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Dallas Fed posts previously unreleased conversation with Milton Friedman

For immediate release: November 8, 2007

DALLAS—The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas today released a wide-ranging interview between Nobel Laureate economist Milton Friedman and Dallas Fed president and CEO Richard W. Fisher.

Friedman and Fisher discuss a myriad of topics, including globalization, China, the Federal Reserve, free trade, government spending and education reform.

“This is an important interview because of the anxiety that we're experiencing with regard to these new forces of globalization, concern about the direction of the fate of the United States economy and a general angst about where we're headed,” Fisher said. “I think Milton Friedman addresses these various issues in only the way Milton Friedman could.”

The conversation was recorded on October 19, 2005, as part of ongoing discussions with the Nobel Prize winner. It followed a 2003 conference hosted by the Dallas Fed focusing on the legacy of Milton and Rose Friedman's popular television series and book, Free to Choose.

Friedman died on November 16, 2006.

The following are excerpts from Friedman's comments:

—On globalization's impact:

“…it's a curious situation. You read the newspapers and you think the world is going to hell. You think the economy is doing badly. And yet, the truth is, that we have never in our history had as productive an economy as we do now.”

—On China:

“You cannot maintain, in my opinion, today's political structure and today's economic structure.”

—On government spending:

“…as government has increased spending, we make ourselves a less attractive society in which to set up business, in which to run a business.”

—On Social Security:

“My favorite solution…would be to give every individual who's in a Social Security system now—either as a recipient or as a payer—a bond equal to the present value of what they so far have actually earned and then close the system down.”


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James Hoard
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