Capitalism And Freedom: Is Milton Friedman A Liberal Or Conservative?

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Is Milton Friedman a Liberal or Conservative? In the book, "Capitalism and Freedom" by Milton Friedman, Friedman discusses the role of economics and government in American society. Friedman does not once expressly state his opinion on the American government or his stance on whether or not we should change the role of government in society. However, I believe it is clear that Friedman wanted this information to be interpreted by the reader in it's own way. The term liberal is defined by Merriam-Webster's dictionary as "believing that government should be active in supporting social and political change : relating to or supporting political liberalism". The term conservative is defined by Merriam-Webster's dictionary as "believing in the value…show more content…
It is hard to say whether Milton Friedman was a liberal or a conservative exactly because at the time he wrote, "Capitalism and Freedom" his views were seen as very much left wing and the changes he imposed upon for the government and society in general were very different from what most people expected. But today, his ideals on economics and government are now categorized as conservative because some are even still in use today. It would be much easier for one to say that Friedman was a classic liberal since the difference between modern liberals and classic liberals are so important. Those differences being that classic liberals favor freedom above all and would rather have all person's find their own virtues, values, and fortunes while modern liberals would like to use the government to make life easier for the poor and…show more content…
Friedman is a huge defender of classic liberalism and shows so in this quote, “The scope of government must be limited. Its major function must be to protect our freedom both from the enemies outside our gates and from our fellow-citizens: to preserve law and order, to enforce private contracts, to foster competitive markets. Beyond this major function, government may enable us at times to accomplish jointly what we would find it difficult or expensive to accomplish severally. However, any such use of government is fraught with danger. We should not and cannot avoid using government in this way. But there should be a clear and large balance of advantages before we do” (Capitalism and Freedom pg. 2-3) Friedman is completely knowledgeable of the type of negative possibilities that prove it hazardous to instill the government with too much power. Although still, he views the idea of government as a sort of engine that can and should be used to produce gains for a society, although only in appropriate situations. Friedman explains that while government is a very dangerous mechanism to play with, it is sometimes the best tool that one has to work

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