Free To Choose 1980 – How to Cure Inflation – Blame

Free To Choose 1980 – How to Cure Inflation – Blame


I sit here and berate you and you, as government officials, and so on, but I understand very well that the real culprits are not the politicians, are not the central bankers, but it’s I and my fellow citizens. I always say to people when I talk about this, “If you want to know who’s responsible for inflation, look in the mirror.” It’s not because of the way you spend your money. Inflation doesn’t arise because you got consumers who are spendthrift; they’ve always been spendthrift. It doesn’t arise because you’ve got businessmen who are greedy. They’ve always been greedy. Inflation arises because we as citizens have been asking you as politicians to perform an impossible task. We’ve been asking you to spend somebody else’s money on us, but not to spend our money on anybody else. BROWN: You don’t want us to cut back those dollars for education, right? FRIEDMAN: Right. And, therefore — FRIEDMAN: well, no, I do. McKENZIE: We’ve already had a program on that. FRIEDMAN: We’ve already had a program on that and there’s no viewer of these programs who will be in any doubt about my position on that. But the public at large has not- and this is where we come to the political will that Dr. Emminger quite properly talked about. It is — everybody talks against inflation, but what he means is that he wants the prices of the things he sells to go up and the prices of the things he buys to go down. But, sooner or later, we come to the point where it will be politically profitable to end inflation. This is the point that – SPRINKEL: Yes. FRIEDMAN: — I think you were making. SPRINKEL: The suffering idea. FRIEDMAN: Where do you think the — you know, what do you think the rate of inflation has to be, and judged by the the experience of other countries, before we will be in that position and when do you think that will happen? SPRINKEL: Well, the evidence says it’s got to be over 20 percent. Now you would think we could learn from others rather than have to repeat mistakes. FRIEDMAN: Apparently nobody can learn from history. SPRINKEL: But at the present time we’re going toward higher and not lower inflation.

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