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Milton Friedman: A concise guide to the ideas and influence of the free-market economist by Eamonn Butler

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Chapter 5. The Failure of Government

“The major problem. . .is how to stop the growth of government.”

– Milton Friedman, in The Power of Choice

The Role of Government

Milton Friedman enjoyed a good argument, and for most of his life found plenty of people to argue with, his views being in such a minority. But he relished nothing more than taking on the proponents of government social programmes such as welfare, pensions, job-creation and schooling. Of course, he respected what such advocates were trying to achieve, and shared their objectives. It was just that, far too often, government programmes produced unintended and malign results. “Concentrated power”, he insisted, “is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create ...

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