Friedman on Free Lunch

In 1993, at the grand opening of the Cato Institute’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., Dr Milton Friedman gave a talk. It is worth listening to even after 28 years. He was introduced as “the Nobel Prize winner, economic trailblazer, author, scholar, statesman, champion of political freedom and economic liberty, Dr. Milton Friedman.”

Friedman was awarded the Nobel Memorial prize in economic sciences in 1976. He died in 2006 at the age of 94.

Although the substance of his talk at the Cato Institute relates to the US, it is relevant in a much larger contemporary context of what is going on around the world and in the US. Understanding Friedman’s points helps us make sense of the world. Besides being informative, he is as always delightfully funny and entertaining. Here’s the .mp3 audio of the talk.

For those who would prefer the video, it’s on YouTube.


Author: Atanu Dey


3 thoughts on “Friedman on Free Lunch”

  1. I must have seen that lecture like dozens of times. When it comes to Milton Friedman I think videos are always better than audio. Unlike the smug attitude of Tom Sowell or Walter Williams, Friedman always has this wonderful smile and very empathetic tone. Rarely, he will try to insult someone or come across as partisan but shows genuine concern to the cause even his opponents claim to represent.

    I love one of this lectures where he tells a feminist ‘I am on your side, but you are not.’.


    1. Milton Friedman was the personification of patience and good humor when addressing points raised by people. He never talked down to people. Hitchens, in contrast, was devastating in his replies if the questioner was evidently mistaken. Friedman was a great scholar but an even greater gentleman (in the most expansive definition of the term.) He was not arrogant and was humble to a fault. A true guru — one who dispels the darkness of ignorance.


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