Journaltalk - Why Is There No Milton Friedman Today?

Why Is There No Milton Friedman Today?

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  • Richard A. Posner
Keywords Milton Friedman, libertarianism, economics, economists
Volume Number 10
Issue Number 2
Pages 210-213
File URL Why Is There No Milton Friedman Today?
Publication year 2013

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  1. Taxation may have indeed been higher in the 1950’s than it is today, at least with respect to Federal income taxes, but I must respectfully disagree that the 1950’s represented an era of greater regulation.

    First, I would point to the greater number of laws that exist now (at Federal, State and Municipal levels) as compared to 60 years ago. Second, the number of occupational licenses that exist now is substantially greater than in 1950, and for licenses that did exist then, the barriers to entry are now much more expensive and/or difficult to overcome. Third, the relative size of the workforce employed by the government sector (Fed, state and local) is much greater now than it was in the 1950’s. More government employees, as a rule of thumb, leads to more government intervention in civilian affairs. Although I cannot measure it empirically, I would also submit the modern regulatory systems are protected by layers of complexity and incomprehensibility that would leave the average businessman of the 1950’s mortified. Modern day business can only survive by hiring vast armies of lawyers, accountants and consultants skilled at navigating the rules. In fact, these regulatory obstacles have successfully protected the biggest market participants from facing any serious competition from new entrants into the marketplace. If there is to be found any increase in liberty, it is within these regulatory moats, where the biggest businesses might enjoy increased freedom from marketplace competition.

    posted 29 May 2013 by Bernard King

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