Milton Friedman in Iceland

Via a commenter on David Friedman’s post that I mentioned here comes this link to a video of a 1984 appearance by Milton Friedman on Icelandic TV. I’ve started watching it and it looks good. (It’s always a pleasure to watch Friedman in good debating form.) FWIW, the questioner in the two-toned sweater is now president of Iceland. Maybe he learned something from Friedman.

6 thoughts on “Milton Friedman in Iceland”

  1. I enjoyed the beginning of this and forwarded it to some friends. One e-mailed back that he couldn’t get the picture. When I went to it I could no longer get the sound, either.

    Does anyone know what is going on? (This wasn’t Youtube, apparently, so it wouldn’t have been taken off for copyright, etc. reasons, would it?)

  2. I don’t know. I am unable to get the Friedman video or any other video to play on that page. All I can suggest is that you try again at another time.

    I watched the entire video and thought it was well worth my time.

  3. The link does seem broken now. It was well worth my time as well. But a question for those who are more knowledgable on this subject than myself. Around the middle of the video the panel sort of busted Freidman’s stones about Chile – and he became highly defensive. Were they somehow trying to link Freidman to the violence/other problems that took place in that country in the seventies?

  4. I assume so. That was a common criticism at the time (and even now — there’s a similar comment in this thread). The general form of the argument is guilt by association: Pinochet was bad, Friedman advised Pinochet, therefore Friedman bears some responsibility for the bad things Pinochet did. But, as Friedman pointed out, his advice to the Chilean government was confined to a series of lectures on monetary economics; he never advised them on policy and certainly had nothing to do with the regime’s bad deeds. And the questioners are inconsistent, since they take Friedman to task for advising Chile but not for advising China, which had a much more oppressive regime. As Friedman also pointed out, the methods of monetary economics are mere tools that can be used by all kinds of governments (and what could be wrong with reducing inflation, no matter what kind of government is in power?). A number of prominent Chilean economists and advisors to the Pinochet government — the famous “Chicago boys” — were trained at the University of Chicago, but critics are never able to demonstrate how the low-inflation, low tax policies advocated by these advisors were anything less than beneficial to the Chilean people.

    BTW, if you want to get a full dose of Friedman, without the drag of idiot questioners, all chapters of the video version of “Free to Choose” are available for the watching on the Web (I don’t remember where, but you can google).

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