AMA — the Milton Friedman edition

Well, you have to admit that Milton Friedman was the nicest, most gentlemanly economist ever. Even when heckled by his student audience, his smile always accompanied his razor-sharp wit and wisdom. Here’s a sample:

Ask me anything. Maybe I’ll smile. Or maybe not.

Author: Atanu Dey

Economist.

18 thoughts on “AMA — the Milton Friedman edition”

  1. Can you please give excerpts/examples from Niti Aayog’s India@75 strategy that you did not like? I saw your tweet and it seems you are mighty displeased with the strategy document.
    On a different note, is there a typo in the heading? It should be AMA, instead of AKA.

    Like

      1. I saw his lecture on Mathematics vs Ganita where he states important things which aren’t in discussion or discourse even today. No popular scientist or mathematician that I have heard acknowledges what Raju is saying.
        Which makes me wonder if what he is saying is true or not.

        Like

        1. Dear Keshav,

          I watched a few minutes of this lengthy lecture out of curiosity, and since it came without the attendant benefit of easy access to the accompanying slides, mostly at random. In all, I watched about 5 minutes of his talk. I think I do get a sense of the level at which he was speaking.

          If you would kind enough to compile a list of the things which he says and which you don’t understand, personally, then I guess I should be able to help. Coming to the truth question, I should also always be able to tell if something is true, to the best of my knowledge, or not. But the “not-known-true-to-me” category could very well include a wide spectrum of things—right from ignorance to the speaker’s glaring (objectively demonstrable) errors. So, there. … Somehow I feel sure that you wouldn’t pursue this project—not immediately, anyway.

          Best,

          Ajit

          Like

  2. Any tips for (literally) surviving in India, esp. in today’s India? Assume that a well-educated engineer (MTech (IIT), PhD (Engg.)) has raised this question.

    Best,

    –Ajit

    Like

    1. To survive anywhere, not just in India, one has to create value. The fact is that we depend on what others produce. We get what they produce only by producing something that those others would be willing to take from us in exchange. Easier said than done.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I am uncertain on this matter. On the one side, if the intent is to ensure that the data is not misused by the foreign corporations, then it is good that the law be that the data has to be hosted within the country. If on the other side the intent is for the government to have access to the data, then the law is bad.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. If somebody is willing to sell and somebody willing to buy, it should be allowed. Right?
    So if somebody wants to sell addictive-drugs and somebody wants to buy it (like heroin/brown-sugar) so be it.
    Are you comfortable with this idea of a free market for drugs?

    Like

    1. Yes, all voluntary exchanges among consenting adults must be allowed, whether it be drugs or prostitution or labor. What matters is the agreement of the parties to a trade, not some third party. If you don’t like drugs, don’t buy or sell drugs, and don’t take drugs.

      Maybe that drugs are harmful to the user. Well, so what? If a person willingly harms himself, on what moral or ethical grounds is someone else justified in interfering with what a free person does?

      Milton Friedman had pointed out that if he know that a person was committing a “sin”, then he is morally obliged to stop the person from sinning. But — and that’s the bind — he said that he can never be so arrogant as to decide for another whether it is a sin or not. Basically he argued for epistemological modesty. Don’t assume that you know what is good or bad for another. If there are no victims from a particular act, then you have a moral obligation to not interfere in the act.

      Like

      1. Thanks. Though the answer is obvious after you have quoted Friedman, I will still ask the question to be absolutely sure.
        Question: There are consenting adults who want to commit suicide. Assume, I open a business which offers exotic and very satisfying pre-suicide and suicide experience. If you are in government, will you stop me?

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s