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Milton Friedman

Date de naissance: 31. juillet 1912
Date de décès: 16. novembre 2006

Milton Friedman est un économiste américain né le 31 juillet 1912 à Brooklyn et mort le 16 novembre 2006 à San Francisco, considéré comme l'un des économistes les plus influents du XXe siècle. Il obtient le prix Nobel d'économie en 1976 pour ses travaux sur « l'analyse de la consommation, l'histoire monétaire et la démonstration de la complexité des politiques de stabilisation », il a été un ardent défenseur du libéralisme. Il a travaillé sur des domaines de recherche aussi bien théorique qu'appliquée, il fut à l'origine du courant monétariste ainsi que le fondateur de l'École de Chicago. Il est également un commentateur politique et essayiste à succès,.

Deux de ses œuvres ont particulièrement touché le grand public : d'abord son livre Capitalisme et liberté publié en 1962 puis sa série d'interventions télévisées réalisées en 1980 intitulée Free to Choose . Dans Capitalisme et liberté, il explique sa théorie selon laquelle la réduction du rôle de l'État dans une économie de marché est le seul moyen d'atteindre la liberté politique et économique. Plus tard, dans La Liberté du choix, Friedman cherche à démontrer la supériorité du libéralisme économique sur les autres systèmes économiques.

Milton Friedman a inauguré une pensée économique d'inspiration libérale dont les prescriptions s'opposent de front à celle du keynésianisme. En réponse à la fonction de consommation keynésienne, il développa la théorie du revenu permanent. Avec cette théorie et l'introduction du taux de chômage naturel, Friedman remet en cause le bien-fondé des politiques de relance qui, pour lui, ne peuvent que provoquer de l'inflation contre laquelle il faut lutter. À cette fin, il proposa l'instauration d'un taux constant de croissance de la masse monétaire. Enfin, il réalise un apport important au droit de la concurrence moderne, « chaque décision de l'Autorité de la concurrence, des Cours d'appel ou de la Commission européenne mettant indirectement en balance ses idées ».

Ses idées se diffusèrent progressivement et furent prises en compte par les milieux politiques dans les années 1980, influençant profondément les mouvements conservateurs et libertariens américains. Ses idées sur le monétarisme, la fiscalité, les privatisations et la dérèglementation ont directement ou indirectement inspiré les politiques économiques de nombreux gouvernements à travers le monde, notamment ceux de Ronald Reagan aux États-Unis, de Margaret Thatcher au Royaume-Uni, d'Augusto Pinochet au Chili, de Mart Laar en Estonie, de Davíð Oddsson en Islande et de Brian Mulroney au Canada.

Œuvres

„Une société qui met l'égalité au dessus de la liberté n'aura ni l'un, ni l'autre. Une société qui met la liberté au dessus de l'égalité aura beaucoup des deux.“

—  Milton Friedman

A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both
en
Émissions, Free to choose (émission télévisée)

„L'existence d'un marché libre n'élimine évidemment pas le besoin de gouvernement. Au contraire, le gouvernement est essentiel, à la fois comme forum pour déterminer les « règles du jeu » et comme arbitre pour interpréter et faire respecter les règles qui ont été adoptées.“

—  Milton Friedman, livre Capitalisme et liberté

The existence of a free market does not of course eliminate the need for government. On the contrary, government is essential both as a forum for determining the "rule of the game" and as an umpire to interpret and enforce the rules decided on.
en
Capitalisme et liberté, 1962

„L'histoire suggère uniquement que le capitalisme est une condition nécessaire à la liberté politique. Clairement ce n'est pas une condition suffisante.“

—  Milton Friedman, livre Capitalisme et liberté

History suggests only that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom. Clearly it is not a sufficient condition.
en
Capitalisme et liberté, 1962

„Les grandes avancées de la civilisation, que ce soit dans l'architecture ou dans la peinture, la science ou la littérature, l'industrie ou l'agriculture, ne sont jamais nées de l'intervention d'un gouvernement centralisé.“

—  Milton Friedman, livre Capitalisme et liberté

The great advances of civilization, whether in architecture or painting, in science or in literature, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government.
en
Capitalisme et liberté, 1962

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„La Réserve Féderale a sans aucun doute causé la Grande Dépression en contractant le volume de l'argent en circulation d'un tiers entre 1929 et 1933.“

—  Milton Friedman

The Federal Reserve definitely caused the Great Depression by contracting the amount of money in circulation by one-third from 1929 to 1933
en
Émissions, Interview radio

„Une des plus grandes erreurs est de juger une politique sur ses intentions et non sur ses résultats.“

—  Milton Friedman

One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results
en
Émissions, The Open Mind

„I am in favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it's possible.“

—  Milton Friedman

As quoted in Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and other big government Republicans hijacked the conservative cause (2006) by Richard A Viguerie, p. 46 <!-- similar to statement previously dated (16 September 2003) — but linked page indicates "interview" by John Hawkins dated 25 February 2012 http://www.rightwingnews.com/interviews/friedman.php : I am in favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it's possible. … because I believe the big problem is not taxes, the big problem is spending. The question is, "How do you hold down government spending?" Government spending now amounts to close to 40% of national income not counting indirect spending through regulation and the like. If you include that, you get up to roughly half. The real danger we face is that number will creep up and up and up. The only effective way I think to hold it down, is to hold down the amount of income the government has. The way to do that is to cut taxes. -->
Contexte: I am in favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it's possible. … because I believe the big problem is not taxes, the big problem is spending. I believe our government is too large and intrusive, that we do not get our money's worth for the roughly 40 percent of our income that is spent by government … How can we ever cut government down to size? I believe there is one and only one way: the way parents control spendthrift children, cutting their allowance. For government, that means cutting taxes.

„Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.“

—  Milton Friedman

Tyranny of the Status Quo, San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (1980) p. 115

„History suggests only that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom. Clearly it is not a sufficient condition.“

—  Milton Friedman, livre Capitalisme et liberté

Source: Capitalism and Freedom (1962), Ch. 1 The Relation Between Economic Freedom and Political Freedom, 2002 edition, page 10
Contexte: Because we live in a largely free society, we tend to forget how limited is the span of time and the part of the globe for which there has ever been anything like : the typical state of mankind is tyranny, servitude, and misery. The nineteenth century and early twentieth century in the Western world stand out as striking exceptions to the general trend of historical development. Political freedom in this instance clearly came along with the free market and the development of capitalist institutions. So also did political freedom in the golden age of Greece and in the early days of the Roman era.
History suggests only that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom. Clearly it is not a sufficient condition.

„On the level of political principle, the imposition of taxes and the expenditure of tax proceeds are governmental functions.“

—  Milton Friedman

"The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits" in The New York Times Magazine (13 September 1970) http://www.colorado.edu/studentgroups/libertarians/issues/friedman-soc-resp-business.html
Contexte: On the level of political principle, the imposition of taxes and the expenditure of tax proceeds are governmental functions. We have established elaborate constitutional, parliamentary and judicial provisions to control these functions, to assure that taxes are imposed so far as possible in accordance with the preferences and desires of the public — after all, "taxation without representation" was one of the battle cries of the American Revolution. We have a system of checks and balances to separate the legislative function of imposing taxes and enacting expenditures from the executive function of collecting taxes and administering expenditure programs and from the judicial function of mediating disputes and interpreting the law.
Here the businessman — self-selected or appointed directly or indirectly by stockholders — is to be simultaneously legislator, executive and, jurist. He is to decide whom to tax by how much and for what purpose, and he is to spend the proceeds — all this guided only by general exhortations from on high to restrain inflation, improve the environment, fight poverty and so on and on.

„It's a moral problem that the government is making into criminals people, who may be doing something you and I don't approve of, but who are doing something that hurts nobody else.“

—  Milton Friedman

America's Drug Forum interview (1991)
Contexte: It's a moral problem that the government is making into criminals people, who may be doing something you and I don't approve of, but who are doing something that hurts nobody else. Most of the arrests for drugs are for possession by casual users.
Now here's somebody who wants to smoke a marijuana cigarette. If he's caught, he goes to jail. Now is that moral? Is that proper? I think it's absolutely disgraceful that our government, supposed to be our government, should be in the position of converting people who are not harming others into criminals, of destroying their lives, putting them in jail. That's the issue to me. The economic issue comes in only for explaining why it has those effects. But the economic reasons are not the reasons.

„The proper role of government is exactly what John Stuart Mill said in the middle of the 19th century in On Liberty. The proper role of government is to prevent other people from harming an individual.“

—  Milton Friedman

America's Drug Forum interview (1991)
Contexte: The proper role of government is exactly what John Stuart Mill said in the middle of the 19th century in On Liberty. The proper role of government is to prevent other people from harming an individual. Government, he said, never has any right to interfere with an individual for that individual's own good.
The case for is exactly as strong and as weak as the case for prohibiting people from overeating. We all know that overeating causes more deaths than drugs do. If it's in principle OK for the government to say you must not consume drugs because they'll do you harm, why isn't it all right to say you must not eat too much because you'll do harm? Why isn't it all right to say you must not try to go in for skydiving because you're likely to die? Why isn't it all right to say, "Oh, skiing, that's no good, that's a very dangerous sport, you'll hurt yourself"? Where do you draw the line?

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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