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The Great Coincidence

Krugman: “It says something about the times we’re in that Milton Friedman now looks left-of-center, at least on monetary issues.”

Isn’t part of what it says that it’s a kind of odd and unfortunate coincidence that macroeconomic stabilization debates got tied up with other kinds of more conventional ideological ones? After all, if you assume Milton Friedman’s argument for a negative income tax were being made in good faith the main difference between Friedman and a contemporary American liberal is that Friedman was strongly anti-paternalist. I think he’s wrong about paternalism, but this plainly has nothing to do with monetary policy. It’s like how on the one hand I don’t like coconuts and on the other hand I don’t like missile defense programs. I think a lot of progressives in America disagree amongst ourselves about how paternalistic the welfare state ought to be (and even though I don’t agree with Friedman’s take on this I agree that it should be less paternalistic than it currently is) so there’s no real reason there shouldn’t also be a range of views on monetary policy.

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