanked. By contrast, nobs seems to think that the government intervention caused the crash or at least the poverty that followed it. After the 1982 crisisWikipedia, the Chilean economy would be run according to far less dogmatic Chicago dicta (i.e. not a vindication of "Chicagonomics", but quite the reverse), and tahe source already given points directly to aspects of the (Chicagonomic) "restructuring" of the Chilean economy prior to 1982 as central causes for the crisis. ScepticWombat (talk) 09:27, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
We're reading the same WP & RW texts and seeing different things. The Chilean Miracle (c.1973-1990+) WP treats Pinochet as the savior of Chile, ending Allende's 1000% inflation and returning it to single digits for the first time in half century. The military junta, through Creative destructionWikipedia, replaced itself with democracy. RW, in my reading, says point blank that government spending increases poverty. This only makes sense in the Friedman article because it was Friedman who said, "We are all Keynesians nowWikipedia." nobsISIS is a thorn in the world's ass and will be removed. 13:50, 31 January 2015 (UTC)

Q. Why does the IMF call purchases of a defaulting nation's inflated currency "loans"?[edit]

A. Because the IMF, in its fiduciary responsibility as custodian for subscription accounts and stabilization funds cannot legally buy worthless crap, i.e. a defaulting nation's inflated currency.nobsISIS is a thorn in the world's ass and will be removed. 18:40, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia Template[edit]

Uh guys, ya know Wikipedia has Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek. Ayn Rand, Ludwig von Mises, and Adam Smith under 'People' on its Template:Liberalism. nobsGary Johnson for Rehab! 17:00, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

Ludwig von Mises is ideologically too extreme to be seen as a liberal, but Milton Friedman is clearly a conservative liberal. Conservative liberalism is not conservative. Because American politics is deformed, he is perceived as a conservative. And Hayek and Rand are technically liberal.--Umaru16 (talk) 00:31, 24 February 2022 (UTC)


I believe we should add the category "Liberals" in this article. Milton Friedman may be called a conservative or libertarian in the United States, but it is questionable whether he can be regarded as an internationally accepted libertarian because he is a mainstream economist. Moreover, he is not a conservative because he was culturally quite liberal.

I think Milton Friedman is a clear center-right liberal in the political context of Europe and elsewhere.

In American politics, the concept of "liberal" has meant center-left social liberal politics against "conservative." This concept paradoxically resulted in the complete exclusion of clear socialists from American politics.

Therefore, I think it is necessary to redefine the concept of "liberal" used in the United States as a concept used in Europe or around the world. Republican moderate politicians should also be considered "liberal." And Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders should not be called "liberal." Internationally, "liberal" is a concept that includes both right-center conservative liberalism and left-center social liberalism.--Umaru16 (talk) 00:29, 24 February 2022 (UTC)

Of course, it would be problematic to classify all Republican moderate politicians as "liberal" because it goes against the unique term "liberal" used in the United States. However, Milton Friedman is internationally called a liberal revolution.--Umaru16 (talk) 00:50, 24 February 2022 (UTC)
Friedman is already under "classical liberalism" which I think is a more broadly understood version of the concept. It's probably the "liberal" category in itself that needs review, as it is too vague. A category that puts Paul Krugman and Friedrich Hayek in the same bucket is, well, kind of useless. We can get rid of a lot of the ambiguity by being more specific. What is thought of as liberalism in the United States often really could be categorized as "social liberalism" (eg FDR). Others could fit into "neoliberalism" (eg Clinton). Those that are classically liberal then can be perhaps reclassified there. This would leave much less room for arguments over what is "liberal" and what is not. PanGalacticGargleBlaster (talk) 01:16, 24 February 2022 (UTC)
I don't think Bill Clinton is a complete neoliberal. Tony Blair is a mixture of social democracy and neoliberalism, while Bill Clinton is a mixture of social liberalism and neoliberalism. Neoliberalism is a right-wing ideology, but Bill Clinton is not right-wing. First of all, there seems to be no disagreement 0about Milton Friedman being a "liberal." Thanks.--Umaru16 (talk) 01:42, 24 February 2022 (UTC)
I don't think there's a need to subdivide the "liberals" category. In many countries other than the United States, there are many right or leftists who deny liberal values. The United States seems to be politically polarized, but in fact, it just refers to the detailed differences between liberals as "conservatives"(conservative liberals) and "liberals"(social liberals). --Umaru16 (talk) 01:52, 24 February 2022 (UTC)
(EC)While I agree that Milton Friedman is a liberal, I think the category would be redundant with "classical liberalism". Categories shouldn't be added when there's already a subcategory. GeeJayK (talk) 01:52, 24 February 2022 (UTC)
The classical liberalism category and the liberals category are different, so I think both categories should be used. Otherwise, the liberals category should be removed from the Paul Krugman article. In particular, European liberalism is closer to Friedman than Krugman. And both are liberalists in that they oppose pre-modern traditional conservatism, fascism, communism, authoritarian conservatism and authoritarian socialism. It may be a very big difference for Americans, but in numerous regions other than North America, it is just a "detailed and trivial" difference in liberal views.--Umaru16 (talk) 02:00, 24 February 2022 (UTC)
Reagan is a conservative, but Friedman is never a conservative and libertarian. Friedman is liberals. American progressives are social democrats, not liberals, and Bernie Sanders and AOC is not liberals. I think the concept of conservatism and liberalism used in the United States is very absurd. It subjugates classical liberals to conservatism. There are no European conservative and socialist movements in the United States, but this way they distort the concept and subordinate it to classical liberals and social liberals. This is literally extreme centrism and threatens political diversity, one of the main values of democracy.--Umaru16 (talk) 02:18, 24 February 2022 (UTC)
Applying international political standards, both Milton Friedman and Paul Krugman will be centrist "liberals", and many Christian democrats will be centre-right or right-wing "conservatives". (However, some Christian democrats in the United States seem to be close to social democrats.)--Umaru16 (talk) 02:30, 24 February 2022 (UTC)

The reason why I reject the concepts of American liberalism and conservatism is simple. This is because it is a concept that does not fit in any country in the world. These concepts are American exceptional terms designed to neutralize socialist forces. We should no longer call social democrats and democratic socialists "liberals", nor should we call classical liberals "conservatives".--Umaru16 (talk) 07:21, 24 February 2022 (UTC)

Only then will we be able to correctly settle in the United States that liberalism is not a left-wing concept, but a concept that encompasses center-right and center-left, conservatism is a right-wing (center-right to far-right) ideology, and socialism is a left-wing (center-left to far-left) ideology.--Umaru16 (talk) 07:28, 24 February 2022 (UTC)