David Stockman — Right On The Money, Economy, Trump and The Warfare and Welfare State — You Have Been Warned — Videos

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World’s Greatest Memory and Trump’s La la Land | David Stockman’s Warning

Published on Apr 29, 2017

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Stockman: Market Will Not Be Pretty Under Trump

[Ed. Note: To see exactly what this former Reagan insider has to say about Trump and specifically what he believes must be done to drain the swamp, David Stockman is sending out a copy of his book Trumped! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin… And How to Bring It Back out to any American willing to listen. To learn how to get your free copy CLICK HERE.]

As bonds break a three day win streak and the U.S market hitting new record highs with a trifecta of records, CNBC was roaring about what to expect going forward. The Daily Reckoning contributor David Stockman joined Courtney Reagan to discuss what to expect going forward.

After the CNBC host positioned the critiques offered by David Stockman of the Trump administration she asked whether that would continue given the state of the market. Stockman did not mix words beginning the conversation with, “What’s going on today is complete insanity. The market is apparently pricing in a huge Trump stimulus package, when if you just look at the real world out there the only thing that is going to happen is a fiscal bloodbath and a White House train wreck like never before in U.S history.

How much more evidence do these so called traders need? Trump is lost in Twitter-land and he is out of control. He is turning out to be a complete jackass in the Oval Office. Co-President Bannon is off the deep end on terrorism, travel bans, Mexican walls, immigrant bashing and protectionism.”

David Stockman is a former Reagan Administration official who was the Office of Management and Budget Director. He also served as a two-term Congressman from the great state of Michigan. His latest book, Trumped! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin… And How to Bring It Back is out now. It offers his insight and exclusive analysis on exactly what the newly elected president must do in order to succeed in the White House. To get your own FREE copy, CLICK HERE to learn how.

“[They are] having nothing to do with the economic agenda and Trump has got an empty economic bench. He’s got no Secretary of the Treasury, no Office of Management and Budget, no Council of Economic Advisor Chairman. By this time, when I was there with the Reagan Administration, the plan was ready to go and he was going to Congress within a couple of days into February. We have a debt ceiling freight train coming down the road which will hit March 15 and then the cash will start running out and the system will be on edge. All of the continuing resolutions expire in April.”

“They are going to spend the year trying to repeal and replace Obamacare and it will be a fiasco. Nothing is going to happen this year. I don’t even think they can pass the budget resolution. There is going to be no tax action this year. If there is any bill next year it is going to be deficit neutral. Which means it is not going to add $15 to earnings like these crazy people expect.”

“Why would you be trading in this market, with this kind of chaos emerging everywhere at twenty six times trailing earnings? That’s where we are. It is completely crazy and it is only a question of how many more days or weeks that this kind of fantasy land can last.”

David Stockman Market In Text 2

Courtney Reagan then pressed back asking, “At what point do you give in and admit that [Trump] is atypical but maybe he could get things done? I mean, look at all of the CEO’s that Trump has met with.” The former Reagan insider remarked that, “CEO’s come and go with every president. They came in with Reagan, they tell a president what they want to hear. These guys are just selling the song and dance about how many jobs they’re going to create in the next five years. They have no clue.”

“If we have a recession in the next five years, which surely we will, because recessions have not been outlawed and we haven’t had one for ten years. None of this stuff is going to happen. This is meaningless. What is meaningful is that Trump is out of control. This tweeting and getting off track on all of this terrorism stuff. This is a sign that there is going to be no governing coalition and that all of this fiscal stimulus expected by Wall Street is a complete fantasy. It can’t happen.”

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When CNBC then turned over the camera to a day trader who asked about the positive sentiment that exists within the market regarding Trump and his plan to deregulate Stockman stayed true to message. “Trump is just putting out press releases and the guise of Executive Orders. All of this stuff is going to get litigated, it goes through a rulemaking process, that takes years. So the relief on regulation will be important, but it way down the road and it won’t be that impactful.”

“The second thing, is we’re at 92 months in this expansion already. It is running out of gas. You can’t expect it to run forever. That is seemingly what is priced in by the market.”

“The third thing is, we have a giant debt and deficit problem. The debt ceiling is coming back into play it will be 20 trillion when it freezes in on March 15th. I’ll tell you this, people aren’t paying attention to the fact that Trump will never get a debt ceiling increase through the Congress without a government shutdown. When that happens it is, “bar the doors” because nobody is expecting it. We need to look at the facts, not the hopes.”

As the CNBC affirmed, it is not clear that the market is just going to drop tomorrow and history will repeat itself, Stockman repositioned. “The market it clearly factoring in a big Trump stimulus and I think anybody down there would admit if it doesn’t happen, if we get zero tax cuts, if we get a fiscal bloodbath in the Washington I am describing – the market is not going to stay where it is today at these absurd multiples of earnings.”

“This is all based on the idea that there is going to be a surge of economic growth and that profits are going to come back from about $89 a share by basis, where they were during the last twelve months, to a potential $110 or $130. My argument is there is not going to be any economic rebound. There is not going to be any profit surge. Therefore the market will be repricing dramatically downward once it is clear.”

Another CNBC analysis asked why – with the positive trends in jobless claims, manufacturing increasing, interest rates at near record lows – would the market not close out the year near record levels? “The market is assuming that profits are going to rebound. That we are not going to have any market dislocation and that nobody is going to be pushing back on Trump. It is hard to understand how people watching the day-to-day action down there could believe that.”

“Everybody is pushing back on Trump, he can’t even get his cabinet approved. He’s going to be bogged down in a Supreme Court fight, he’s going to be bogged down in a fight over a ridiculous travel ban. The idea that there is not going to be pushback is naive. What there is going to be is a train wreck. It is already clear that the people in the White House have no idea what they’re doing and it is only a matter of time before this honeymoon goodwill evaporates and the politicians get down to doing what they do best. Which is to undermine and obstruct anything that might be positive.”

When finally asked whether there is anything positive that would make him turn bullish in the near future he responded affirmably, “No, because Trump is inheriting thirty years of a disaster created by his predecessors. We have to take this $20 trillion of debt seriously. There is $10 trillion more built in under current policy, and that is without a dime of Trump tax cuts, infrastructure or stimulus. There is going to be a tremendous fiscal crisis in the years ahead which will prevent any of the kind of action that the “stimulus junkies” are looking for.

To catch the full interview with David Stockman on CNBC click here. If you would like to claim your own free copy of David Stockman’s bestseller Trumped! Click here to learn how.

Thanks for reading,

Craig Wilson, @craig_wilson7
for the Daily Reckoning


David Stockman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
David Stockman
David Stockman by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
In office
January 21, 1981 – August 1, 1985
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Jim McIntyre
Succeeded by Jim Miller
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan‘s 4th district
In office
January 3, 1977 – January 21, 1981
Preceded by Edward Hutchinson
Succeeded by Mark Siljander
Personal details
Born David Alan Stockman
November 10, 1946 (age 70)
Fort Hood, Texas, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Jennifer Blei (1983–present)[1]
Education Michigan State University (BA)
Harvard University
Website Official website

David Alan Stockman (born November 10, 1946) is a former businessman and U.S. politician who served as a Republican U.S. Representative from the state of Michigan (1977–1981) and as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (1981–1985) under President Ronald Reagan.

Early life and education

Stockman was born in Fort Hood, Texas, the son of Allen Stockman, a fruit farmer, and Carol (née Bartz).[2] He is of German descent, and his family’s surname was originally “Stockmann”.[3] He was raised in a conservative family, and his maternal grandfather, William Bartz, was a Republican county treasurer for 30 years.[4][5] Stockman was educated at public schools in Stevensville, Michigan. He graduated from Lakeshore High School in 1964[6] and received a B.A. in History from Michigan State University in 1968. He was a graduate student at Harvard University, 1968–1970 studying theology

Political career

Stockman’s Congressional portrait

He served as special assistant to United States Representative and 1980 U.S. presidential candidate John Anderson of Illinois, 1970–1972, and was executive director, United States House of Representatives Republican Conference, 1972–1975.


Stockman was elected to the United States House of Representatives for the 95th Congress and was reelected in two subsequent elections, serving from January 3, 1977, until his resignation January 21, 1981, to accept appointment as Director of the Office of Management and Budget for U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

Office of Management and Budget

Stockman was one of the most controversial OMB directors ever appointed, also known as the “Father of Reaganomics.” He resigned in August 1985. Committed to the doctrine of supply-side economics, he assisted in the passing of the “Reagan Budget” (the Gramm-Latta Budget), which Stockman hoped would curtail the “welfare state“. He thus gained a reputation as a tough negotiator with House Speaker Tip O’Neill‘s Democratic-controlled House of Representatives and Majority Leader Howard Baker‘s Republican-controlled Senate. During this period, Stockman became well known to the public during the contentious political wrangling concerning the role of the federal government in American society.

Stockman’s influence within the Reagan Administration was weakened after the Atlantic Monthly magazine published the infamous 18,246 word article, “The Education of David Stockman”,[7] in its December 1981 issue, based on lengthy interviews Stockman gave to reporter William Greider.

Stockman was quoted as referring to Reagan’s tax act in these terms: “I mean, Kemp-Roth [Reagan’s 1981 tax cut] was always a Trojan horse to bring down the top rate…. It’s kind of hard to sell ‘trickle down.’ So the supply-side formula was the only way to get a tax policy that was really ‘trickle down.’ Supply-side is ‘trickle-down’ theory.”[7] Of the budget process during his first year on the job, Stockman was quoted as saying, “None of us really understands what’s going on with all these numbers,” which was used as the subtitle of the article.[7]

After “being taken to the woodshed by the president” because of his candor with Greider, Stockman became concerned with the projected trend of increasingly large federal deficits and the rapidly expanding national debt. On 1 August 1985, he resigned from OMB and later wrote a memoir of his experience in the Reagan Administration titled The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed in which he specifically criticized the failure of congressional Republicans to endorse a reduction of government spending to offset large tax decreases to avoid the creation of large deficits and an increasing national debt.

Fiscal legacy

President Jimmy Carter’s last fiscal year budget ended with a $79.0 billion budget deficit (and a national debt of $907,701,000,000 [8] as of September 30, 1980), ending during the period of David Stockman’s and Ronald Reagan’s first year in office, on October 1, 1981.[9] The gross federal national debt had just increased to $1.0 trillion during October 1981 ($998 billion on 30 September 1981, up from $907.7 billion during the last full fiscal year of the Carter administration[8]).

By 30 September 1985, four and a half years into the Reagan administration and shortly after Stockman’s resignation from the OMB during August 1985, the gross federal debt was $1.8 trillion.[8] Stockman’s OMB work within the administration during 1981 until August 1985 was dedicated to negotiating with the Senate and House about the next fiscal year’s budget, executed later during the autumn of 1985, which resulted in the national debt becoming $2.1 trillion at fiscal year end 30 September 1986.[8] Reaganomics had just begun.

In 1981, Stockman received the Samuel S. Beard Award for Greatest Public Service by an Individual 35 Years or Under, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.[10]

Business career

After leaving government, Stockman joined the Wall St. investment bank Salomon Brothers and later became a partner of the New York–based private equity company, the Blackstone Group.[11]:125–127 His record was mixed at Blackstone, with some very good investments, such as American Axle, but also failures, including Haynes International and Republic Technologies.[11]:144–147 During 1999, after Blackstone CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman curtailed Stockman’s role in managing the investments he had developed,[11]:146 Stockman resigned from Blackstone to start his own private equity fund company, Heartland Industrial Partners, L.P., based in Greenwich, Connecticut.[12]

On the strength of his investment record at Blackstone, Stockman and his partners raised $1.3 billion of equity from institutional and other investors. With Stockman’s guidance, Heartland used a contrarian investment strategy, buying controlling interests in companies operating in sectors of the U.S. economy that were attracting the least amount of new equity: auto parts and textiles. With the help of about $9 billion in Wall Street debt financing, Heartland completed more than 20 transactions in less than 2 years to create four portfolio companies: Springs Industries, Metaldyne, Collins & Aikman, and TriMas. Several major investments performed very poorly, however. Collins & Aikman filed for bankruptcy during 2005 and when Heartland sold Metaldyne to Asahi Tec Corp. during 2006, Heartland lost most of the $340 million of equity it had invested in the business.[13]

Collins & Aikman Corp.

During August 2003, Stockman became CEO of Collins & Aikman Corporation, a Detroit-based manufacturer of automotive interior components. He was ousted from that job days before Collins & Aikman filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 on May 17, 2005.

Criminal and civil charges

On March 26, 2007, federal prosecutors in Manhattan indicted Stockman in “a scheme… to defraud [Collins & Aikman]’s investors, banks and creditors by manipulating C&A’s reported revenues and earnings.” The United States Securities and Exchange Commission also brought civil charges against Stockman related to actions that he performed while CEO of Collins & Aikman.[14] Stockman suffered a personal financial loss, over $13 million, along with losses suffered by as many as 15,000 Collins & Aikman employees worldwide.

Stockman said in a statement posted on his law firm’s website that the company’s end was the consequence of an industry decline, not due to fraud.[15] On January 9, 2009, the US Attorney’s Office announced that it did not intend to prosecute Stockman for this case.[16]

Web site

In March 2014 Stockman launched a web based daily periodical, David Stockman’s Contra Corner featuring both his own articles and those from leading contrarian thinkers on geopolitics, economics, and finance.

Personal life

Stockman lives in the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City.[12] He is married to Jennifer Blei Stockman and is the father of two children, Rachel and Victoria. Jennifer Blei Stockman is a chairwoman emerita of the Republican Majority for Choice,[17] and President of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation Board of Trustees.[18] In 2013, Stockman signed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in favor of same-sex marriage.[19]


  • “[Social Security] has to be means-tested. And Medicare needs to be means-tested […] Let the Bush tax cuts expire. Let the capital gains go back to the same rate as ordinary income.”[20]
  • “The Republican Party has totally abdicated its job in our democracy, which is to act as the guardian of fiscal discipline and responsibility. They’re on an anti-tax jihad — one that benefits the prosperous classes.”[21]
  • “I invest in anything that Bernanke can’t destroy, including gold, canned beans, bottled water and flashlight batteries.”[22]
  • “Ninety-two percent of the wealth is owned by five percent of the people.” (Bloomberg TV 2013)
  • “[T]he Republican Party was hijacked by modern imperialists during the Reagan era. As a consequence, the conservative party cannot perform its natural function as watchdog of the public purse because it is constantly seeking legislative action to provision a vast war machine of invasion and occupation.” [23]


  • The Reagan Economic Plan, 1981
  • The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed, Harper & Row, 1986, ISBN 9780060155605
  • The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America, PublicAffairs, 2013, ISBN 9781586489120
  • Trumped!: A Nation on the Brink of Ruin, and How to Bring it Back, 2016


  1. Jump up^ “LOSING THE BATTLES AND WINNING THE WAR”. Lexington Herald-Leader. April 7, 1985.
  2. Jump up^ Hunter, Marjorie (December 12, 1980). “Office of Management and Budget David Alan Stockman; Strong Support From Kemp Chosen by House Republicans Views on Economy”. The New York Times.
  3. Jump up^ “News65”. 19 June 1998.
  4. Jump up^ “The Tuscaloosa News – Google News Archive Search”.
  5. Jump up^ “The Montreal Gazette – Google News Archive Search”.
  6. Jump up^ Heibutzki, Ralph (2012-06-04). “Stockman Surprise Speaker at Lakeshore’s Graduation”. The Herald-Palladium. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
  7. ^ Jump up to:a b c William Greider (December 1981). “The Education of David Stockman”. The Atlantic Online.
  8. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Treasury Department’s Historical Debt Outstanding – Annual 1950 – 1999
  9. Jump up^ Office of Management and Budget Historical Tablessee Table 1.1 (Excel Spreadsheet)
  10. Jump up^ “Jefferson Awards”. Jefferson Awards.
  11. ^ Jump up to:a b c David Carey & John E. Morris (2001). King of Capital: The Remarkable Rise, Fall and Rise Again of Steve Schwarzman and Blackstone. Crown.
  12. ^ Jump up to:a b “Collins & Aikman seeks to emerge from bankruptcy,” Bloomberg News article by Jeff Bennett, published in the newspaper The Advocate of Stamford and (identical version, perhaps with changes by the local editor in the common business section for both newspapers) in the Greenwich Time on September 5, 2006, page A7, The Advocate
  13. Jump up^ David Carey and Lou Whiteman, “PE firms find buyer for Metaldyne,” The Deal, Sept. 1, 2006.
  14. Jump up^ Levin, Doris (29 March 2007). “Stockman Outsmarts Self in Detroit”. Bloomberg. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  15. Jump up^ “Ex-Collins Chief David Stockman Charged With Fraud (Update10)”. Bloomberg. March 26, 2007. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  16. Jump up^ “Fraud charges dropped against ex-Reagan aide David Stockman”. Chicago Tribune. 10 January 2009. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  17. Jump up^ About Us Republican Majority for Choice
  18. Jump up^ Trustees, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
  19. Jump up^ [1]
  20. Jump up^ “Why David Stockman Isn’t buying it”. CBS News. March 2, 2012.
  21. Jump up^ Dickinson, Tim (Nov 9, 2011). “How the GOP Became the Party of the Rich”. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2011-11-10.
  22. Jump up^ David Stockman: I Invest In Anything Bernanke Can’t Destroy, John Carney, CNBC, October 6, 2010
  23. Jump up^ Stockman, David (2013). The Great Deformation — the corruption of capitalism in America. PublicAffairs. p. 688. ISBN 978-1586489120.

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Edward Hutchinson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan’s 4th congressional district

Succeeded by
Mark Siljander
Political offices
Preceded by
Jim McIntyre
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
Succeeded by
Jim Miller
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Non-accelarating Inflation Rate of Unemployment (NAIRU) — Phillips Curve — Money and Inflation — No Real Tradeoff Between Price Increases and Unemployment Rate In The Long Run — States and Nations Cutting Taxes Resulted In Higher Growth and Lower Unemployment — Videos

Posted on March 14, 2017. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Books, Business, College, Communications, Congress, conservatives, Constitution, Corruption, Documentary, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Faith, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Freedom, government, High School, history, History of Economic Thought, Inflation, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Money, Money, Newspapers, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Political Correctness, Politics, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Taxation, Taxes, Tutorials, Unemployment, Video, Wealth, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

NAIRU is an acronym for non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment,[1] and refers to a level of unemployment below which inflation rises. It was first introduced as NIRU (non-inflationary rate of unemployment) by Franco Modigliani and Lucas Papademos in 1975, as an improvement over the “natural rate of unemployment” concept,[2][3][4] which was proposed earlier by Milton Friedman.[5]

Monetary policy conducted under the assumption of a NAIRU involves allowing just enough unemployment in the economy to prevent inflation rising above a given target figure. Prices are allowed to increase gradually and some unemployment is tolerated.




An early form of NAIRU is found in the work of Abba P. Lerner (Lerner 1951, Chapter 14), who referred to it as “low full employment” attained via the expansion of aggregate demand, in contrast with the “high full employment” which adds incomes policies (wage and price controls) to demand stimulation.

The concept arose in the wake of the popularity of the Phillips curve which summarized the observed negative correlation between the rate of unemployment and the rate of inflation (measured as annual nominal wage growth of employees) for number of industrialised countries with more or less mixed economies. This correlation (previously seen for the U.S. by Irving Fisher) persuaded some analysts that it was impossible for governments simultaneously to target both arbitrarily low unemployment and price stability, and that, therefore, it was government’s role to seek a point on the trade-off between unemployment and inflation which matched a domestic social consensus.

During the 1970s in the United States and several other industrialized countries, Phillips curve analysis became less popular, because inflation rose at the same time that unemployment rose (see stagflation).

Worse, as far as many economists were concerned, was that the Phillips curve had little or no theoretical basis. Critics of this analysis (such as Milton Friedman and Edmund Phelps) argued that the Phillips curve could not be a fundamental characteristic of economic general equilibrium because it showed a correlation between a real economic variable (the unemployment rate) and a nominal economic variable (the inflation rate). Their counter-analysis was that government macroeconomic policy (primarily monetary policy) was being driven by a low unemployment target and that this caused expectations of inflation to change, so that steadily accelerating inflation rather than reduced unemployment was the result. The resulting prescription was that government economic policy (or at least monetary policy) should not be influenced by any level of unemployment below a critical level – the “natural rate” or NAIRU.[6]

The natural rate hypothesis

The idea behind the natural rate hypothesis put forward by Friedman was that any given labor market structure must involve a certain amount of unemployment, including frictional unemployment associated with individuals changing jobs and possibly classical unemployment arising from real wages being held above the market-clearing level by minimum wage laws, trade unions or other labour market institutions. Unexpected inflation might allow unemployment to fall below the natural rate by temporarily depressing real wages, but this effect would dissipate once expectations about inflation were corrected. Only with continuously accelerating inflation could rates of unemployment below the natural rate be maintained.

The analysis supporting the natural rate hypothesis was controversial, and empirical evidence suggested that the natural rate varied over time in ways that could not easily be explained by changes in labor market structures. As a result, the “natural rate” terminology was largely supplanted by that of the NAIRU, which referred to a rate of unemployment below which inflation would accelerate, but did not imply a commitment to any particular theoretical explanation, or a prediction that the rate would be stable over time.


If {\displaystyle U*}U* is the NAIRU and {\displaystyle U}U is the actual unemployment rate, the theory says that:

if {\displaystyle U<U*}U<U* for a few years, inflationary expectations rise, so that the inflation rate tends to increase;
if {\displaystyle U>U*}U>U* for a few years, inflationary expectations fall, so that the inflation rate tends to slow (there is disinflation); and
if {\displaystyle U=U*}U=U*, the inflation rate tends to stay the same, unless there is an exogenous shock.

Okun’s law can be stated as saying that for every one percentage point by which the actual unemployment rate exceeds the so-called “natural” rate of unemployment, real gross domestic product is reduced by 2% to 3%.


The NAIRU analysis assumes that if inflation increases, workers and employers can create contracts that take into account expectations of higher inflation and agree on a level of wage inflation that matches the expected level of price inflation to maintain constant real wages. Therefore, the analysis requires inflation to accelerate to maintain low unemployment. However, this argument implicitly assumes that workers and employers cannot contract to incorporate accelerating inflation into wage expectations, but there is no clear justification for assuming that expectations or contract structures are limited in this way aside from the fact that such wage arrangements are not commonly observed.

The NAIRU analysis is especially problematic if the Phillips curve displays hysteresis, that is, if episodes of high unemployment raise the NAIRU.[7] This could happen, for example, if unemployed workers lose skills so that employers prefer to bid up of the wages of existing workers when demand increases, rather than hiring the unemployed.

Others, such as Abba Lerner (1951, 1967) and Hyman Minsky (1965) have argued that a similar effect can be achieved without the human costs of unemployment via a job guarantee, where rather than being unemployed, those who cannot find work in the private sector should be employed by the government. This theory, and the policy of the job guarantee replaces the NAIRU with the NAIBER (non-accelerating-inflation-buffer employment ratio).[8]

Relationship to other economic theories

Most economists do not see the NAIRU theory as explaining all inflation. Instead, it is possible to move along a short run Phillips Curve (even though the NAIRU theory says that this curve shifts in the longer run) so that unemployment can rise or fall due to changes in inflation. Exogenous supply-shock inflation is also possible, as with the “energy crises” of the 1970s or the credit crunch of the early 21st century.

The NAIRU theory was mainly intended as an argument against active Keynesian demand management and in favor of free markets (at least on the macroeconomic level). There is, for instance, no theoretical basis for predicting the NAIRU. Monetarists instead support the generalized assertion that the correct approach to unemployment is through microeconomic measures (to lower the NAIRU whatever its exact level), rather than macroeconomic activity based on an estimate of the NAIRU in relation to the actual level of unemployment. Monetary policy, they maintain, should aim instead at stabilizing the inflation rate.


The NAIRU, non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment, is actually misnamed. It is the price level that is accelerating (or decelerating), not the inflation rate. The inflation rate is just changing, not accelerating.[9]

See also


  1. Jump up^ Coe, David T, Nominal Wages. The NAIRU and Wage Flexibility. (PDF), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  2. Jump up^ Modigliani, Franco; Papademos, Lucas (1975). “Targets for Monetary Policy in the Coming Year”. Brookings Papers on Economic Activity. The Brookings Institution. 1975 (1): 141–165. doi:10.2307/2534063. JSTOR 2534063.
  3. Jump up^ Robert M. Solow, Modigliani and Monetarism, p. 6.
  4. Jump up^ Snowdon, Brian; Vane, Howard R. (2005). Modern Macroeconomics: Its Origins, Development and Current State. Cheltenham: E. Elgar. p. 187. ISBN 1-84376-394-X.
  5. Jump up^ Friedman, Milton (1968). “The Role of Monetary Policy”. American Economic Review. 58 (1): 1–17. JSTOR 1831652.
  6. Jump up^ Hoover, Kevin D, “Phillips Curve”, The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, The Library of Economics and Liberty, retrieved 16 July 2007
  7. Jump up^ Ball, Laurence (2009), Hysteresis in Unemployment: Old and New Evidence (PDF)
  8. Jump up^ William Mitchell, J. Muysken (2008), Full employment abandoned: shifting sands and policy failures, Edward Elgar Publishing, ISBN 1-85898-507-2
  9. Jump up^ Case, K.E. and Fair, R.C. and Oster, S.M. (2016). Principles of Macroeconomics. Pearson. ISBN 9780133023671.

Further reading

External links


Phillips curve

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the Phillips curve in supernova astrophysics, see Phillips relationship.

The Phillips curve is a single-equation empirical model, named after A. W. Phillips, describing a historical inverse relationship between rates of unemployment and corresponding rates of inflation that result within an economy. Stated simply, decreased unemployment, (i.e., increased levels of employment) in an economy will correlate with higher rates of inflation.

While there is a short run tradeoff between unemployment and inflation, it has not been observed in the long run.[1] In 1968, Milton Friedman asserted that the Phillips curve was only applicable in the short-run and that in the long-run, inflationary policies will not decrease unemployment.[2][3] Friedman then correctly predicted that, in the 1973–75 recession, both inflation and unemployment would increase.[3] The long-run Phillips curve is now seen as a vertical line at the natural rate of unemployment, where the rate of inflation has no effect on unemployment.[4] Accordingly, the Phillips curve is now seen as too simplistic, with the unemployment rate supplanted by more accurate predictors of inflation based on velocity of moneysupply measures such as the MZM (“money zero maturity”) velocity,[5] which is affected by unemployment in the short but not the long term.[6]




Rate of Change of Wages against Unemployment, United Kingdom 1913–1948 from Phillips (1958)

William Phillips, a New Zealand born economist, wrote a paper in 1958 titled The Relation between Unemployment and the Rate of Change of Money Wage Rates in the United Kingdom, 1861-1957, which was published in the quarterly journal Economica.[7] In the paper Phillips describes how he observed an inverse relationship between money wage changes and unemployment in the British economy over the period examined. Similar patterns were found in other countries and in 1960 Paul Samuelson and Robert Solow took Phillips’ work and made explicit the link between inflation and unemployment: when inflation was high, unemployment was low, and vice versa.[8]

In the 1920s, an American economist Irving Fisher noted this kind of Phillips curve relationship. However, Phillips’ original curve described the behavior of money wages.[9]

In the years following Phillips’ 1958 paper, many economists in the advanced industrial countries believed that his results showed that there was a permanently stable relationship between inflation and unemployment.[citation needed] One implication of this for government policy was that governments could control unemployment and inflation with a Keynesian policy. They could tolerate a reasonably high rate of inflation as this would lead to lower unemployment – there would be a trade-off between inflation and unemployment. For example, monetary policy and/or fiscal policy could be used to stimulate the economy, raising gross domestic product and lowering the unemployment rate. Moving along the Phillips curve, this would lead to a higher inflation rate, the cost of enjoying lower unemployment rates.[citation needed] Economist James Forder argues that this view is historically false and that neither economists nor governments took that view and that the ‘Phillips curve myth’ was an invention of the 1970s.[10]

Since 1974, seven Nobel Prizes have been given to economists for, among other things, work critical of some variations of the Phillips curve. Some of this criticism is based on the United States’ experience during the 1970s, which had periods of high unemployment and high inflation at the same time. The authors receiving those prizes include Thomas Sargent, Christopher Sims, Edmund Phelps, Edward Prescott, Robert A. Mundell, Robert E. Lucas, Milton Friedman, and F.A. Hayek.[11]


In the 1970s, many countries experienced high levels of both inflation and unemployment also known as stagflation. Theories based on the Phillips curve suggested that this could not happen, and the curve came under a concerted attack from a group of economists headed by Milton Friedman.[citation needed] Friedman argued that the Phillips curve relationship was only a short-run phenomenon. In this he followed eight years after Samuelson and Solow [1960] who wrote ” All of our discussion has been phrased in short-run terms, dealing with what might happen in the next few years. It would be wrong, though, to think that our Figure 2 menu that related obtainable price and unemployment behavior will maintain its same shape in the longer run. What we do in a policy way during the next few years might cause it to shift in a definite way.”[8] As Samuelson and Solow had argued 8 years earlier, he argued that in the long run, workers and employers will take inflation into account, resulting in employment contracts that increase pay at rates near anticipated inflation. Unemployment would then begin to rise back to its previous level, but now with higher inflation rates. This result implies that over the longer-run there is no trade-off between inflation and unemployment. This implication is significant for practical reasons because it implies that central banks should not set employment targets above the natural rate.[1]

More recent research has shown that there is a moderate trade-off between low-levels of inflation and unemployment. Work by George Akerlof, William Dickens, and George Perry,[12]implies that if inflation is reduced from two to zero percent, unemployment will be permanently increased by 1.5 percent. This is because workers generally have a higher tolerance for real wage cuts than nominal ones. For example, a worker will more likely accept a wage increase of two percent when inflation is three percent, than a wage cut of one percent when the inflation rate is zero.


U.S. Inflation and Unemployment 1/2000 to 4/2013

Most economists no longer use the Phillips curve in its original form because it was shown to be too simplistic.[6] This can be seen in a cursory analysis of US inflation and unemployment data from 1953–92. There is no single curve that will fit the data, but there are three rough aggregations—1955–71, 1974–84, and 1985–92—each of which shows a general, downwards slope, but at three very different levels with the shifts occurring abruptly. The data for 1953–54 and 1972–73 do not group easily, and a more formal analysis posits up to five groups/curves over the period.[1]

But still today, modified forms of the Phillips Curve that take inflationary expectations into account remain influential. The theory goes under several names, with some variation in its details, but all modern versions distinguish between short-run and long-run effects on unemployment. Modern Phillips curve models include both a short-run Phillips Curve and a long-run Phillips Curve. This is because in the short run, there is generally an inverse relationship between inflation and the unemployment rate; as illustrated in the downward sloping short-run Phillips curve. In the long run, that relationship breaks down and the economy eventually returns to the natural rate of unemployment regardless of the inflation rate.[13]

The “short-run Phillips curve” is also called the “expectations-augmented Phillips curve”, since it shifts up when inflationary expectations rise, Edmund Phelps and Milton Friedman argued. In the long run, this implies that monetary policy cannot affect unemployment, which adjusts back to its “natural rate“, also called the “NAIRU” or “long-run Phillips curve”. However, this long-run “neutrality” of monetary policy does allow for short run fluctuations and the ability of the monetary authority to temporarily decrease unemployment by increasing permanent inflation, and vice versa. The popular textbook of Blanchard gives a textbook presentation of the expectations-augmented Phillips curve.[14]

An equation like the expectations-augmented Phillips curve also appears in many recent New Keynesiandynamic stochastic general equilibrium models. In these macroeconomic models with sticky prices, there is a positive relation between the rate of inflation and the level of demand, and therefore a negative relation between the rate of inflation and the rate of unemployment. This relationship is often called the “New Keynesian Phillips curve.” Like the expectations-augmented Phillips curve, the New Keynesian Phillips curve implies that increased inflation can lower unemployment temporarily, but cannot lower it permanently. Two influential papers that incorporate a New Keynesian Phillips curve are Clarida, Galí, and Gertler (1999),[15] and Blanchard and Galí (2007).[16]


There are at least two different mathematical derivations of the Phillips curve. First, there is the traditional or Keynesian version. Then, there is the new Classical version associated with Robert E. Lucas, Jr.

The traditional Phillips curve

The original Phillips curve literature was not based on the unaided application of economic theory. Instead, it was based on empirical generalizations. After that, economists tried to develop theories that fit the data.

Money wage determination

The traditional Phillips curve story starts with a wage Phillips Curve, of the sort described by A.W. Phillips himself. This describes the rate of growth of money wages (gW). Here and below, the operator g is the equivalent of “the percentage rate of growth of” the variable that follows.

{\displaystyle gW=gW^{T}-f(U)}gW=gW^{{T}}-f(U)

The “money wage rate” (W) is shorthand for total money wage costs per production employee, including benefits and payroll taxes. The focus is on only production workers’ money wages, because (as discussed below) these costs are crucial to pricing decisions by the firms.

This equation tells us that the growth of money wages rises with the trend rate of growth of money wages (indicated by the superscript “T”) and falls with the unemployment rate (U). The function f() is assumed to be monotonically increasing with U so that the dampening of money-wage increases by unemployment is shown by the negative sign in the equation above.

There are several possible stories behind this equation. A major one is that money wages are set by bilateral negotiations under partial bilateral monopoly: as the unemployment rate rises, all else constant worker bargaining power falls, so that workers are less able to increase their wages in the face of employer resistance.

During the 1970s, this story had to be modified, because (as the late Abba Lerner had suggested in the 1940s) workers try to keep up with inflation. Since the 1970s, the equation has been changed to introduce the role of inflationary expectations (or the expected inflation rate, gPex). This produces the expectations-augmented wage Phillips curve:

{\displaystyle gW=gW^{T}-f(U)+\lambda .gP^{ex}.}gW=gW^{{T}}-f(U)+\lambda .gP^{{ex}}.

The introduction of inflationary expectations into the equation implies that actual inflation can feed back into inflationary expectations and thus cause further inflation. The late economist James Tobin dubbed the last term “inflationary inertia,” because in the current period, inflation exists which represents an inflationary impulse left over from the past.

It also involved much more than expectations, including the price-wage spiral. In this spiral, employers try to protect profits by raising their prices and employees try to keep up with inflation to protect their real wages. This process can feed on itself, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The parameter λ (which is presumed constant during any time period) represents the degree to which employees can gain money wage increases to keep up with expected inflation, preventing a fall in expected real wages. It is usually assumed that this parameter equals unity in the long run.

In addition, the function f() was modified to introduce the idea of the Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment (NAIRU) or what’s sometimes called the “natural” rate of unemployment or the inflation-threshold unemployment rate:

[1] gW = gWTf(UU*) + λ·gPex.

Here, U* is the NAIRU. As discussed below, if U < U*, inflation tends to accelerate. Similarly, if U > U*, inflation tends to slow. It is assumed that f(0) = 0, so that when U = U*, the f term drops out of the equation.

In equation [1], the roles of gWT and gPex seem to be redundant, playing much the same role. However, assuming that λ is equal to unity, it can be seen that they are not. If the trend rate of growth of money wages equals zero, then the case where U equals U* implies that gW equals expected inflation. That is, expected real wages are constant.

In any reasonable economy, however, having constant expected real wages could only be consistent with actual real wages that are constant over the long haul. This does not fit with economic experience in the U.S. or any other major industrial country. Even though real wages have not risen much in recent years, there have been important increases over the decades.

An alternative is to assume that the trend rate of growth of money wages equals the trend rate of growth of average labor productivity (Z). That is:

[2] gWT = gZT.

Under assumption [2], when U equals U* and λ equals unity, expected real wages would increase with labor productivity. This would be consistent with an economy in which actual real wages increase with labor productivity. Deviations of real-wage trends from those of labor productivity might be explained by reference to other variables in the model.

Pricing decisions

Next, there is price behavior. The standard assumption is that markets are imperfectly competitive, where most businesses have some power to set prices. So the model assumes that the average business sets a unit price (P) as a mark-up (M) over the unit labor cost in production measured at a standard rate of capacity utilization (say, at 90 percent use of plant and equipment) and then adds in the unit materials cost.

The standardization involves later ignoring deviations from the trend in labor productivity. For example, assume that the growth of labor productivity is the same as that in the trend and that current productivity equals its trend value:

gZ = gZT and Z = ZT.

The markup reflects both the firm’s degree of market power and the extent to which overhead costs have to be paid. Put another way, all else equal, M rises with the firm’s power to set prices or with a rise of overhead costs relative to total costs.

So pricing follows this equation:

P = M × (unit labor cost) + (unit materials cost)
= M × (total production employment cost)/(quantity of output) + UMC.

UMC is unit raw materials cost (total raw materials costs divided by total output). So the equation can be restated as:

P = M × (production employment cost per worker)/(output per production employee) + UMC.

This equation can again be stated as:

P = M×(average money wage)/(production labor productivity) + UMC
= M×(W/Z) + UMC.

Now, assume that both the average price/cost mark-up (M) and UMC are constant. On the other hand, labor productivity grows, as before. Thus, an equation determining the price inflation rate (gP) is:

gP = gWgZT.


Then, combined with the wage Phillips curve [equation 1] and the assumption made above about the trend behavior of money wages [equation 2], this price-inflation equation gives us a simple expectations-augmented price Phillips curve:

gP = −f(UU*) + λ·gPex.

Some assume that we can simply add in gUMC, the rate of growth of UMC, in order to represent the role of supply shocks (of the sort that plagued the U.S. during the 1970s). This produces a standard short-term Phillips curve:

gP = −f(UU*) + λ·gPex + gUMC.

Economist Robert J. Gordon has called this the “Triangle Model” because it explains short-run inflationary behavior by three factors: demand inflation (due to low unemployment), supply-shock inflation (gUMC), and inflationary expectations or inertial inflation.

In the long run, it is assumed, inflationary expectations catch up with and equal actual inflation so that gP = gPex. This represents the long-term equilibrium of expectations adjustment. Part of this adjustment may involve the adaptation of expectations to the experience with actual inflation. Another might involve guesses made by people in the economy based on other evidence. (The latter idea gave us the notion of so-called rational expectations.)

Expectational equilibrium gives us the long-term Phillips curve. First, with λ less than unity:

gP = [1/(1 − λ)]·(−f(UU*) + gUMC).

This is nothing but a steeper version of the short-run Phillips curve above. Inflation rises as unemployment falls, while this connection is stronger. That is, a low unemployment rate (less than U*) will be associated with a higher inflation rate in the long run than in the short run. This occurs because the actual higher-inflation situation seen in the short run feeds back to raise inflationary expectations, which in turn raises the inflation rate further. Similarly, at high unemployment rates (greater than U*) lead to low inflation rates. These in turn encourage lower inflationary expectations, so that inflation itself drops again.

This logic goes further if λ is equal to unity, i.e., if workers are able to protect their wages completely from expected inflation, even in the short run. Now, the Triangle Model equation becomes:

f(UU*) = gUMC.

If we further assume (as seems reasonable) that there are no long-term supply shocks, this can be simplified to become:

f(UU*) = 0 which implies that U = U*.

All of the assumptions imply that in the long run, there is only one possible unemployment rate, U* at any one time. This uniqueness explains why some call this unemployment rate “natural.”

To truly understand and criticize the uniqueness of U*, a more sophisticated and realistic model is needed. For example, we might introduce the idea that workers in different sectors push for money wage increases that are similar to those in other sectors. Or we might make the model even more realistic. One important place to look is at the determination of the mark-up, M.

New classical version

The Phillips curve equation can be derived from the (short-run) Lucas aggregate supply function. The Lucas approach is very different from that the traditional view. Instead of starting with empirical data, he started with a classical economic model following very simple economic principles.

Start with the aggregate supply function:

{\displaystyle Y=Y_{n}+a(P-P_{e})\,}Y=Y_{n}+a(P-P_{e})\,

where Y is log value of the actual output, Yn is log value of the “natural” level of output, a is a positive constant, P is log value of the actual price level, and Pe is log value of the expected price level. Lucas assumes that Yn has a unique value.

Note that this equation indicates that when expectations of future inflation (or, more correctly, the future price level) are totally accurate, the last term drops out, so that actual output equals the so-called “natural” level of real GDP. This means that in the Lucas aggregate supply curve, the only reason why actual real GDP should deviate from potential—and the actual unemployment rate should deviate from the “natural” rate—is because of incorrect expectations of what is going to happen with prices in the future. (The idea has been expressed first by Keynes, General Theory, Chapter 20 section III paragraph 4).

This differs from other views of the Phillips curve, in which the failure to attain the “natural” level of output can be due to the imperfection or incompleteness of markets, the stickiness of prices, and the like. In the non-Lucas view, incorrect expectations can contribute to aggregate demand failure, but they are not the only cause. To the “new Classical” followers of Lucas, markets are presumed to be perfect and always attain equilibrium (given inflationary expectations).

We re-arrange the equation into:

{\displaystyle P=P_{e}+{\frac {Y-Y_{n}}{a}}}P=P_{e}+{\frac {Y-Y_{n}}{a}}

Next we add unexpected exogenous shocks to the world supply v:

{\displaystyle P=P_{e}+{\frac {Y-Y_{n}}{a}}+v}P=P_{e}+{\frac {Y-Y_{n}}{a}}+v

Subtracting last year’s price levels P−1 will give us inflation rates, because

{\displaystyle P-P_{-1}\ \approx \pi }P-P_{{-1}}\ \approx \pi


{\displaystyle P_{e}-P_{-1}\ \approx \pi _{e}}P_{e}-P_{{-1}}\ \approx \pi _{e}

where π and πe are the inflation and expected inflation respectively.

There is also a negative relationship between output and unemployment (as expressed by Okun’s law). Therefore, using

{\displaystyle {\frac {Y-Y_{n}}{a}}=-b(U-U_{n})}{\frac {Y-Y_{n}}{a}}=-b(U-U_{n})

where b is a positive constant, U is unemployment, and Un is the natural rate of unemployment or NAIRU, we arrive at the final form of the short-run Phillips curve:

{\displaystyle \pi =\pi _{e}-b(U-U_{n})+v\,}\pi =\pi _{e}-b(U-U_{n})+v\,

This equation, plotting inflation rate π against unemployment U gives the downward-sloping curve in the diagram that characterises the Phillips curve.

New Keynesian version

The New Keynesian Phillips curve was originally derived by Roberts in 1995,[17] and since been used in most state-of-the-art New Keynesian DSGE models like the one of Clarida, Galí, and Gertler (2000).[18][19]

{\displaystyle \pi _{t}=\beta E_{t}[\pi _{t+1}]+\kappa y_{t}}\pi _{{t}}=\beta E_{{t}}[\pi _{{t+1}}]+\kappa y_{{t}}

where {\displaystyle \kappa ={\frac {\alpha [1-(1-\alpha )\beta ]\phi }{1-\alpha }}}\kappa ={\frac {\alpha [1-(1-\alpha )\beta ]\phi }{1-\alpha }}. The current expectations of next period’s inflation are incorporated as {\displaystyle \beta E_{t}[\pi _{t+1}]}\beta E_{{t}}[\pi _{{t+1}}]

NAIRU and rational expectations

Short-Run Phillips Curve before and after Expansionary Policy, with Long-Run Phillips Curve (NAIRU)

In the 1970s, new theories, such as rational expectations and the NAIRU (non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment) arose to explain how stagflation could occur. The latter theory, also known as the “natural rate of unemployment“, distinguished between the “short-term” Phillips curve and the “long-term” one. The short-term Phillips Curve looked like a normal Phillips Curve, but shifted in the long run as expectations changed. In the long run, only a single rate of unemployment (the NAIRU or “natural” rate) was consistent with a stable inflation rate. The long-run Phillips Curve was thus vertical, so there was no trade-off between inflation and unemployment. Edmund Phelps won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2006 in part for this. However, the expectations argument was in fact very widely understood before his work on it.[20]

In the diagram, the long-run Phillips curve is the vertical red line. The NAIRU theory says that when unemployment is at the rate defined by this line, inflation will be stable. However, in the short-run policymakers will face an inflation-unemployment rate tradeoff marked by the “Initial Short-Run Phillips Curve” in the graph. Policymakers can therefore reduce the unemployment rate temporarily, moving from point A to point B through expansionary policy. However, according to the NAIRU, exploiting this short-run tradeoff will raise inflation expectations, shifting the short-run curve rightward to the “New Short-Run Phillips Curve” and moving the point of equilibrium from B to C. Thus the reduction in unemployment below the “Natural Rate” will be temporary, and lead only to higher inflation in the long run.

Since the short-run curve shifts outward due to the attempt to reduce unemployment, the expansionary policy ultimately worsens the exploitable tradeoff between unemployment and inflation. That is, it results in more inflation at each short-run unemployment rate. The name “NAIRU” arises because with actual unemployment below it, inflation accelerates, while with unemployment above it, inflation decelerates. With the actual rate equal to it, inflation is stable, neither accelerating nor decelerating. One practical use of this model was to provide an explanation for stagflation, which confounded the traditional Phillips curve.

The rational expectations theory said that expectations of inflation were equal to what actually happened, with some minor and temporary errors. This in turn suggested that the short-run period was so short that it was non-existent: any effort to reduce unemployment below the NAIRU, for example, would immediately cause inflationary expectations to rise and thus imply that the policy would fail. Unemployment would never deviate from the NAIRU except due to random and transitory mistakes in developing expectations about future inflation rates. In this perspective, any deviation of the actual unemployment rate from the NAIRU was an illusion.

However, in the 1990s in the U.S., it became increasingly clear that the NAIRU did not have a unique equilibrium and could change in unpredictable ways. In the late 1990s, the actual unemployment rate fell below 4% of the labor force, much lower than almost all estimates of the NAIRU. But inflation stayed very moderate rather than accelerating. So, just as the Phillips curve had become a subject of debate, so did the NAIRU.

Furthermore, the concept of rational expectations had become subject to much doubt when it became clear that the main assumption of models based on it was that there exists a single (unique) equilibrium in the economy that is set ahead of time, determined independently of demand conditions. The experience of the 1990s suggests that this assumption cannot be sustained.

Theoretical questions

The Phillips curve started as an empirical observation in search of a theoretical explanation.[citation needed] Specifically, the Phillips curve tried to determine whether the inflation-unemployment link was causal or simply correlational. There are several major explanations of the short-term Phillips curve regularity.

To Milton Friedman there is a short-term correlation between inflation shocks and employment. When an inflationary surprise occurs, workers are fooled into accepting lower pay because they do not see the fall in real wages right away. Firms hire them because they see the inflation as allowing higher profits for given nominal wages. This is a movement along the Phillips curve as with change A. Eventually, workers discover that real wages have fallen, so they push for higher money wages. This causes the Phillips curve to shift upward and to the right, as with B. Some research underlines that some implicit and serious assumptions are actually in the background of the Friedmanian Phillips curve. This information asymmetry and a special pattern of flexibility of prices and wages are both necessary if one wants to maintain the mechanism told by Friedman. However, as it is argued, these presumptions remain completely unrevealed and theoretically ungrounded by Friedman.[21]

Economists such as Milton Friedman and Edmund Phelps reject this theory because it implies that workers suffer from money illusion. According to them, rational workers would only react to real wages, that is, inflation adjusted wages. However, one of the characteristics of a modern industrial economy is that workers do not encounter their employers in an atomized and perfect market. They operate in a complex combination of imperfect markets, monopolies, monopsonies, labor unions, and other institutions. In many cases, they may lack the bargaining power to act on their expectations, no matter how rational they are, or their perceptions, no matter how free of money illusion they are. It is not that high inflation causes low unemployment (as in Milton Friedman’s theory) as much as vice versa: Low unemployment raises worker bargaining power, allowing them to successfully push for higher nominal wages. To protect profits, employers raise prices.

Similarly, built-in inflation is not simply a matter of subjective “inflationary expectations” but also reflects the fact that high inflation can gather momentum and continue beyond the time when it was started, due to the objective price/wage spiral.

However, other economists, like Jeffrey Herbener, argue that price is market-determined and competitive firms cannot simply raise prices.[citation needed] They reject the Phillips curve entirely, concluding that unemployment’s influence is only a small portion of a much larger inflation picture that includes prices of raw materials, intermediate goods, cost of raising capital, worker productivity, land, and other factors.

Gordon’s triangle model

Robert J. Gordon of Northwestern University has analyzed the Phillips curve to produce what he calls the triangle model, in which the actual inflation rate is determined by the sum of

  1. demand pull or short-term Phillips curve inflation,
  2. cost push or supply shocks, and
  3. built-in inflation.

The last reflects inflationary expectations and the price/wage spiral. Supply shocks and changes in built-in inflation are the main factors shifting the short-run Phillips Curve and changing the trade-off. In this theory, it is not only inflationary expectations that can cause stagflation. For example, the steep climb of oil prices during the 1970s could have this result.

Changes in built-in inflation follow the partial-adjustment logic behind most theories of the NAIRU:

  1. Low unemployment encourages high inflation, as with the simple Phillips curve. But if unemployment stays low and inflation stays high for a long time, as in the late 1960s in the U.S., both inflationary expectations and the price/wage spiral accelerate. This shifts the short-run Phillips curve upward and rightward, so that more inflation is seen at any given unemployment rate. (This is with shift B in the diagram.)
  2. High unemployment encourages low inflation, again as with a simple Phillips curve. But if unemployment stays high and inflation stays low for a long time, as in the early 1980s in the U.S., both inflationary expectations and the price/wage spiral slow. This shifts the short-run Phillips curve downward and leftward, so that less inflation is seen at each unemployment rate.

In between these two lies the NAIRU, where the Phillips curve does not have any inherent tendency to shift, so that the inflation rate is stable. However, there seems to be a range in the middle between “high” and “low” where built-in inflation stays stable. The ends of this “non-accelerating inflation range of unemployment rates” change over time.

Joke article

In 2008, Gregor Smith published a joke article in the prestigious Journal of Money, Credit and Banking titled “Japan’s Phillips Curve Looks Like Japan”. This article points out the uncanny resemblance between Japan’s Phillips curve and the country’s geographic shape.[22]

See also


  1. ^ Jump up to:a b c Chang, R. (1997) “Is Low Unemployment Inflationary?” Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Economic Review 1Q97:4-13
  2. Jump up^ Friedman, Milton (1968). “The role of monetary policy”. American Economic Review. 68 (1): 1–17. JSTOR 1831652.
  3. ^ Jump up to:a b Phelan, John (23 October 2012). “Milton Friedman and the rise and fall of the Phillips Curve”. thecommentator.com. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
  4. Jump up^ “Phillips Curve: The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics – Library of Economics and Liberty”.
  5. Jump up^ “Velocity of MZM Money Stock”. 22 December 2016.
  6. ^ Jump up to:a b Oliver Hossfeld (2010) “US Money Demand, Monetary Overhang, and Inflation Prediction” International Network for Economic Research working paper no. 2010.4
  7. Jump up^ Phillips, A. W. (1958). “The Relationship between Unemployment and the Rate of Change of Money Wages in the United Kingdom 1861-1957”. Economica. 25 (100): 283–299. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0335.1958.tb00003.x.
  8. ^ Jump up to:a b Samuelson, Paul A.; Solow, Robert M. (1960). “Analytical Aspects of Anti-Inflation Policy”. American Economic Review. 50 (2): 177–194. JSTOR 1815021.
  9. Jump up^ Fisher, Irving (1973). “I discovered the Phillips curve: ‘A statistical relation between unemployment and price changes'”. Journal of Political Economy. The University of Chicago Press. 81 (2): 496–502. doi:10.1086/260048. JSTOR 1830534. Reprinted from 1926 edition of International Labour Review.
  10. Jump up^ Forder, James (2014). Macroeconomics and the Phillips Curve Myth. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-968365-9.
  11. Jump up^ Domitrovic, Brain (10 October 2011). “The Economics Nobel Goes to Sargent & Sims: Attackers of the Phillips Curve”. Forbes.com. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
  12. Jump up^ Akerlof, George A.; Dickens, William T.; Perry, George L. (2000). “Near-Rational Wage and Price Setting and the Long-Run Phillips Curve”. Brookings Papers on Economic Activity. 2000 (1): 1–60.
  13. Jump up^ Jacob, Reed (2016). “AP Macroeconomics Review: Phillips Curve”. APEconReview.com.
  14. Jump up^ Blanchard, Olivier (2000). Macroeconomics (Second ed.). Prentice Hall. pp. 149–55. ISBN 0-13-013306-X.
  15. Jump up^ Clarida, Richard; Galí, Jordi; Gertler, Mark (1999). “The science of monetary policy: a New-Keynesian perspective”. Journal of Economic Literature. American Economic Association. 37 (4): 1661–1707. doi:10.1257/jel.37.4.1661. JSTOR 2565488.
  16. Jump up^ Blanchard, Olivier; Galí, Jordi (2007). “Real Wage Rigidities and the New Keynesian Model”. Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking. 39 (s1): 35–65. doi:10.1111/j.1538-4616.2007.00015.x.
  17. Jump up^ Roberts, John M. (1995). “New Keynesian Economics and the Phillips Curve”. Journal of Money, Credit and Banking. 27 (4): 975–984. JSTOR 2077783.
  18. Jump up^ Clarida, Richard; Galí, Jordi; Gertler, Mark (2000). “Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory”. The Quarterly Journal of Economics. 115 (1): 147–180. doi:10.1162/003355300554692.
  19. Jump up^ Romer, David (2012). “Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Models of Fluctuation”. Advanced Macroeconomics. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin. pp. 312–364. ISBN 978-0-07-351137-5.
  20. Jump up^ Forder, James (2010). “The historical place of the ‘Friedman-Phelps’ expectations critique”. European Journal of the History of Economic Thought. 17 (3): 493–511. doi:10.1080/09672560903114875.
  21. Jump up^ Galbács, Peter (2015). The Theory of New Classical Macroeconomics. A Positive Critique. Heidelberg/New York/Dordrecht/London: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-17578-2. ISBN 978-3-319-17578-2.
  22. Jump up^ Smith, Gregor W. (1 September 2008). “Japan’s Phillips Curve Looks Like Japan”. 40 (6): 1325–1326. doi:10.1111/j.1538-4616.2008.00160.x – via Wiley Online Library.

Further reading

External links


Milton Friedman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Milton Friedman
Portrait of Milton Friedman.jpg

Friedman in 2004
Born July 31, 1912
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Died November 16, 2006 (aged 94)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Spouse(s) Rose Friedman
School or
Chicago School
Alma mater
Simon Kuznets
Phillip Cagan
Harry Markowitz
Lester G. Telser[1]
David I. Meiselman
Neil Wallace
Miguel Sidrauski
Information at IDEAS / RePEc
Milton friedman signature.svg

Milton Friedman (July 31, 1912 – November 16, 2006) was an American economist who received the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his research on consumption analysis, monetary history and theory, and the complexity of stabilization policy.[4] With George Stigler and others, Friedman was among the intellectual leaders of the second generation of Chicago price theory, a methodological movement at the University of Chicago’s Department of Economics, Law School, and Graduate School of Business from the 1940s onward. Several students and young professors that were recruited or mentored by Friedman at Chicago went on to become leading economists; they include Gary Becker, Robert Fogel, Thomas Sowell,[5] and Robert Lucas, Jr.[6]

Friedman’s challenges to what he later called “naive Keynesian” theory[7] began with his 1950s reinterpretation of the consumption function. In the 1960s, he became the main advocate opposing Keynesian government policies,[8] and described his approach (along with mainstream economics) as using “Keynesian language and apparatus” yet rejecting its “initial” conclusions.[9] He theorized that there existed a “natural” rate of unemployment, and argued that employment above this rate would cause inflation to accelerate.[10] He argued that the Phillips curve was, in the long run, vertical at the “natural rate” and predicted what would come to be known as stagflation.[11] Friedman promoted an alternative macroeconomic viewpoint known as “monetarism“, and argued that a steady, small expansion of the money supply was the preferred policy.[12] His ideas concerning monetary policy, taxation, privatization and deregulation influenced government policies, especially during the 1980s. His monetary theory influenced the Federal Reserve’s response to the global financial crisis of 2007–08.[13]

Friedman was an advisor to Republican U.S. President Ronald Reagan[14] and Conservative British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.[15] His political philosophy extolled the virtues of a free market economic system with minimal intervention. He once stated that his role in eliminating U.S. conscription was his proudest accomplishment. In his 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom, Friedman advocated policies such as a volunteer military, freely floating exchange rates, abolition of medical licenses, a negative income tax, and school vouchers.[16] His support for school choice led him to found the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, later renamed EdChoice.[17]

Milton Friedman’s works include many monographs, books, scholarly articles, papers, magazine columns, television programs, and lectures, and cover a broad range of economic topics and public policy issues. His books and essays have had an international influence, including in former communist states.[18][19][20][21] A survey of economists ranked Friedman as the second-most popular economist of the twentieth century after John Maynard Keynes,[22] and The Economist described him as “the most influential economist of the second half of the 20th century … possibly of all of it”.[23]



Early life

Friedman was born in Brooklyn, New York on July 31, 1912. His parents, Sára Ethel (née Landau) and Jenő Saul Friedman,[24] were Jewish immigrants from Beregszász in Carpathian Ruthenia, Kingdom of Hungary (now Berehove in Ukraine). They both worked as dry goods merchants. Shortly after Milton’s birth, the family relocated to Rahway, New Jersey. In his early teens, Friedman was injured in a car accident, which scarred his upper lip.[25] A talented student, Friedman graduated from Rahway High School in 1928, just before his 16th birthday.[26][27]

In 1932, Friedman graduated from Rutgers University, where he specialized in mathematics and economics and initially intended to become an actuary. During his time at Rutgers, Friedman became influenced by two economics professors, Arthur F. Burns and Homer Jones, who convinced him that modern economics could help end the Great Depression.

After graduating from Rutgers, Friedman was offered two scholarships to do graduate work—one in mathematics at Brown University and the other in economics at the University of Chicago.[28] Friedman chose the latter, thus earning a Master of Arts degree in 1933. He was strongly influenced by Jacob Viner, Frank Knight, and Henry Simons. It was at Chicago that Friedman met his future wife, economist Rose Director. During the 1933–1934 academic year he had a fellowship at Columbia University, where he studied statistics with renowned statistician and economist Harold Hotelling. He was back in Chicago for the 1934–1935 academic year, working as a research assistant for Henry Schultz, who was then working on Theory and Measurement of Demand. That year, Friedman formed what would prove to be lifelong friendships with George Stigler and W. Allen Wallis.[29]

Public service

Friedman was initially unable to find academic employment, so in 1935 he followed his friend W. Allen Wallis to Washington, where Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s New Deal was “a lifesaver” for many young economists.[30] At this stage, Friedman said that he and his wife “regarded the job-creation programs such as the WPA, CCC, and PWA appropriate responses to the critical situation,” but not “the price- and wage-fixing measures of the National Recovery Administration and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration.”[31] Foreshadowing his later ideas, he believed price controls interfered with an essential signaling mechanism to help resources be used where they were most valued. Indeed, Friedman later concluded that all government intervention associated with the New Deal was “the wrong cure for the wrong disease,” arguing that the money supply should simply have been expanded, instead of contracted.[32] Later, Friedman and his colleague Anna Schwartz wrote A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960, which argued that the Great Depression was caused by a severe monetary contraction due to banking crises and poor policy on the part of the Federal Reserve.[33]

During 1935, he began work for the National Resources Committee, which was then working on a large consumer budget survey. Ideas from this project later became a part of his Theory of the Consumption Function. Friedman began employment with the National Bureau of Economic Research during autumn 1937 to assist Simon Kuznets in his work on professional income. This work resulted in their jointly authored publication Incomes from Independent Professional Practice, which introduced the concepts of permanent and transitory income, a major component of the Permanent Income Hypothesis that Friedman worked out in greater detail in the 1950s. The book hypothesizes that professional licensing artificially restricts the supply of services and raises prices.

During 1940, Friedman was appointed an assistant professor teaching Economics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, but encountered antisemitism in the Economics department and decided to return to government service.[34][35] From 1941 to 1943 Friedman worked on wartime tax policy for the Federal Government, as an advisor to senior officials of the United States Department of the Treasury. As a Treasury spokesman during 1942 he advocated a Keynesian policy of taxation. He helped to invent the payroll withholding tax system, since the federal government badly needed money in order to fight the war.[36] He later said, “I have no apologies for it, but I really wish we hadn’t found it necessary and I wish there were some way of abolishing withholding now.”[37]

Academic career

Early years

In 1940, Friedman accepted a position at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, but left because of differences with faculty regarding United States involvement in World War II. Friedman believed the United States should enter the war.[38] In 1943, Friedman joined the Division of War Research at Columbia University (headed by W. Allen Wallis and Harold Hotelling), where he spent the rest of World War II working as a mathematical statistician, focusing on problems of weapons design, military tactics, and metallurgical experiments.[38][39]

In 1945, Friedman submitted Incomes from Independent Professional Practice (co-authored with Kuznets and completed during 1940) to Columbia as his doctoral dissertation. The university awarded him a PhD in 1946. Friedman spent the 1945–1946 academic year teaching at the University of Minnesota (where his friend George Stigler was employed). On February 12, 1945, his son, David D. Friedman was born.

University of Chicago

In 1946, Friedman accepted an offer to teach economic theory at the University of Chicago (a position opened by departure of his former professor Jacob Viner to Princeton University). Friedman would work for the University of Chicago for the next 30 years. There he contributed to the establishment of an intellectual community that produced a number of Nobel Prize winners, known collectively as the Chicago school of economics.

At that time, Arthur F. Burns, who was then the head of the National Bureau of Economic Research, asked Friedman to rejoin the Bureau’s staff. He accepted the invitation, and assumed responsibility for the Bureau’s inquiry into the role of money in the business cycle. As a result, he initiated the “Workshop in Money and Banking” (the “Chicago Workshop”), which promoted a revival of monetary studies. During the latter half of the 1940s, Friedman began a collaboration with Anna Schwartz, an economic historian at the Bureau, that would ultimately result in the 1963 publication of a book co-authored by Friedman and Schwartz, A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960.

Friedman spent the 1954–1955 academic year as a Fulbright Visiting Fellow at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. At the time, the Cambridge economics faculty was divided into a Keynesian majority (including Joan Robinson and Richard Kahn) and an anti-Keynesian minority (headed by Dennis Robertson). Friedman speculated that he was invited to the fellowship, because his views were unacceptable to both of the Cambridge factions. Later his weekly columns for Newsweek magazine (1966–84) were well read and increasingly influential among political and business people.[40] From 1968 to 1978, he and Paul Samuelson participated in the Economics Cassette Series, a biweekly subscription series where the economist would discuss the days’ issues for about a half-hour at a time.[41][42]

Friedman was an economic adviser to Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater during 1964.

Personal life


In 1977, at the age of 65, Friedman retired from the University of Chicago after teaching there for 30 years. He and his wife moved to San Francisco where he became a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. From 1977 on, he was affiliated with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. During the same year, Friedman was approached by the Free To Choose Network and asked to create a television program presenting his economic and social philosophy.

The Friedmans worked on this project for the next three years, and during 1980, the ten-part series, titled Free to Choose, was broadcast by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). The companion book to the series (co-authored by Milton and his wife, Rose Friedman), also titled Free To Choose, was the bestselling nonfiction book of 1980 and has since been translated into 14 foreign languages.

Friedman served as an unofficial adviser to Ronald Reagan during his 1980 presidential campaign, and then served on the President’s Economic Policy Advisory Board for the rest of the Reagan Administration. Ebenstein says Friedman was “the ‘guru’ of the Reagan administration.”[43] In 1988 he received the National Medal of Science and Reagan honored him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Milton Friedman is known now as one of the most influential economists of the 20th century.[44][45] Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Friedman continued to write editorials and appear on television. He made several visits to Eastern Europe and to China, where he also advised governments. He was also for many years a Trustee of the Philadelphia Society.[46][47][48]

Later life

According to a 2007 article in Commentary magazine, his “parents were moderately observant [Jews], but Friedman, after an intense burst of childhood piety, rejected religion altogether.”[49] He described himself as an agnostic.[50] Friedman wrote extensively of his life and experiences, especially in 1998 in his memoirs with his wife Rose, titled Two Lucky People.


Friedman died of heart failure at the age of 94 years in San Francisco on November 16, 2006.[51] He was still a working economist performing original economic research; his last column was published in The Wall Street Journal the day after his death.[52] He was survived by his wife (who died on August 18, 2009) and their two children, David, known for the anarcho-capitalist book The Machinery of Freedom, and Janet.

Scholarly contributions


Friedman was best known for reviving interest in the money supply as a determinant of the nominal value of output, that is, the quantity theory of money. Monetarism is the set of views associated with modern quantity theory. Its origins can be traced back to the 16th-century School of Salamanca or even further; however, Friedman’s contribution is largely responsible for its modern popularization. He co-authored, with Anna Schwartz, A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960 (1963), which was an examination of the role of the money supply and economic activity in the U.S. history. A striking conclusion of their research regarded the way in which money supply fluctuations contribute to economic fluctuations. Several regression studies with David Meiselman during the 1960s suggested the primacy of the money supply over investment and government spending in determining consumption and output. These challenged a prevailing, but largely untested, view on their relative importance. Friedman’s empirical research and some theory supported the conclusion that the short-run effect of a change of the money supply was primarily on output but that the longer-run effect was primarily on the price level.

Friedman was the main proponent of the monetarist school of economics. He maintained that there is a close and stable association between inflation and the money supply, mainly that inflation could be avoided with proper regulation of the monetary base’s growth rate. He famously used the analogy of “dropping money out of a helicopter.”,[53] in order to avoid dealing with money injection mechanisms and other factors that would overcomplicate his models.

Friedman’s arguments were designed to counter the popular concept of cost-push inflation, that the increased general price level at the time was the result of increases in the price of oil, or increases in wages; as he wrote,

Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.

— Milton Friedman, 1963.[54]

Friedman rejected the use of fiscal policy as a tool of demand management; and he held that the government’s role in the guidance of the economy should be restricted severely. Friedman wrote extensively on the Great Depression, which he termed the Great Contraction, arguing that it had been caused by an ordinary financial shock whose duration and seriousness were greatly increased by the subsequent contraction of the money supply caused by the misguided policies of the directors of the Federal Reserve.

The Fed was largely responsible for converting what might have been a garden-variety recession, although perhaps a fairly severe one, into a major catastrophe. Instead of using its powers to offset the depression, it presided over a decline in the quantity of money by one-third from 1929 to 1933 … Far from the depression being a failure of the free-enterprise system, it was a tragic failure of government.

— Milton Friedman, Two Lucky People, 233[55]

Friedman also argued for the cessation of government intervention in currency markets, thereby spawning an enormous literature on the subject, as well as promoting the practice of freely floating exchange rates. His close friend George Stigler explained, “As is customary in science, he did not win a full victory, in part because research was directed along different lines by the theory of rational expectations, a newer approach developed by Robert Lucas, also at the University of Chicago.”[56] The relationship between Friedman and Lucas, or new classical macroeconomics as a whole, was highly complex. The Friedmanian Phillips curve was an interesting starting point for Lucas, but he soon realized that the solution provided by Friedman was not quite satisfactory. Lucas elaborated a new approach in which rational expectations were presumed instead of the Friedmanian adaptive expectations. Due to this reformulation, the story in which the theory of the new classical Phillips curve was embedded radically changed. This modification, however, had a significant effect on Friedman’s own approach, so, as a result, the theory of the Friedmanian Phillips curve also changed.[57] Moreover, new classical Neil Wallace, who was a graduate student at the University of Chicago between 1960 and 1963, regarded Friedman’s theoretical courses as a mess.[58] This evaluation clearly indicates the broken relationship between Friedmanian monetarism and new classical macroeconomics.

Friedman was also known for his work on the consumption function, the permanent income hypothesis (1957), which Friedman himself referred to as his best scientific work.[59] This work contended that rational consumers would spend a proportional amount of what they perceived to be their permanent income. Windfall gains would mostly be saved. Tax reductions likewise, as rational consumers would predict that taxes would have to increase later to balance public finances. Other important contributions include his critique of the Phillips curve and the concept of the natural rate of unemployment (1968). This critique associated his name, together with that of Edmund Phelps, with the insight that a government that brings about greater inflation cannot permanently reduce unemployment by doing so. Unemployment may be temporarily lower, if the inflation is a surprise, but in the long run unemployment will be determined by the frictions and imperfections of the labor market.

Friedman’s essay “The Methodology of Positive Economics” (1953) provided the epistemological pattern for his own subsequent research and to a degree that of the Chicago School. There he argued that economics as science should be free of value judgments for it to be objective. Moreover, a useful economic theory should be judged not by its descriptive realism but by its simplicity and fruitfulness as an engine of prediction. That is, students should measure the accuracy of its predictions, rather than the ‘soundness of its assumptions’. His argument was part of an ongoing debate among such statisticians as Jerzy Neyman, Leonard Savage, and Ronald Fisher.[60]


One of his most famous contributions to statistics is sequential sampling. Friedman did statistical work at the Division of War Research at Columbia, where he and his colleagues came up with the technique. It later became, in the words of The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, “the standard analysis of quality control inspection”. The dictionary adds, “Like many of Friedman’s contributions, in retrospect it seems remarkably simple and obvious to apply basic economic ideas to quality control; that however is a measure of his genius.”[61]

Public policy positions

Federal Reserve

Due to its poor performance,[62] Friedman believed that the Federal Reserve Board should be abolished.[63][64] Friedman was deeply critical about Federal Reserve policies, even during the so-called ‘Volcker shock’ that was labelled ‘monetarist.’[65] He further believed that if the money supply was to be centrally controlled (as by the Federal Reserve System) that the preferable way to do it would be with a mechanical system that would keep the quantity of money increasing at a steady rate.

Exchange rates

Friedman was a strong advocate for floating exchange rates throughout the entire Bretton-Woods period. He argued that a flexible exchange rate would make external adjustment possible and allow countries to avoid Balance of Payments crises. He saw fixed exchange rates as an undesirable form of government intervention. The case was articulated in an influential 1953 paper, “The Case for Flexible Exchange Rates”, at a time, when most commentators regarded the possibility of floating exchange rates as a fantasy.[66][67]

School choice

In his 1955 article “The Role of Government in Education”[68] Friedman proposed supplementing publicly operated schools with privately run but publicly funded schools through a system of school vouchers.[69] Reforms similar to those proposed in the article were implemented in, for example, Chile in 1981 and Sweden in 1992.[70] In 1996, Friedman, together with his wife, founded the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice to advocate school choice and vouchers. In 2016, the Friedman Foundation changed its name to EdChoice to honor the Friedmans’ desire to have the educational choice movement live on without their names attached to it after their deaths.[17]


While Walter Oi is credited with establishing the economic basis for a volunteer military, Milton Friedman was a proponent, stating that the draft was “inconsistent with a free society.”[71][72] In Capitalism and Freedom, he argued that conscription is inequitable and arbitrary, preventing young men from shaping their lives as they see fit.[73] During the Nixon administration he headed the committee to research a conversion to paid/volunteer armed force. He would later state that his role in eliminating the conscription in the United States was his proudest accomplishment.[12] Friedman did, however, believe a nation could compel military training as a reserve in case of war time.[73]

Foreign policy

Biographer Lanny Ebenstein noted a drift over time in Friedman’s views from an interventionist to a more cautious foreign policy.[74] He supported US involvement in the Second World War and initially supported a hard line against Communism, but moderated over time.[74] He opposed the Gulf War and the Iraq War.[74] In a spring 2006 interview, Friedman said that the USA’s stature in the world had been eroded by the Iraq War, but that it might be improved if Iraq were to become a peaceful independent country.[75]

Libertarianism and the Republican Party

He served as a member of President Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board starting at 1981. In 1988, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science. He said that he was a libertarian philosophically, but a member of the U.S. Republican Party for the sake of “expediency” (“I am a libertarian with a small ‘l’ and a Republican with a capital ‘R.’ And I am a Republican with a capital ‘R’ on grounds of expediency, not on principle.”) But, he said, “I think the term classical liberal is also equally applicable. I don’t really care very much what I’m called. I’m much more interested in having people thinking about the ideas, rather than the person.”[76]

Public goods and monopoly

Friedman was supportive of the state provision of some public goods that private businesses are not considered as being able to provide. However, he argued that many of the services performed by government could be performed better by the private sector. Above all, if some public goods are provided by the state, he believed that they should not be a legal monopoly where private competition is prohibited; for example, he wrote:

There is no way to justify our present public monopoly of the post office. It may be argued that the carrying of mail is a technical monopoly and that a government monopoly is the least of evils. Along these lines, one could perhaps justify a government post office, but not the present law, which makes it illegal for anybody else to carry the mail. If the delivery of mail is a technical monopoly, no one else will be able to succeed in competition with the government. If it is not, there is no reason why the government should be engaged in it. The only way to find out is to leave other people free to enter.

— Milton Friedman, Friedman, Milton & Rose D. Capitalism and Freedom, University of Chicago Press, 1982, p. 29

Social security, welfare programs, and negative income tax

After 1960 Friedman attacked Social Security from a free market view stating that it had created welfare dependency.[77]

Friedman proposed that if there had to be a welfare system of any kind, he would replace the existing U.S. welfare system with a negative income tax, a progressive tax system in which the poor receive a basic living income from the government.[78] According to the New York Times, Friedman’s views in this regard were grounded in a belief that while “market forces … accomplish wonderful things”, they “cannot ensure a distribution of income that enables all citizens to meet basic economic needs”.[78]

Drug policy

Friedman also supported libertarian policies such as legalization of drugs and prostitution. During 2005, Friedman and more than 500 other economists advocated discussions regarding the economic benefits of the legalization of marijuana.[79]

Gay rights

Friedman was also a supporter of gay rights.[80][81] He never specifically supported same-sex marriage, instead saying “I do not believe there should be any discrimination against gays.”[81]

Economic freedom

Michael Walker of the Fraser Institute and Friedman hosted a series of conferences from 1986 to 1994. The goal was to create a clear definition of economic freedom and a method for measuring it. Eventually this resulted in the first report on worldwide economic freedom, Economic Freedom in the World.[82] This annual report has since provided data for numerous peer-reviewed studies and has influenced policy in several nations.

Along with sixteen other distinguished economists he opposed the Copyright Term Extension Act and filed an amicus brief in Eldred v. Ashcroft.[83] He supported the inclusion of the word “no-brainer” in the brief.[84]

Friedman argued for stronger basic legal (constitutional) protection of economic rights and freedoms to further promote industrial-commercial growth and prosperity and buttress democracy and freedom and the rule of law generally in society.[85]

Honors, recognition, and influence

George H. Nash, a leading historian of American conservatism, says that by, “the end of the 1960s he was probably the most highly regarded and influential conservative scholar in the country, and one of the few with an international reputation.”[86] Friedman allowed the libertarian Cato Institute to use his name for its biannual Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty beginning in 2001. A Friedman Prize was given to the late British economist Peter Bauer in 2002, Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto in 2004, Mart Laar, former Estonian Prime Minister in 2006 and a young Venezuelan student Yon Goicoechea in 2008. His wife Rose, sister of Aaron Director, with whom he initiated the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, served on the international selection committee.[87][88] Friedman was also a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics.

Upon Friedman’s death, Harvard President Lawrence Summers called him “The Great Liberator” saying “… any honest Democrat will admit that we are now all Friedmanites.” He said Friedman’s great popular contribution was “in convincing people of the importance of allowing free markets to operate.”[89]

In 2013 Stephen Moore, a member of the editorial forward of the Wall Street Journal said, “Quoting the most-revered champion of free-market economics since Adam Smith has become a little like quoting the Bible.” He adds, “There are sometimes multiple and conflicting interpretations.”[90]

Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences

Friedman won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, the sole recipient for 1976, “for his achievements in the fields of consumption analysis, monetary history and theory and for his demonstration of the complexity of stabilization policy.”[4]

Hong Kong

Friedman once said, “If you want to see capitalism in action, go to Hong Kong.”[91] He wrote in 1990 that the Hong Kong economy was perhaps the best example of a free market economy.[92]

One month before his death, he wrote the article “Hong Kong Wrong – What would Cowperthwaite say?” in the Wall Street Journal, criticizing Donald Tsang, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, for abandoning “positive noninterventionism.”[93] Tsang later said he was merely changing the slogan to “big market, small government,” where small government is defined as less than 20% of GDP. In a debate between Tsang and his rival, Alan Leong, before the 2007 Chief Executive election, Leong introduced the topic and jokingly accused Tsang of angering Friedman to death.


Main articles: Miracle of Chile and Chicago Boys

During 1975, two years after the military coup that brought military dictator President Augusto Pinochet to power and ended the government of Salvador Allende, the economy of Chile experienced a severe crisis. Friedman and Arnold Harberger accepted an invitation of a private Chilean foundation to visit Chile and speak on principles of economic freedom.[94] He spent seven days in Chile giving a series of lectures at the Universidad Católica de Chile and the (National) University of Chile. One of the lectures was entitled “The Fragility of Freedom” and according to Friedman, “dealt with precisely the threat to freedom from a centralized military government.”[95]

In an April 21, 1975, letter to Pinochet, Friedman considered the “key economic problems of Chile are clearly … inflation and the promotion of a healthy social market economy“.[96] He stated that “There is only one way to end inflation: by drastically reducing the rate of increase of the quantity of money …” and that “… cutting government spending is by far and away the most desirable way to reduce the fiscal deficit, because it … strengthens the private sector thereby laying the foundations for healthy economic growth”.[96] As to how rapidly inflation should be ended, Friedman felt that “for Chile where inflation is raging at 10–20% a month … gradualism is not feasible. It would involve so painful an operation over so long a period that the patient would not survive.” Choosing “a brief period of higher unemployment…” was the lesser evil.. and that “the experience of Germany, … of Brazil …, of the post-war adjustment in the U.S. … all argue for shock treatment“. In the letter Friedman recommended to deliver the shock approach with “… a package to eliminate the surprise and to relieve acute distress” and “… for definiteness let me sketch the contents of a package proposal … to be taken as illustrative” although his knowledge of Chile was “too limited to enable [him] to be precise or comprehensive”. He listed a “sample proposal” of 8 monetary and fiscal measures including “the removal of as many as obstacles as possible that now hinder the private market. For example, suspend … the present law against discharging employees”. He closed, stating “Such a shock program could end inflation in months”. His letter suggested that cutting spending to reduce the fiscal deficit would result in less transitional unemployment than raising taxes.

Sergio de Castro, a Chilean Chicago School graduate, became the nation’s Minister of Finance in 1975. During his six-year tenure, foreign investment increased, restrictions were placed on striking and labor unions, and GDP rose yearly.[97] A foreign exchange program was created between the Catholic University of Chile and the University of Chicago. Many other Chicago School alumni were appointed government posts during and after the Pinochet years; others taught its economic doctrine at Chilean universities. They became known as the Chicago Boys.[98]

Friedman did not criticize Pinochet’s dictatorship at the time, nor the assassinations, illegal imprisonments, torture, or other atrocities that were well known by then.[99] In 1976 Friedman defended his unofficial adviser position with: “I do not consider it as evil for an economist to render technical economic advice to the Chilean Government, any more than I would regard it as evil for a physician to give technical medical advice to the Chilean Government to help end a medical plague.”[100]

Friedman defended his activity in Chile on the grounds that, in his opinion, the adoption of free market policies not only improved the economic situation of Chile but also contributed to the amelioration of Pinochet’s rule and to the eventual transition to a democratic government during 1990. That idea is included in Capitalism and Freedom, in which he declared that economic freedom is not only desirable in itself but is also a necessary condition for political freedom. In his 1980 documentary Free to Choose, he said the following: “Chile is not a politically free system, and I do not condone the system. But the people there are freer than the people in Communist societies because government plays a smaller role. … The conditions of the people in the past few years has been getting better and not worse. They would be still better to get rid of the junta and to be able to have a free democratic system.”[101][102] In 1984, Friedman stated that he has “never refrained from criticizing the political system in Chile.”[95] In 1991 he said: “I have nothing good to say about the political regime that Pinochet imposed. It was a terrible political regime. The real miracle of Chile is not how well it has done economically; the real miracle of Chile is that a military junta was willing to go against its principles and support a free market regime designed by principled believers in a free market. […] In Chile, the drive for political freedom, that was generated by economic freedom and the resulting economic success, ultimately resulted in a referendum that introduced political democracy. Now, at long last, Chile has all three things: political freedom, human freedom and economic freedom. Chile will continue to be an interesting experiment to watch to see whether it can keep all three or whether, now that it has political freedom,that political freedom will tend to be used to destroy or reduce economic freedom.”[103] He stressed that the lectures he gave in Chile were the same lectures he later gave in China and other socialist states.[104]

During the 2000 PBS documentary The Commanding Heights (based on the book), Friedman continued to argue that “free markets would undermine [Pinochet’s] political centralization and political control.”,[105][106] and that criticism over his role in Chile missed his main contention that freer markets resulted in freer people, and that Chile’s unfree economy had caused the military government. Friedman advocated for free markets which undermined “political centralization and political control”.[107]


Friedman visited Iceland during the autumn of 1984, met with important Icelanders and gave a lecture at the University of Iceland on the “tyranny of the status quo.” He participated in a lively television debate on August 31, 1984 with socialist intellectuals, including Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, who later became the president of Iceland.[108] When they complained that a fee was charged for attending his lecture at the University and that, hitherto, lectures by visiting scholars had been free-of-charge, Friedman replied that previous lectures had not been free-of-charge in a meaningful sense: lectures always have related costs. What mattered was whether attendees or non-attendees covered those costs. Friedman thought that it was fairer that only those who attended paid. In this discussion Friedman also stated that he did not receive any money for delivering that lecture.


Although Friedman never visited Estonia, his book Free to Choose exercised a great influence on that nation’s then 32-year-old prime minister, Mart Laar, who has claimed that it was the only book on economics he had read before taking office. Laar’s reforms are often credited with responsibility for transforming Estonia from an impoverished Soviet Republic to the “Baltic Tiger.” A prime element of Laar’s program was introduction of the flat tax. Laar won the 2006 Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty, awarded by the Cato Institute.[109]

United Kingdom

After 1950 Friedman was frequently invited to lecture in Britain, and by the 1970s his ideas had gained widespread attention in conservative circles. For example, he was a regular speaker at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), a libertarian think tank. Conservative politician Margaret Thatcher closely followed IEA programs and ideas, and met Friedman there in 1978. He also strongly influenced Keith Joseph, who became Thatcher’s senior advisor on economic affairs, as well as Alan Walters and Patrick Minford, two other key advisers. Major newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph, The Times, and The Financial Times all promulgated Friedman’s monetarist ideas to British decision-makers. Friedman’s ideas strongly influenced Thatcher and her allies when she became Prime Minister in 1979.[110][111]


Econometrician David Hendry criticized part of Friedman’s and Anna Schwartz’s 1982 Monetary Trends.[112] When asked about it during an interview with Icelandic TV in 1984,[113] Friedman said that the criticism referred to a different problem from that which he and Schwartz had tackled, and hence was irrelevant,[114] and pointed out the lack of consequential peer review amongst econometricians on Hendry’s work.[115] In 2006, Hendry said that Friedman was guilty of “serious errors” of misunderstanding that meant “the t-ratios he reported for UK money demand were overstated by nearly 100 per cent”, and said that, in a paper published in 1991 with Neil Ericsson,[116] he had refuted “almost every empirical claim […] made about UK money demand” by Friedman and Schwartz.[117] A 2004 paper updated and confirmed the validity of the Hendry–Ericsson findings through 2000.[118]

Although Keynesian Nobel laureate Paul Krugman praised Friedman as a “great economist and a great man” after Friedman’s death in 2006, and acknowledged his many, widely accepted contributions to empirical economics, Krugman had been, and remains, a prominent critic of Friedman. Krugman has written that “he slipped all too easily into claiming both that markets always work and that only markets work. It’s extremely hard to find cases in which Friedman acknowledged the possibility that markets could go wrong, or that government intervention could serve a useful purpose.”[119]

In her book The Shock Doctrine, author and social activist Naomi Klein criticized Friedman’s economic liberalism, identifying it with the principles that guided the economic restructuring that followed the military coups in countries such as Chile and Indonesia. Based on their assessments of the extent to which what she describes as neoliberal policies contributed to income disparities and inequality, both Klein and Noam Chomsky have suggested that the primary role of what they describe as neoliberalism was as an ideological cover for capital accumulation by multinational corporations.[120]

Visit to Chile

Because of his involvement with the Pinochet government, there were international protests when Friedman was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1976.[121] Friedman was accused of supporting the military dictatorship in Chile because of the relation of economists of the University of Chicago to Pinochet, and a controversial six-day trip[122] he took to Chile during March 1975 (less than two years after the coup that deposed President Salvador Allende). Friedman answered that he never was an adviser to the dictatorship, but only gave some lectures and seminars on inflation, and met with officials, including Augusto Pinochet, while in Chile.[123]

Chilean economist Orlando Letelier asserted that Pinochet’s dictatorship resorted to oppression because of popular opposition to Chicago School policies in Chile.[124] After a 1991 speech on drug legalisation, Friedman answered a question on his involvement with the Pinochet regime, saying that he was never an advisor to Pinochet (also mentioned in his 1984 Iceland interview[95]), but that a group of his students at the University of Chicago were involved in Chile’s economic reforms. Friedman credited these reforms with high levels of economic growth and with the establishment of democracy that has subsequently occurred in Chile.[125][126] In October 1988, after returning from a lecture tour of China during which he had met with Zhao Ziyang, Friedman wrote to The Stanford Daily asking if he should anticipate a similar “avalanche of protests for having been willing to give advice to so evil a government? And if not, why not?”[127]

Capitalism and Freedom

Capitalism and Freedom is a seminal work by Friedman. In the book, Friedman talks about the need to move to a classically liberal society, that free markets would help nations and individuals in the long-run and fix the efficiency problems currently faced by the United States and other major countries of the 1950s and 1960s. He goes through the chapters specifying a specific issue in each respective chapter from the role of government and money supply to social welfare programs to a special chapter on occupational licensure. Friedman concludes Capitalism and Freedom with his “classical liberal” stance, that government should stay out of matters that do not need and should only involve itself when absolutely necessary for the survival of its people and the country. He recounts how the best of a country’s abilities come from its free markets while its failures come from government intervention.[77]

Selected bibliography

  • A Theory of the Consumption Function (1957)
  • A Program for Monetary Stability (Fordham University Press, 1960) 110 pp. online version
  • Capitalism and Freedom (1962), highly influential series of essays that established Friedman’s position on major issues of public policy excerpts
  • A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960, with Anna J. Schwartz, 1963; part 3 reprinted as The Great Contraction
  • “The Role of Monetary Policy.” American Economic Review, Vol. 58, No. 1 (Mar., 1968), pp. 1–17 JSTOR presidential address to American Economics Association
  • “Inflation and Unemployment: Nobel lecture”, 1977, Journal of Political Economy. Vol. 85, pp. 451–72. JSTOR
  • Free to Choose: A personal statement, with Rose Friedman, (1980), highly influential restatement of policy views
  • The Essence of Friedman, essays edited by Kurt R. Leube, (1987) (ISBN 0-8179-8662-6)
  • Two Lucky People: Memoirs (with Rose Friedman) ISBN 0-226-26414-9 (1998) excerpt and text search
  • Milton Friedman on Economics: Selected Papers by Milton Friedman, edited by Gary S. Becker (2008)
  • An Interview with Milton Friedman, John B. Taylor (2001). Macroeconomic Dynamics, 5, pp 101–31

See also


  1. Jump up^ Ebenstein, Lanny (2007). Milton Friedman: A Biography. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 89.
  2. Jump up^ Charles Moore (2013). Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography, Volume One: Not For Turning. Penguin. pp. 576–77.
  3. Jump up^ Lanny Ebenstein (2007). Milton Friedman: A Biography. St. Martin’s Press. p. 208.
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b “Milton Friedman on nobelprize.org”. Nobel Prize. 1976. Retrieved February 20, 2008.
  5. Jump up^ Thomas Sowell (2016-09-16). A Personal Odyssey. Free Press. p. 320. ISBN 0743215087.
  6. Jump up^ The Chicago School: How the University of Chicago Assembled the Thinkers Who Revolutionized Economics and Business
  7. Jump up^ “Milton Friedman”. Commanding Heights. PBS. October 1, 2000. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  8. Jump up^ Milton Friedman—Economist as Public Intellectual
  9. Jump up^ Mark Skousen (2009-02-28). The Making of Modern Economics: The Lives and Ideas of the Great Thinkers. M.E. Sharpe. p. 407. ISBN 0-7656-2227-0.
  10. Jump up^ Among macroeconomists, the “natural” rate has been increasingly replaced by James Tobin‘s NAIRU, the non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment, which is seen as having fewer normative connotations.
  11. Jump up^ Nobel prize winner Paul Krugman stated that, “In 1968 in one of the decisive intellectual achievements of postwar economics, Friedman not only showed why the apparent tradeoff embodied in the idea of the Phillips curve was wrong; he also predicted the emergence of combined inflation and high unemployment … dubbed ‘stagflation.” Paul Krugman, Peddling Prosperity: Economic Sense and Nonsense in an Age of Diminished Expectations (1995) p. 43 online
  12. ^ Jump up to:a b Doherty, Brian (June 1, 1995). “Best of Both Worlds”. Reason Magazine. Retrieved October 24, 2009
  13. Jump up^ Edward Nelson, “Friedman’s Monetary Economics in Practice,” Finance and Economics Discussion Series, Divisions of Research & Statistics and Monetary Affairs, Federal Reserve Board, April 13, 2011. Nelson stated, “in important respects, the overall monetary and financial policy response to the crisis can be viewed as Friedman’s monetary economics in practice.” and “Friedman’s recommendations for responding to a financial crisis largely lined up with the principal financial and monetary policy measures taken since 2007.” Nelson, “Review,” in Journal of Economic Literature (Dec, 2012) 50#4 pp. 1106–09
  14. Jump up^ Lanny Ebenstein (2007). Milton Friedman: A Biography. St. Martin’s Press. p. 208.
  15. Jump up^ Charles Moore (2013). Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography, Volume One: Not For Turning. Penguin. pp. 576–77.
  16. Jump up^ Milton Friedman (1912–2006)
  17. ^ Jump up to:a b Sullivan, Maureen (July 30, 2016). “Milton Friedman’s Name Disappears From Foundation, But His School-Choice Beliefs Live On”. Forbes. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  18. Jump up^ “Capitalism and Friedman” (editorial), The Wall Street Journal November 17, 2006
  19. Jump up^ Václav Klaus (January 29, 2007). “Remarks at Milton Friedman Memorial Service”. Retrieved August 22, 2008.
  20. Jump up^ Johan Norberg, Defaming Milton Friedman: Naomi Klein’s disastrous yet popular polemic against the great free market economist, Reason Magazine, Washington, D.C., Oct. 2008
  21. Jump up^ Friedman 1999, p. 506
  22. Jump up^ Davis, William L, Bob Figgins, David Hedengren, and Daniel B. Klein. “Economic Professors’ Favorite Economic Thinkers, Journals, and Blogs”, Econ Journal Watch 8(2): 126–46, May 2011.
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  37. Jump up^ Doherty, Brian (June 1995). “Best of Both Worlds”. Reason. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
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  57. Jump up^ Galbács, Peter (2015). The Theory of New Classical Macroeconomics. A Positive Critique. Heidelberg/New York/Dordrecht/London: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-17578-2. ISBN 978-3-319-17578-2.
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  62. Jump up^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6fkdagNrjI “There in no institution in the US that has such a high public standing and such a poor record of performance” “It’s done more harm than good”
  63. Jump up^ “My first preference would be to abolish the Federal Reserve” on YouTube
  64. Jump up^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6fkdagNrjI “I have long been in favor of abolishing it.”
  65. Jump up^ Reichart Alexandre & Abdelkader Slifi (2016). ‘The Influence of Monetarism on Federal Reserve Policy during the 1980s.’ Cahiers d’économie Politique/Papers in Political Economy, (1), pp. 107–50. https://www.cairn.info/revue-cahiers-d-economie-politique-2016-1-page-107.htm
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  69. Jump up^ Leonard Ross and Richard Zeckhauser (December 1970). “Review: Education Vouchers”. The Yale Law Journal. 80 (2): 451–61. doi:10.2307/795126. JSTOR 795126.
  70. Jump up^ Martin Carnoy (August 1998). “National Voucher Plans in Chile and Sweden: Did Privatization Reforms Make for Better Education?”. Comparative Education Review. 42 (3): 309–37. doi:10.1086/447510. JSTOR 1189163.
  71. Jump up^ Milton Friedman (1991). The War on Drugs. America’s Drug Forum.
  72. Jump up^ Rostker, Bernard (2006). I Want You!: The Evolution of the All-Volunteer Force. Rand Corporation. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-8330-3895-1.
  73. ^ Jump up to:a b Friedman, Milton (November 15, 2002). Capitalism and Freedom. University Of Chicago Press. p. 36.
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  75. Jump up^ Ebenstein, Lanny (2007). Milton Friedman: a biography. New York: St. Martin’s Press. p. 243. ISBN 978-0-230-60409-4.
  76. Jump up^ Friedman and Freedom. Queen’s Journal. Archived from the original on August 11, 2006. Retrieved February 20, 2008., Interview with Peter Jaworski. The Journal, Queen’s University, March 15, 2002 – Issue 37, Volume 129
  77. ^ Jump up to:a b Milton Friedman; Rose D. Friedman (1962). Capitalism and Freedom: Fortieth Anniversary Edition. U. of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226264189.
  78. ^ Jump up to:a b Frank, Robert H (2006-11-23). “The Other Milton Friedman: A Conservative With a Social Welfare Program”. New York Times. The New York Times.
  79. Jump up^ “An open letter”. Prohibition Costs. Retrieved November 9, 2012.
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  82. Jump up^ “Economic Freedom of the World project”. Fraser Institute. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  83. Jump up^ “In the Supreme Court of the United States” (PDF). Harvard Law School. Retrieved February 20, 2008.
  84. Jump up^ Lessig, Lawrence (November 19, 2006). “only if the word ‘no-brainer’ appears in it somewhere: RIP Milton Friedman (Lessig Blog)”. Lessig.org. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  85. Jump up^ “A New British Bill of Rights: The Case For”. ISR Online Guide. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  86. Jump up^ Lanny Ebenstein (2007). Milton Friedman: A Biography. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 260.
  87. Jump up^ Selection Committee Announced for the 2008 Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty,” Cato Institute, September 5, 2007. Accessed 4 January 2014.
  88. Jump up^ Milton Friedman Prize page at Cato Institute website. Accessed 5 January 2014.
  89. Jump up^ Summers, Larry (November 19, 2006). “The Great Liberator”. The New York Times.
  90. Jump up^ Stephen Moore, What Would Milton Friedman Say?” Wall Street Journal, May 30, 2013 p. A13
  91. Jump up^ Ingdahl, Waldemar (March 22, 2007). “Real Virtuality”. The American. Retrieved February 20, 2008.
  92. Jump up^ Friedman, Milton; Friedman, Rose (1990). Free to Choose: A Personal Statement. Harvest Books. p. 34. ISBN 0-15-633460-7.
  93. Jump up^ Friedman, Milton (October 6, 2006). “Dr. Milton Friedman”. Opinion Journal. Retrieved February 20, 2008.
  94. Jump up^ Letter from Arnold Harberger to Stig Ramel as reprinted in the Wall Street Journal 12/10/1976, and in Two Lucky People: Memoirs By Milton Friedman, Rose D. Friedman. Appendix A, pp. 598–99. Accessible at books.google.com
  95. ^ Jump up to:a b c Milton Friedman (August 31, 1984). Iceland Television Debate (Flash Video) (Television production). Reykjavík: Icelandic State Television. Event occurs at 009:48:00. Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  96. ^ Jump up to:a b [http:// Two Lucky People: Memoirs By Milton Friedman, Rose D. Friedman. Appendix A, pp. 591–93. Letter from Friedman to Pinochet, April 21, 1975.]
  97. Jump up^ Mask II, William Ray (May 2013). The Great Chilean Recovery: Assigning Responsibility For The Chilean Miracle(s) (Thesis). California State University, Fresno.
  98. Jump up^ “Chile and the “Chicago Boys””. The Hoover Institution. Stanford University. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  99. Jump up^ O’Shaughnessy, Hugh (December 11, 2006). “General Augusto Pinochet”. The Independent. Retrieved February 20, 2008.
  100. Jump up^ Newsweek of June 14, 1976
  101. Jump up^ “Free to Choose Vol. 5”. Archived from the original on February 9, 2008. Retrieved February 20, 2008.
  102. Jump up^ Frances Fox Piven vs. Milton Friedman, Thomas Sowell, debate, 1980, YouTube.
  103. Jump up^ The Smith Center: Milton Friedman’s lecture, “Economic Freedom, Human Freedom, Political Freedom”, by Milton Friedman, delivered November 1, 1991.
  104. Jump up^ Friedman 1999, pp. 600–01
  105. Jump up^ “Interview with Jeffery Sachs on the “Miracle of Chile””. PBS. Retrieved February 20, 2008.
  106. Jump up^ “Commanding Heights: Milton Friedman”. PBS. Retrieved December 29, 2008.
  107. Jump up^ “Milton Friedman interview”. PBS. Retrieved February 20, 2008.
  108. Jump up^ Friedman, Milton; Grímsson, Ólafur Ragnar. Milton Friedman on Icelandic State Television in 1984.
  109. Jump up^ “Mart Laar”. Cato Institute. Retrieved February 20, 2008.
  110. Jump up^ John F. Lyons (2013). America in the British Imagination: 1945 to the Present. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 102.
  111. Jump up^ Subroto Roy & John Clarke, eds., Margaret Thatcher’s Revolution: How it Happened and What it Meant (Continuum 2005)
  112. Jump up^ David F. Hendry; Neil R. Ericsson (October 1983). “Assertion without Empirical Basis: An Econometric Appraisal of ‘Monetary Trends in … the United Kingdom’ by Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz,” in Monetary Trends in the United Kingdom, Bank of England Panel of Academic Consultants, Panel Paper No. 22, pp. 45–101.See also Federal Reserve International Finance Discussion Paper No. 270 (December 1985), which is a revised and shortened version of Hendry–Ericsson 1983.
  113. Jump up^ “M.Friedman – Iceland TV (1984)”. YouTube. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  114. Jump up^ van Steven Moore, CMA (1984-08-31). “Milton Friedman – Iceland 2 of 8”. YouTube. Retrieved 2014-04-22.
  115. Jump up^ J. Daniel Hammond (2005). Theory and Measurement: Causality Issues in Milton Friedman’s Monetary Economics. Cambridge U.P. pp. 193–99.
  116. Jump up^ David F. Hendry; Neil R. Ericsson (July 1989). “An Econometric Analysis of UK Money Demand in Monetary Trends in the United States and the United Kingdom by Milton Friedman and Anna J. Schwartz” (PDF). International Finance Discussion Papers: 355. Federal Reserve. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
  117. Jump up^ Hendry, David F. (25 April 2013). “Friedman’s t-ratios were overstated by nearly 100%”. ft.com. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
  118. Jump up^ Escribano, Alvaro (2004). “Nonlinear error correction: The case of money demand in the United Kingdom (1878–2000)” (PDF). Macroeconomic Dynamics. 8 (1): 76–116. doi:10.1017/S1365100503030013.
    Escribano’s approach had already been recognized by Friedman, Schwartz, Hendry et al. (p. 14 of the pdf) as yielding significant improvements over previous money demand equations.
  119. Jump up^ The New York Review of Books, Who Was Milton Friedman?, February 15, 2007
  120. Jump up^ Noam Chomsky (1999). Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order. New York, NY: Seven Stories Press.
  121. Jump up^ Feldman, Burton (2000). “Chapter 9: The Economics Memorial Prize”. The Nobel Prize: A History of Genius, Controversy, and Prestige. New York: Arcade Publishing. p. 350. ISBN 1-55970-537-X.
  122. Jump up^ O’Shaughnessy, Hugh (11 December 2006). “General Augusto Pinochet”. The Independent.
  123. Jump up^ Friedman, Milton; Friedman, Rose D. “Two Lucky People: One Week in Stockholm”. Hoover Digest: Research and Opinion on Public Policy. 1998 (4).
  124. Jump up^ Orlando Letelier, “Economic Freedom’s Awful Toll”, The Nation, August 28, 1976.
  125. Jump up^ The Drug War as a Socialist Enterprise, Milton Friedman, From: Friedman & Szasz on Liberty and Drugs, edited and with a Preface by Arnold S. Trebach and Kevin B. Zeese. Washington, D.C.: The Drug Policy Foundation, 1992.
  126. Jump up^ YouTube clip: Milton Friedman – Pinochet and Chile
  127. Jump up^ Friedman, Milton; Friedman, Rose D. Two Lucky People: Memoirs. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226264158. Retrieved 18 October 2016.


  • Bernanke, Ben (2004). Essays on the Great Depression. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-11820-5
  • Butler, Eamonn (2011). Milton Friedman. Harriman Economic Essentials.
  • Ebenstein, Alan O. (2007). Milton Friedman: a biography.
  • Friedman, Milton (1999). Two Lucky People: Memoirs. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-26415-7.
  • Wood, John Cunningham, and Ronald N. Wood, ed. (1990), Milton Friedman: Critical Assessments, v. 3. Scroll to chapter-preview links. Routledge.

Further reading

External links

Free to Choose (original series) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1Fj5tzuYBE


Robert Mundell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Robert Mundell
Born October 24, 1932 (age 84)
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Institution Johns Hopkins University (1959–61, 1997–98, 2000–01)
University of Chicago (1965–72)
Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland (1965–75) [1]
University of Waterloo (1972–74)
McGill University (1989–1990)[2]
Columbia University (1974 – present)
Chinese University of Hong Kong (2009 – present)
Field Monetary economics
School or
Supply-side economics
Alma mater London School of Economics
UBC Vancouver School of Economics
University of Washington
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
University of Waterloo
Charles Kindleberger[3]
Jacob A. Frenkel
Rudi Dornbusch[4]
Carmen Reinhart[5]
Influences Ludwig Von Mises
Influenced Arthur Laffer
Jude Wanniski
Michael Mussa
Contributions Mundell–Fleming model
Optimum currency areas
Research on the gold standard
Awards Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics (1999)
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Robert Alexander Mundell, CC (born October 24, 1932) is a Nobel Prize-winning Canadian economist. Currently, he is a professor of economics at Columbia University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

He received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1999 for his pioneering work in monetary dynamics and optimum currency areas. Mundell is known as the “father”[6] of the Euro, as he laid the groundwork for its introduction through this work and helped to start the movement known as supply-side economics. Mundell is also known for the Mundell–Fleming model and Mundell–Tobin effect.


Mundell was born in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He earned his BA in Economics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and his MA at the University of Washington in Seattle. After studying at the University of British Columbia and at The London School of Economics in 1956,[7] he then attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he obtained his PhD in Economics in 1956. In 2006 Mundell earned an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Waterloo in Canada.[8] He was Professor of Economics and Editor of the Journal of Political Economy at the University of Chicago from 1965 to 1972, Chairman of the Department of Economics at the University of Waterloo 1972 to 1974 and since 1974 he was Professor of Economics at Columbia University.[9] He also held the post of Repap Professor of Economics at McGill University.[10][11]


Since 1974 he has been a professor in the Economics department at Columbia University; since 2001 he has held Columbia’s highest academic rank – University Professor. After completing his post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Chicago in 1957, he began teaching economics at Stanford University, and then Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University during 1959–1961.[2] In 1961, he went on to staff the International Monetary Fund. Mundell returned to academics as professor of economics at the University of Chicago from 1966 to 1971, and then served as professor during summers at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva until 1975. In 1989, he was appointed to the post of Repap Professor of Economics at McGill University.,[10][11] In the 1970s, he laid the groundwork for the introduction of the euro through his pioneering work in monetary dynamics and optimum currency forms for which he won the 1999 Nobel Prize in Economics. During this time he continued to serve as an economic adviser to the United Nations, the IMF, the World Bank, the European Commission, the Federal Reserve Board, the United States Department of Treasury and the governments of Canada and other countries. He is currently the Distinguished Professor-at-Large of The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Among his major contributions are:


Mundell was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1971 and the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1999. In 2002 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada.

In 1992, Mundell received the Docteur Honoris Causa from the University of Paris. Mundell’s honorary professorships and fellowships were from Brookings Institution, the University of Chicago, the University of Southern California, McGill University, the University of Pennsylvania, the Bologna Center and Renmin University of China. He became a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1998. In June 2005 he was awarded the Global Economics Prize World Economics Institute in Kiel, Germany and in September 2005 he was made a Cavaliere di Gran Croce del Reale Ordine del Merito sotto il Titolo di San Ludovico by Principe Don Carlo Ugo di Borbone Parma.

The Mundell International University of Entrepreneurship in the Zhongguancun district of Beijing, People’s Republic of China is named in his honor.

International monetary flows

Mundell is best known in politics for his support of tax cuts and supply-side economics; however, in economics it is for his work on currency areas[12] and international exchange rates[13] that he was awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel by the Bank of Sweden (Sveriges Riksbank). Nevertheless, supply-side economics featured prominently in his Bank of Sweden prize speech.

In the 1960s, Canada, of which Mundell is a native, floated its exchange: this caused Mundell to begin investigating the results of floating exchange rates, a phenomenon not widely seen since the 1930s “Stockholm School” successfully lobbied Sweden to leave the gold standard.

In 1962, along with Marcus Fleming, he co-authored the Mundell–Fleming model of exchange rates, and noted that it was impossible to have domestic autonomy, fixed exchange rates, and free capital flows: no more than two of those objectives could be met. The model is, in effect, an extension of the IS/LM model applied to currency rates.

According to Mundell’s analysis:

  • Discipline under the Bretton Woods system was more due to the US Federal Reserve than to the discipline of gold.
  • Demand side fiscal policy would be ineffective in restraining central banks under a floating exchange rate system.
  • Single currency zones relied, therefore, on similar levels of price stability, where a single monetary policy would suffice for all.

His analysis led to his conclusion that it was a disagreement between Europe and the United States over the rate of inflation, partially to finance the Vietnam War, and that Bretton Woods disintegrated because of the undervaluing of gold and the consequent monetary discipline breakdown. There is a famous point/counterpoint over this issue between Mundell and Milton Friedman.[14]

This work later led to the creation of the euro and his prediction that leaving the Bretton Woods system would lead to “stagflation” so long as highly progressive income tax rates applied. In 1974, he advocated a drastic tax reduction and a flattening of income tax rates.

Mundell, though lionized by some conservatives, has many of his harshest critics from the right: he denies the need for a fixed gold based currency or currency board[citation needed] (he still often recommends this as a policy in hyperinflationary environments) and he is both a fiscal and balance of payments deficit hawk. He is well known for stating that in a floating exchange rate system, expansion of the money supply can come about only by a positive balance of payments.

In 2000, he predicted that before 2010, the euro zone would expand to cover 50 countries, while the dollar would spread throughout Latin America, and much of Asia would look towards the yen.[15] Such predictions have proved highly inaccurate.

Nobel Prize winner

Mundell won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science in 1999 and gave as his prize lecture a speech titled “A Reconsideration of the Twentieth Century”. According to the Nobel Prize Committee, he got the honor for “his analysis of monetary and fiscal policy under different exchange rate regimes and his analysis of optimum currency areas”.

Mundell concluded in that lecture that “the international monetary system depends only on the power configuration of the countries that make it up”. He divided the entire twentieth century into three parts by different periods of time:

  • The first third of the century, from its beginning to the Great Depression of the 1930s, economics was dominated by the confrontation of the Federal Reserve System with the gold standard.
  • The second third of the century was from World War II to 1973, when the international monetary system was dominated by fixing the price of gold with the US dollar.
  • The last third of the century started with the destruction of the old monetary system due to the problem of inflation.

With the destruction of the old monetary system, a new international monetary system was finally founded. Controlling inflation by each country became a main topic during this era.

Television appearances

Mundell has appeared on CBS‘s Late Show with David Letterman. His first appearance was on October 17, 2002[16] where he gave The Top 10 List on “Ways My Life has Changed Since Winning the Nobel Prize.” In March 2004[17] he told “You might be a redneck” jokes followed in May 2004[18] with “Yo Mama” jokes. In September 2004[19] he appeared again, this time to read excerpts from Paris Hilton‘s memoir at random moments throughout the show. In November 2005[20] he told a series of Rodney Dangerfield‘s jokes. On February 7, 2006[21] he read Grammy Award nominated song lyrics, the night before CBS aired the 48th Grammy Awards.

Mundell also appeared on Bloomberg Television many times.

Mundell has also appeared on China Central Television‘s popular Lecture Room series. Professor Mundell was also a special guest making the ceremonial first move in Game Five of the 2010 World Chess Championship between Viswanathan Anand and Veselin Topalov.

Mundell started the Pearl Spring Chess Tournament, a double round robin tournament with six players. The first tournament in 2008 was won by the Bulgarian, Veselin Topalov. The next two: 2009–2010 was won by the Norwegian, Magnus Carlsen.

See also


  1. Jump up^ http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economic-sciences/laureates/1999/mundell-bio.html
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b Nobel Prize Winners from Johns Hopkins University
  3. Jump up^ Essays in the theory of international capital movementspage 3. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  4. Jump up^ RUDI DORNBUSCH by Stanley Fischer – Project Syndicate
  5. Jump up^ Warsh, David (November 1, 2009). “What The Woman Lived”. Economic Principals. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  6. Jump up^ “Mr. Mundell, known as the father of the euro”[dead link]
  7. Jump up^ “Robert Mundell – Nobel Prize Winners – Key facts – About LSE – Home”. .lse.ac.uk. March 13, 2009. Retrieved January 1, 2012.
  8. Jump up^ [1]
  9. Jump up^ http://www.polyu.edu.hk/iao/nobel2009/mundell_bio.pdf
  10. ^ Jump up to:a b “Robert A. Mundell – Biography”. Nobelprize.org. Retrieved January 1, 2012.
  11. ^ Jump up to:a b “Biography | The Works of Robert Mundell”. Robertmundell.net. Retrieved January 1, 2012.
  12. Jump up^ A Theory of Optimum Currency Areas; The American Economic Review, Vol. 51, No. 4, pp. 657–665, 1961
  13. Jump up^ Capital Mobility, and Stabilization Policy under Fixed and Flexible Exchange Rates; Revue Canadienne d’Economique et de Science Politique, Vol. 29, No. 4, pp. 475–485, 1963
  14. Jump up^ “Mundell-Friedman debate” (PDF). Retrieved January 1, 2012.
  15. Jump up^ Mark Milner and Charlotte Denny (January 14, 2000). “The new endangered species | Business”. London: The Guardian. Retrieved January 1, 2012.
  16. Jump up^ show #1891 Archived August 15, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  17. Jump up^ show #2144 Archived October 17, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  18. Jump up^ show #2162 Archived May 16, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  19. Jump up^ show # 2238 Archived February 23, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  20. Jump up^ show #2466 Archived December 15, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
  21. Jump up^ show #2505 Archived May 16, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.

External links

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The Rise and Fall of The Roman Empire — Videos

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The Roman Empire – Episode 1: The Rise of the Roman Empire (History Documentary)

The Roman Empire – Episode 2: Legions of Conquest (History Documentary)

The Roman Empire – Episode 3: Seduction of Power (History Documentary)

The Roman Empire – Episode 4: Grasp Of An Empire (History Documentary)

The Roman Empire – Episode 5: Cult Of Order (History Documentary)

The Roman Empire – Episode 6: The Fall Of The Roman Empire (History Documentary)

The Roman Empire – Episode 7: Letters From The Roman Front (History Documentary)

Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire – Episode 8: Wrath of the Gods (Documentary)

Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire – Episode 9: The Soldier’s Emperor (Documentary)

Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire – Episode 10: Constantine the Great (Documentary)

Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire – Episode 11: The Barbarian General (Documentary)

Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire – Episode 12: The Puppet Master (Documentary)

Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire – Episode 13: The Last Emperor (Documentary)

[History] The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume 1, Part 1, Audiobook

[History] The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume 1, Part 2, Audiobook

[History Audiobook] The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 2, Part 1

[History Audiobook] The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 2, Part 2

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

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This article is about the book. For the historical events, see History of the Roman Empire and Fall of the Western Roman Empire. For the historiography spawned by Gibbon’s theories, see Historiography of the fall of the Western Roman Empire. For publication details and chapter listings, see Outline of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Author Edward Gibbon
Country England
Language English
Subject History of the Roman Empire
Publisher Strahan & Cadell, London
Publication date
Media type Print
LC Class DG311

Edward Gibbon (1737–1794).

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire[1] is a book of history written by the English historian Edward Gibbon, which traces the trajectory of Western civilization (as well as the Islamic and Mongolian conquests) from the height of the Roman Empire to the fall of Byzantium. It was published in six volumes. Volume I was published in 1776 and went through six printings.[2] Volumes II and III were published in 1781;[3][4] volumes IV, V, and VI in 1788–89.[5][6][7] The original volumes were published in quarto sections, a common publishing practice of the time. The work covers the history, from 98 to 1590, of the Roman Empire, the history of early Christianity and then of the Roman State Church, and the history of Europe, and discusses the decline of the Roman Empire in the East and West. Because of its relative objectivity and heavy use of primary sources, unusual at the time, its methodology became a model for later historians. This led to Gibbon being called the first “modern historian of ancient Rome”.[8]



Gibbon offers an explanation for the fall of the Roman Empire, a task made difficult by a lack of comprehensive written sources, though he was not the only historian to attempt the task.[9]

According to Gibbon, the Roman Empire succumbed to barbarian invasions in large part due to the gradual loss of civic virtue among its citizens.[10] They had become weak, outsourcing their duty to defend their empire to barbarian mercenaries, who then became so numerous and ingrained that they were able to take over the Empire. Romans, he believed, were unwilling to live a tougher, military lifestyle. In addition, Gibbon argued that Christianity created a belief that a better life existed after death, which fostered an indifference to the present among Roman citizens, thus sapping their desire to sacrifice for a larger purpose. He also believed that Christianity’s comparative pacifism tended to hamper the traditional Roman martial spirit. Finally, like other Enlightenment thinkers and British citizens of the age steeped in institutional anti-Catholicism, Gibbon held in contempt the Middle Ages as a priest-ridden, superstitious Dark Age. It was not until his own era, the “Age of Reason,” with its emphasis on rational thought, it was believed, that human history could resume its progress.[11]

Gibbon saw the Praetorian Guard as the primary catalyst of the empire’s initial decay and eventual collapse, a seed planted by Augustus when the empire was established. His writings cite repeated examples of the Praetorian Guard abusing their power with calamitous results, including numerous instances of imperial assassination and incessant demands for increased pay.

He compared the reigns of Diocletian (284–305) and Charles V (1519–1556), noting superficial similarities. Both were plagued by continual war and compelled to excessive taxation to fund wars, both chose to abdicate as Emperors at roughly the same age, and both chose to lead a quiet life upon their retirement. However, Gibbon argues that these similarities are only superficial and that the underlying context and character of the two rulers is markedly different.


Gibbon’s style is frequently distinguished by an ironically detached and somewhat dispassionate yet critical tone. He occasionally lapsed into moralization and aphorism:

[A]s long as mankind shall continue to bestow more liberal applause on their destroyers than on their benefactors, the thirst of military glory will ever be the vice of the most exalted characters.

The influence of the clergy, in an age of superstition, might be usefully employed to assert the rights of mankind; but so intimate is the connection between the throne and the altar, that the banner of the church has very seldom been seen on the side of the people (Chapter Three p. 52).

History…is, indeed, little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortune of mankind (ibid. p. 69).

If we contrast the rapid progress of this mischievous discovery [of gunpowder] with the slow and laborious advances of reason, science, and the arts of peace, a philosopher, according to his temper, will laugh or weep at the folly of mankind (Chapter 65, p. 68).[Page numbers in which edition? clarification needed]

Citations and footnotesen humorous style, and have been called “Gibbon’s table talk.”[12] They provide an entertaining moral commentary on both ancient Rome and 18th-century Great Britain. This technique enabled Gibbon to compare ancient Rome to his own contemporary world. Gibbon’s work advocates a rationalist and progressive view of history.

Gibbon’s citations provide in-depth detail regarding his use of sources for his work, which included documents dating back to ancient Rome. The detail within his asides and his care in noting the importance of each document is a precursor to modern-day historical footnoting methodology.

The work is notable for its erratic but exhaustively documented notes and research. John Bury, following him 113 years later with his own History of the Later Roman Empire, commended the depth and accuracy of Gibbon’s work. Unusually for 18th century historians, Gibbon was not content with second-hand accounts when the primary sources were accessible. “I have always endeavoured”, Gibbon wrote, “to draw from the fountain-head; that my curiosity, as well as a sense of duty, has always urged me to study the originals; and that, if they have sometimes eluded my search, I have carefully marked the secondary evidence, on whose faith a passage or a fact were reduced to depend.”[13] The Decline and Fall is a literary monument and a massive step forward in historical method.[14]


Numerous tracts were published criticizing his work. In response, Gibbon defended his work with the 1779 publication of, A Vindication … of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.[15] His remarks on Christianity aroused particularly vigorous attacks, but in the mid-twentieth century, at least one author claimed that “church historians allow the substantial justness of [Gibbon’s] main positions.”[16]

Number of Christian martyrs

Gibbon challenged Church history by estimating far smaller numbers of Christian martyrs than had been traditionally accepted. The Church’s version of its early history had rarely been questioned before. Gibbon, however, knew Church writings were secondary sources, and he shunned them in favor of primary sources.

Christianity as a contributor to the fall and to stability: chapters XV, XVI

Volume I was originally published in sections, as was common for large works at the time. The first two were well received and widely praised. The last quarto in Volume I, especially Chapters XV and XVI, was highly controversial, and Gibbon was attacked as a “paganist“. Voltaire was deemed to have influenced Gibbon’s claiming that Christianity was a contributor to the fall of the Roman Empire. As one pro-Christian commenter put it in 1840:

As Christianity advances, disasters befall the [Roman] empire—arts, science, literature, decay—barbarism and all its revolting concomitants are made to seem the consequences of its decisive triumph—and the unwary reader is conducted, with matchless dexterity, to the desired conclusion—the abominable Manicheism of Candide, and, in fact, of all the productions of Voltaire’s historic school—viz., “that instead of being a merciful, ameliorating, and benignant visitation, the religion of Christians would rather seem to be a scourge sent on man by the author of all evil.”[17]

Gibbon thought that Christianity had hastened the Fall, but also ameliorated the results:

As the happiness of a future life is the great object of religion, we may hear without surprise or scandal that the introduction, or at least the abuse of Christianity, had some influence on the decline and fall of the Roman empire. The clergy successfully preached the doctrines of patience and pusillanimity; the active virtues of society were discouraged; and the last remains of military spirit were buried in the cloister: a large portion of public and private wealth was consecrated to the specious demands of charity and devotion; and the soldiers’ pay was lavished on the useless multitudes of both sexes who could only plead the merits of abstinence and chastity. Faith, zeal, curiosity, and more earthly passions of malice and ambition, kindled the flame of theological discord; the church, and even the state, were distracted by religious factions, whose conflicts were sometimes bloody and always implacable; the attention of the emperors was diverted from camps to synods; the Roman world was oppressed by a new species of tyranny; and the persecuted sects became the secret enemies of their country. Yet party-spirit, however pernicious or absurd, is a principle of union as well as of dissension. The bishops, from eighteen hundred pulpits, inculcated the duty of passive obedience to a lawful and orthodox sovereign; their frequent assemblies and perpetual correspondence maintained the communion of distant churches; and the benevolent temper of the Gospel was strengthened, though confirmed, by the spiritual alliance of the Catholics. The sacred indolence of the monks was devoutly embraced by a servile and effeminate age; but if superstition had not afforded a decent retreat, the same vices would have tempted the unworthy Romans to desert, from baser motives, the standard of the republic. Religious precepts are easily obeyed which indulge and sanctify the natural inclinations of their votaries; but the pure and genuine influence of Christianity may be traced in its beneficial, though imperfect, effects on the barbarian proselytes of the North. If the decline of the Roman empire was hastened by the conversion of Constantine, his victorious religion broke the violence of the fall, and mollified the ferocious temper of the conquerors (chap. 38).[18]

Tolerant paganismast 200 years, and whose most eminent representative is Gibbon. Gibbon had written:

The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosophers as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.

Drake counters:

With such deft strokes, Gibbon enters into a conspiracy with his readers: unlike the credulous masses, he and we are cosmopolitans who know the uses of religion as an instrument of social control. So doing, Gibbon skirts a serious problem: for three centuries prior to Constantine, the tolerant pagans who people the Decline and Fall were the authors of several major persecutions, in which Christians were the victims. …Gibbon covered this embarrassing hole in his argument with an elegant demur. Rather than deny the obvious, he adroitly masked the question by transforming his Roman magistrates into models of Enlightenment rulers — reluctant persecutors, too sophisticated to be themselves religious zealots.

Misinterpretation of Byzantium

Others such as John Julius Norwich, despite their admiration for his furthering of historical methodology, consider Gibbon’s hostile views on the Byzantine Empire flawed and blame him somewhat for the lack of interest shown in the subject throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.[19] This view might well be admitted by Gibbon himself: “But it is not my intention to expatiate with the same minuteness on the whole series of the Byzantine history.”[20] However the Russian historian George Ostrogorsky writes, “Gibbon and Lebeau were genuine historians — and Gibbon a very great one — and their works, in spite of factual inadequacy, rank high for their presentation of their material.”[21]

Gibbon’s reflections

Gibbon’s initial plan was to write a history “of the decline and fall of the city of Rome”, and only later expanded his scope to the whole Roman Empire.[22]

Although he published other books, Gibbon devoted much of his life to this one work (1772–89). His autobiography Memoirs of My Life and Writings is devoted largely to his reflections on how the book virtually became his life. He compared the publication of each succeeding volume to a newborn child.[23]


Gibbon continued to revise and change his work even after publication. The complexities of the problem are addressed in Womersley’s introduction and appendices to his complete edition.

  • In-print complete editions
    • J.B. Bury, ed., 7 volumes (London: Methuen, 1909–1914), currently reprinted (New York: AMS Press, 1974). ISBN 0-404-02820-9.
    • Hugh Trevor-Roper, ed., 6 volumes (New York: Everyman’s Library, 1993–1994). The text, including Gibbon’s notes, is from Bury but without his notes. ISBN 0-679-42308-7 (vols. 1–3); ISBN 0-679-43593-X (vols. 4–6).
    • David Womersley, ed., 3 volumes. hardback-(London: Allen Lane, 1994); paperback-(New York: Penguin Books, 2005;1994). Includes the original index, and the Vindication (1779), which Gibbon wrote in response to attacks on his caustic portrayal of Christianity. The 2005 print includes minor revisions and a new chronology. ISBN 0-7139-9124-0 (3360 p.); ISBN 0-14-043393-7 (v.1, 1232 p.); ISBN 0-14-043394-5 (v.2, 1024 pages); ISBN 0-14-043395-3 (v.3, 1360 pages)
  • In-print abridgements
    • David Womersley, ed., 1 volume (New York: Penguin Books, 2000). Includes all footnotes and seventeen of the original seventy-one chapters. ISBN 0-14-043764-9, 848 pages
    • Hans-Friedrich Mueller, ed., one volume abridgment (New York: Random House, 2003). Includes excerpts from all seventy-one chapters. It eliminates footnotes, geographic surveys, details of battle formations, long narratives of military campaigns, ethnographies and genealogies. Based on the Rev. H.H. [Dean] Milman edition of 1845 (see also Gutenberg etext edition). ISBN 0-375-75811-9, (trade paper, 1312 pages); ISBN 0-345-47884-3 (mass market paper, 1536 pages)


Many writers have used variations on the series title (including using “Rise and Fall” in place of “Decline and Fall”), especially when dealing with large nations or empires. Piers Brendon notes that Gibbon’s work, “became the essential guide for Britons anxious to plot their own imperial trajectory. They found the key to understanding the British Empire in the ruins of Rome.”[24]

and in film:

and in television:

The title and author are also cited in Noël Coward‘s comedic poem “I Went to a Marvellous Party“.[25] And in the poem “The Foundation of Science Fiction Success“, Isaac Asimov acknowledged that his Foundation series—an epic tale of the fall and rebuilding of a galactic empire—was written “with a tiny bit of cribbin’ / from the works of Edward Gibbon”.[26]

In 1995, an established journal of classical scholarship, Classics Ireland, published punk musician’s Iggy Pop‘s reflections on the applicability of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire to the modern world in a short article, Caesar Lives, (Vol. 2, 1995) in which he noted “America is Rome. Of course, why shouldn’t it be? We are all Roman children, for better or worse… I learn much about the way our society really works, because the system-origins – military, religious, political, colonial, agricultural, financial – are all there to be scrutinized in their infancy. I have gained perspective.” [27]

See also


  1. Jump up^ sometimes shortened to Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
  2. Jump up^ Edward Gibbon (1776). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. I. W. Strahan and T. Cadell.
  3. Jump up^ Edward Gibbon (1781). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. II.
  4. Jump up^ Edward Gibbon (1781). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. III.
  5. Jump up^ Edward Gibbon (1788). The History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire. IV. Strahan and Cadell.
  6. Jump up^ Edward Gibbon (1788). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. V. W. Strahan and T. Cadell.
  7. Jump up^ Edward Gibbon (1788). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. VI.
  8. Jump up^ David S. Potter (2006-05-22). A Companion to the Roman Empire. Wiley. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-631-22644-4.
  9. Jump up^ see for example Henri Pirenne’s (1862–1935) famous thesis published in the early 20th century. As for sources more recent than the ancients, Gibbon certainly drew on Montesquieu‘s short essay, Considérations sur les causes de la grandeur des Romains et de leur décadence, and on previous work published by Bossuet (1627-1704) in his Histoire universelle à Monseigneur le dauphin (1763). see Pocock, EEG. for Bousset, pp. 65, 145; for Montesquieu, pp. 85–88, 114, 223.
  10. Jump up^ J.G.A. Pocock, “Between Machiavelli and Hume: Gibbon as Civic Humanist and Philosophical Historian,” Daedalus 105,3(1976), 153–169; and in Further reading: Pocock, EEG, 303–304; FDF, 304–306.
  11. Jump up^ J.G.A. Pocock, “Between Machiavelli and Hume: Gibbon as Civic Humanist and Philosophical Historian,” Daedulus 105,3(1976), 153–169; and in Further reading: Pocock, EEG, 303–304; FDF, 304–306.
  12. Jump up^ Saunders, Dero A., ed. (1952). Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. New York: Penguin. p. 23 (Introduction).
  13. Jump up^ Preface to Gibbon’s Volume the Fourth in David Womersley ed., Edward Gibbon – The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 2 (New York: Penguin Books, 1994), p. 520.
  14. Jump up^ In the early 20th century, biographer Sir Leslie Stephen [“Gibbon, Edward (1737–1794),” Dictionary of National Biography, vol. 7, (Oxford, 1921), p. 1134.] summarized The History‘s reputation as a work of unmatched erudition, a degree of professional esteem which remains as strong today as it was then:

    The criticisms upon his book…are nearly unanimous. In accuracy, thoroughness, lucidity, and comprehensive grasp of a vast subject, the History is unsurpassable. It is the one English history which may be regarded as definitive. …Whatever its shortcomings, the book is artistically imposing as well as historically unimpeachable as a vast panorama of a great period.

  15. Jump up^ Edward Gibbon (1779). A vindication of some passages in the fifteenth and sixteenth chapters of The history of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire: By the author..Printed for W. Strahan; and T. Cadell, in the Strand.
  16. Jump up^ The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, vol. IV, eds. S.M. Jackson, et al. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1952), 483–484. online.
  17. Jump up^ Dublin review: a quarterly and critical journal. Burns, Oates and Washbourne. 1840. pp. 208–. JItKAAAAcAAJ. p. 208 image at Google Books
  18. Jump up^ General Observations On The Fall Of The Roman Empire In The West. Fall In The West — The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon. At Christian Classics Ethereal Library, Calvin College Computer Science. http://www.ccel.org/g/gibbon/decline/volume1/chap39.htm
  19. Jump up^ John Julius Norwich, Byzantium (New York: Knopf, 1989); Byzantium: the apogee (London and New York: Viking Press, 1991).
  20. Jump up^ Preface of 1782 online.
  21. Jump up^ Georgije Ostrogorski History of the Byzantine State(1986) p. 5 online
  22. Jump up^ Gibbon, Edward (1781). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. 3. chapter 36, footnote 43. If I prosecute this History, I shall not be unmindful of the decline and fall of the city of Rome; an interesting object, to which my plan was originally confined.
  23. Jump up^ Patricia B. Craddock, Edward Gibbon, Luminous Historian. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1989), 249–266.
  24. Jump up^ Piers Brendon, The Decline and Fall of the British Empire, 1781-1997 (2008) p. xv
  25. Jump up^ Link to notes on the poem here [1]. Excerpt: “If you have any mind at all, Gibbon’s divine Decline and Fall, Seems pretty flimsy, No more than a whimsy… .”
  26. Jump up^ Asimov, Isaac (October 1954). “The Foundation of S. F. Success”. The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. p. 69.
  27. Jump up^ “Classics Ireland”. Ucd.ie. Retrieved September 8, 2010.

Further readingnd Intertextuality in Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Newark: Associated University Presses, 1999); ISBN 0-87413-658-X.

  • Craddock, Patricia. “Historical Discovery and Literary Invention in Gibbon’s ‘Decline and Fall’,” Modern Philology 85,4(May 1988), 569–587.
  • Drake, H.A., “Lambs into Lions: explaining early Christian intolerance,” Past and Present 153(1996), 3–36. Oxford Journals
  • Furet, Francois. “Civilization and Barbarism in Gibbon’s History,” Daedalus 105,3(1976), 209–216.
  • Gay, Peter. Style in History (New York: Basic Books, 1974); ISBN 0-465-08304-8.
  • Ghosh, Peter R. “Gibbon’s Dark Ages: Some Remarks on the Genesis of the Decline and Fall,” Journal of Roman Studies 73(1983), 1–23.
  • Homer-Dixon, Thomas “The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity and the Renewal of Civilization”, 2007 ISBN 978-0-676-97723-3, Chapter 3 pp. 57–60
  • Kelly, Christopher. “A Grand Tour: Reading Gibbon’s ‘Decline and Fall’,” Greece & Rome 2nd ser., 44,1 (Apr. 1997), 39–58.
  • Momigliano, Arnaldo. “Eighteenth-Century Prelude to Mr. Gibbon,” in Pierre Ducrey et al., eds., Gibbon et Rome à la lumière de l’historiographie moderne (Geneva: Librairie Droz, 1977).
  • Momigliano, Arnaldo. “Gibbon from an Italian Point of View,” in G.W. Bowersock et al., eds., Edward Gibbon and the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1977).
  • Momigliano, Arnaldo. “Declines and Falls,” American Scholar 49(Winter 1979), 37–51.
  • Momigliano, Arnaldo. “After Gibbon’s Decline and Fall,” in Kurt Weitzmann, ed. Age of Spirituality : a symposium (Princeton: 1980); ISBN 0-89142-039-8.
  • Pocock, J.G.A. Barbarism and Religion, 4 vols. all Cambridge Univ. Press.
  • Roberts, Charlotte Edward Gibbon and the Shape of History. 2014 Oxford University Press 9780198704836
  • Trevor-Roper, H.R. “Gibbon and the Publication of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 1776–1976,” Journal of Law and Economics 19,3 (Oct. 1976), 489–505.
  • Womersley, David. The Transformation of ‘The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’ (Cambridge: 1988).
  • Womersley, David, ed. Religious Scepticism: Contemporary Responses to Gibbon (Bristol, England: Thoemmes Press, 1997).
  • Wootton, David. “Narrative, Irony, and Faith in Gibbon’s Decline and Fall,” History and Theory 33,4 (Dec., 1994), 77–105.

External links


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Robert Bork — Tempting of America — Videos

Posted on February 12, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, College, Communications, Documentary, Education, Elections, Faith, Family, Federal Government, Freedom, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Rants, Raves, Supreme Court, Video, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

“The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

~William Butler Yates

Image result for robert bork tempting america

Image result for robert bork tempting america

Image result for robert bork tempting america


Robert Bork – Constitutional Precedent

Flashback: Ted Kennedy ‘Borking’ Bork (1987)

Judge Bork Judicial Activism

Thomas Sowell – Congressional Testimony

Published on May 31, 2013

From the Bork Confirmation Hearings, Thomas Sowell responds to Congressional questions regarding affirmative action, judicial activism and other issues. Orrin Hatch, Joe Biden, Howell Heflin, Gordon Humphrey. http://www.LibertyPen.com

Thomas Sowell – Robert Bork Hearings (1987)

Alito on Bork

Robert Bork: Supreme Court Nomination Hearings from PBS NewsHour and EMK Institute

ROBERT’S RULES OF ORDER: A Conversation with Robert Bork

Judicial Philosophy/Originalism-The Tempting of America: The Political Seduction of the Law

A Conversation with Judge Robert H. Bork 6-26-07

Friedrich von Hayek and Robert Bork Part I (U1009) – Full Video

Friedrich von Hayek and Robert Bork Part II (U1040) – Full Video

Friedrich von Hayek and Robert Bork Part III (U1051) – Full Video

“Slouching Towards Gomorrah” with Robert Bork

Robert Bork Interview on Nixon 2008

President Reagan’s Address to the Nation on the Nomination of Judge Bork, October 14, 1987

Bork’s Impact on the Confirmation Process

Supreme Court Justice says ‘Right to Privacy not in Constitution’

Robert Bork Supreme Court Nomination Process Hearings Day 1 Part 1 (1987)

Image result for robert bork tempting america

Why We’re Losing Liberty

Why I Left the Left

Why the Right is Right

Antonin Scalia and Stephen Breyer debate the Constitution

A Conversation on the Constitution: Judicial Interpretation Part 1 Volume 1

Uncommon Knowledge with Justice Antonin Scalia

Robert Bork

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Robert Bork
Robert Bork.jpg
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
In office
February 9, 1982 – February 5, 1988
Appointed by Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Carl McGowan
Succeeded by Clarence Thomas
United States Attorney General
In office
October 20, 1973 – December 17, 1973
President Richard Nixon
Preceded by Elliot Richardson
Succeeded by William Saxbe
Solicitor General of the United States
In office
March 21, 1973 – January 20, 1977
President Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Preceded by Erwin Griswold
Succeeded by Daniel Friedman(Acting)
Personal details
Born Robert Heron Bork
March 1, 1927
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died December 19, 2012 (aged 85)
Arlington, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Claire Davidson (1952–1980)
Mary Ellen Pohl (1982–2012)
Education University of Chicago(BA, JD)

Robert Heron Bork (March 1, 1927 – December 19, 2012) was an American judge and legal scholar who advocated the judicial philosophy of originalism. Bork served as a Yale Law School professor, Solicitor General, Acting Attorney General, and a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.[1]

In 1987, President Ronald Reagannominated him to the Supreme Court, but the U.S. Senate rejected his nomination.

Bork is acclaimed also as an antitrust scholar, where his once-idiosyncratic view that antitrust law should focus on maximizing consumer welfare has come to dominate American legal thinking on the subject.[2]

Early career and family

Bork was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His father was Harry Philip Bork, Jr. (1897–1974), a steel company purchasing agent, and his mother was Elisabeth (née Kunkle; 1898–2004), a schoolteacher.[3] His father was of German and Irish ancestry, while his mother was of Pennsylvania Dutch (German) descent.[4] He was married to Claire Davidson from 1952 until 1980, when she died of cancer. They had a daughter, Ellen, and two sons, Robert and Charles. In 1982 he married Mary Ellen Pohl,[5] a Catholic religious sister turned activist.[6]

Bork attended the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut[7] and earned bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Chicago. While pursuing his bachelor’s degree he became a brother of the international social fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta. While pursuing his law degree he served on Law Review. At Chicago he was awarded a Phi Beta Kappa key with his law degree in 1953 and passed the bar in Illinois that same year. After a period of service in the United States Marine Corps, Bork began as a lawyer in private practice in 1954 at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP[8] in New York and then was a professor at Yale Law School from 1962 to 1975 and 1977 to 1981. Among his students during this time were Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Anita Hill, Robert Reich, Jerry Brown, John R. Bolton, Samuel Issacharoff, and Cynthia Estlund.[9][10]

Advocacy of originalism

Bork was best known for his theory that the only way to reconcile the role of the judiciary in the U.S. government against what he terms the “Madisonian” or “counter-majoritarian” dilemma of the judiciary making law without popular approval is for constitutional adjudication to be guided by the framers’ original understanding of the United States Constitution. Reiterating that it is a court’s task to adjudicate and not to “legislate from the bench,” he advocated that judges exercise restraint in deciding cases, emphasizing that the role of the courts is to frame “neutral principles” (a term borrowed from Herbert Wechsler) and not simply ad hoc pronouncements or subjective value judgments. Bork once said, “The truth is that the judge who looks outside the Constitution always looks inside himself and nowhere else.”[11]

Bork built on the influential critiques of the Warren Court authored by Alexander Bickel, who criticized the Supreme Court under Earl Warren, alleging shoddy and inconsistent reasoning, undue activism, and misuse of historical materials. Bork’s critique was harder-edged than Bickel’s, however, and he has written, “We are increasingly governed not by law or elected representatives but by an unelected, unrepresentative, unaccountable committee of lawyers applying no will but their own.” Bork’s writings influenced the opinions of judges such as Associate JusticeAntonin Scalia and Chief JusticeWilliam Rehnquist of the U.S. Supreme Court, and sparked a vigorous debate within legal academia about how to interpret the Constitution.

Some conservatives criticized Bork’s approach. Conservative scholar Harry Jaffa criticized Bork (along with Rehnquist and Scalia) for failing to adhere to natural law principles.[12]Robert P. George explained Jaffa’s critique this way: “He attacks Rehnquist and Scalia and Bork for their embrace of legal positivism that is inconsistent with the doctrine of natural rights that is embedded in the Constitution they are supposed to be interpreting.”[12]

Antitrust scholar

At Yale, he was best known for writing The Antitrust Paradox, a book in which he argued that consumers often benefited from corporate mergers, and that many then-current readings of the antitrust laws were economically irrational and hurt consumers. He posited that the primary focus of antitrust laws should be on consumer welfare rather than ensuring competition, as fostering competition of companies within an industry has a natural built-in tendency to allow, and even help, many poorly run companies with methodologies and practices that are both inefficient and expensive to continue in business simply for the sake of competition, to the detriment of both consumers and society. Bork’s writings on antitrust law—with those of Richard Posner and other law and economics and Chicago School thinkers—were influential in causing a shift in the U.S. Supreme Court’s approach to antitrust laws since the 1970s.[13][14]

Solicitor General

Bork served as solicitor general in the U.S. Department of Justice from March 1973[15] to 1977. As solicitor general, Bork argued several high-profile cases before the Supreme Court in the 1970s, including 1974’s Milliken v. Bradley, where Bork’s brief in support of the State of Michigan was influential among the justices. Chief Justice Warren Burger called Bork the most effective counsel to appear before the court during his tenure. Bork hired many young attorneys as assistants who went on to have successful careers, including judges Danny Boggs and Frank H. Easterbrook as well as Robert Reich, later secretary of labor in the Clinton administration.

“Saturday Night Massacre”

On October 20, 1973, Solicitor General Bork was instrumental in the “Saturday Night Massacre“, U.S. President Richard Nixon‘s firing of WatergateSpecial ProsecutorArchibald Cox, following Cox’s request for tapes of his Oval Office conversations. Nixon initially ordered U.S. Attorney General, Elliot Richardson, to fire Cox. Richardson resigned rather than carry out the order. Richardson’s top deputy, Deputy Attorney GeneralWilliam Ruckelshaus, also considered the order “fundamentally wrong”[16] and also resigned, making Bork the Acting Attorney General. When Nixon reiterated his order, Bork complied and fired Cox, an act found illegal in November of that year in a suit brought by Ralph Nader. The Justice Department did not appeal the ruling, and because Cox indicated that he did not want his job back, the issue was considered resolved.[16] Bork remained Acting Attorney General until the appointment of William B. Saxbe on January 4, 1974.[17]

In his posthumously published memoirs, Bork stated that following the firings, Nixon promised him the next seat on the Supreme Court. Nixon was unable to carry out the promise after resigning in the wake of the Watergate scandal, but eventually, in 1987, Ronald Reagan nominated Bork for the Supreme Court.[18]

United States Circuit Judge

Bork was a circuit judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit between 1982 and 1988. He was nominated by President Reagan on December 7, 1981, was confirmed with a unanimous consent voice vote by the Senate on February 8, 1982,[19] and received his commission on February 9, 1982.

One of his opinions while on the D.C. Circuit was Dronenburg v. Zech, 741 F.2d 1388,[20] decided in 1984. This case involved James L. Dronenburg, a sailor who had been administratively discharged from the Navy for engaging in homosexual conduct. Dronenburg argued that his discharge violated his right to privacy. This argument was rejected in an opinion written by Bork and joined by Antonin Scalia, in which Bork critiqued the line of Supreme Court cases upholding a right to privacy.[20]

In rejecting Dronenburg’s suggestion for a rehearing en banc, the D.C. Circuit issued four separate opinions, including one by Bork (again joined by Scalia), who wrote that “no principle had been articulated [by the Supreme Court] that enabled us to determine whether appellant’s case fell within or without that principle.”[21]

In 1986, President Reagan considered nominating Bork to the Supreme Court vacancy created by the promotion of Associate Justice William Rehnquist to Chief Justice. Reagan ultimately chose Bork’s D.C. Circuit colleague, Judge Antonin Scalia, for the position.

U.S. Supreme Court nomination

Bork (right) with President Ronald Reagan, 1987

President Reagan nominated Bork for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on July 1, 1987 to replace Lewis Powell. A hotly contested United States Senate debate over Bork’s nomination ensued. Opposition was partly fueled by civil rights and women’s rights groups concerned with Bork’s opposition to the authority claimed by the federal government to impose standards of voting fairness upon the states (at his confirmation hearings for the position of Solicitor General, he supported the rights of Southern states to impose a poll tax),[22] and his stated desire to roll back civil rights decisions of the Warren and Burger courts. Bork was one of only three Supreme Court nominees, along with William Rehnquist and Samuel Alito, to ever be opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union.[23] Bork was also criticized for being an “advocate of disproportionate powers for the executive branch of Government, almost executive supremacy”,[16] most notably, according to critics, for his role in the Saturday Night Massacre.

Before Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell’s expected retirement on June 27, 1987, some Senate Democrats had asked liberal leaders to “form a ‘solid phalanx’ of opposition” if President Ronald Reagan nominated an “ideological extremist” to replace him, assuming it would tilt the court rightward.[24] Democrats also warned Reagan there would be a fight if Bork were nominated.[25] Nevertheless, Reagan nominated Bork for the seat on July 1, 1987.

Following Bork’s nomination to the Court, Sen. Ted Kennedy took to the Senate floor with a strong condemnation of Bork declaring:

Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is—and is often the only—protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy … President Reagan is still our president. But he should not be able to reach out from the muck of Irangate, reach into the muck of Watergate and impose his reactionary vision of the Constitution on the Supreme Court and the next generation of Americans. No justice would be better than this injustice.[26][27]

Bork responded, “There was not a line in that speech that was accurate.”[28] In an obituary of Kennedy, The Economist remarked that Bork may well have been correct, “but it worked.”[28] Bork also contended in his best-selling[29] book, The Tempting of America, that the brief prepared for Sen. Joe Biden, head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, “so thoroughly misrepresented a plain record that it easily qualifies as world class in the category of scurrility.”[30]

Television advertisements produced by People For the American Way and narrated by Gregory Peck attacked Bork as an extremist. Kennedy’s speech successfully fueled widespread public skepticism of Bork’s nomination. The rapid response to Kennedy’s “Robert Bork’s America” speech stunned the Reagan White House, and the accusations went unanswered for two and a half months.[31]

During debate over his nomination, Bork’s video rental history was leaked to the press. His video rental history was unremarkable, and included such harmless titles as A Day at the Races, Ruthless People, and The Man Who Knew Too Much. Writer Michael Dolan, who obtained a copy of the hand-written list of rentals, wrote about it for the Washington City Paper.[32] Dolan justified accessing the list on the ground that Bork himself had stated that Americans only had such privacy rights as afforded them by direct legislation. The incident led to the enactment of the 1988 Video Privacy Protection Act.[33]

To pro-choice rights legal groups, Bork’s originalist views and his belief that the Constitution does not contain a general “right to privacy” were viewed as a clear signal that, should he become a Justice on the Supreme Court, he would vote to reverse the Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade. Accordingly, a large number of groups mobilized to press for Bork’s rejection, and the resulting 1987 Senate confirmation hearings became an intensely partisan battle.

On October 23, 1987, the Senate denied Bork’s confirmation, with 42 Senators voting in favor and 58 voting against. Two Democratic Senators, David Boren (D-OK) and Ernest Hollings (D-SC), voted in his favor, with 6 Republican Senators (John Chafee (R-RI), Bob Packwood (R-OR), Arlen Specter (R-PA), Robert Stafford (R-VT), John Warner (R-VA), and Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. (R-CT) voting against him.[34]

The vacant court seat Bork was nominated to eventually went to Judge Anthony Kennedy, who was unanimously approved by the Senate, 97–0.[35] Bork, unhappy with his treatment in the nomination process, resigned his appellate-court judgeship in 1988.[36]

Bork as verb

According to columnist William Safire, the first published use of bork as a verb was possibly in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution of August 20, 1987. Safire defines to bork by reference “to the way Democrats savaged Ronald Reagan’s nominee, the Appeals Court judge Robert H. Bork, the year before.”[37] Perhaps the best known use of the verb to bork occurred in July 1991 at a conference of the National Organization for Women in New York City. Feminist Florynce Kennedy addressed the conference on the importance of defeating the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying, “We’re going to bork him. We’re going to kill him politically … This little creep, where did he come from?”[38] Thomas was subsequently confirmed after one of the most divisive confirmation hearings in Supreme Court history.

In March 2002, the Oxford English Dictionary added an entry for the verb bork as U.S. political slang, with this definition: “To defame or vilify (a person) systematically, esp. in the mass media, usually with the aim of preventing his or her appointment to public office; to obstruct or thwart (a person) in this way.”[39]

There was an earlier usage of bork as a passive verb, common among litigators in the D.C. Circuit: to “get borked” was to receive a conservative judicial decision with no justification in the law, reflecting their perception, later documented in the Cardozo Law Review, of Judge Bork’s tendency to decide cases solely according to his ideology.[40]

Later work

Following his failure to be confirmed, Bork resigned his seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and was for several years both a professor at George Mason University School of Law and a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, a Washington, D.C., based think tank. Bork also consulted for Netscape in the Microsoft litigation. Bork was a fellow at the Hudson Institute. He later served as a visiting professor at the University of Richmond School of Law and was a professor at Ave Maria School of Law in Ann Arbor, Michigan.[41] In 2011, Bork worked as a legal adviser for the presidential campaign of Republican Mitt Romney.[42]

Works and views

Bork wrote several books, including the two best-sellers The Tempting of America, about his judicial philosophy and his nomination battle, and Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline, in which he argued that the rise of the New Left in the 1960s in the U.S. undermined the moral standards necessary for civil society, and spawned a generation of intellectuals who oppose Western civilization. Curiously, during the period these books were written, as well as most of his adult life, Bork was an agnostic, a fact used pejoratively behind the scenes by Southern Democrats when speaking to their evangelical constituents during his Supreme Court nomination process.

In The Tempting of America (page 82), Bork explained his support for the Supreme Court’s desegregation decision in Brown v. Board of Education:

By 1954, when Brown came up for decision, it had been apparent for some time that segregation rarely if ever produced equality. Quite aside from any question of psychology, the physical facilities provided for blacks were not as good as those provided for whites. That had been demonstrated in a long series of cases . . . The Court’s realistic choice, therefore, was either to abandon the quest for equality by allowing segregation or to forbid segregation in order to achieve equality. There was no third choice. Either choice would violate one aspect of the original understanding, but there was no possibility of avoiding that. Since equality and segregation were mutually inconsistent, though the ratifiers did not understand that, both could not be honored. When that is seen, it is obvious the Court must choose equality and prohibit state-imposed segregation. The purpose that brought the fourteenth amendment into being was equality before the law, and equality, not separation, was written into the law.

In 1999, Bork wrote an essay about Thomas More and attacked jury nullification as a “pernicious practice”.[43] Bork once quoted More in summarizing his judicial philosophy.[44]

In 2003, he published Coercing Virtue: The Worldwide Rule Of Judges, an American Enterprise Institute book that includes Bork’s philosophical objections to the phenomenon of incorporating international ethical and legal guidelines into the fabric of domestic law. In particular, he focuses on problems he sees as inherent in the federal judiciary of three nations, Israel, Canada, and the United States—countries where he believes courts have exceeded their discretionary powers, and have discarded precedent and common law, and in their place substituted their own liberal judgment.

Bork also advocated modifying the Constitution to allow Congressional super-majorities to override Supreme Court decisions, similar to the Canadian notwithstanding clause. Though Bork had many liberal critics, some of his arguments have earned criticism from conservatives as well. Although an opponent of gun control,[45] Bork denounced what he called the “NRA view” of the Second Amendment, something he described as the “belief that the constitution guarantees a right to Teflon-coated bullets.” Instead, he argued that the Second Amendment merely guarantees a right to participate in a government militia.[46]

Bork converted to Catholicism in 2003.[47]

In October 2005, Bork publicly criticized the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.[48][49]

On June 6, 2007, Bork filed suit in federal court in New York City against the Yale Club over an incident that had occurred a year earlier. Bork alleged that, while trying to reach the dais to speak at an event, he fell, because of the Yale Club’s failure to provide any steps or handrail between the floor and the dais. (After his fall, he successfully climbed to the dais and delivered his speech.)[50] According to the complaint, Bork’s injuries required surgery, immobilized him for months, forced him to use a cane, and left him with a limp.[51] In May 2008, Bork and the Yale Club reached a confidential, out-of-court settlement.[52]

On June 7, 2007, Bork with several others authored an amicus brief on behalf of Scooter Libby arguing that there was a substantial constitutional question regarding the appointment of the prosecutor in the case, reviving the debate that had previously resulted in the Morrison v. Olson decision.[53]

On December 15, 2007, Bork endorsed Mitt Romney for President. He repeated this endorsement on August 2, 2011.

A 2008 issue of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy collected essays in tribute to Bork. Authors included Frank H. Easterbrook, George Priest, and Douglas Ginsburg.


Bork died of complications from heart disease at the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Virginia, on December 19, 2012.[1][36][54] Following his death, Scalia referred to Bork as “one of the most influential legal scholars of the past 50 years” and “a good man and a loyal citizen”. Mike Lee, Senator from Utah, called Bork “one of America’s greatest jurists and a brilliant legal mind”.[55]

In popular culture

The look of the character Judge Roy Snyder on The Simpsons is modeled on Robert Bork.[56]

In the “cold open” scene from a season 13 episode of Saturday Night Live that parodied a scene from the film The Untouchables (film), President Reagan (Phil Hartman) brutally beats Robert Bork with a baseball bat.

Selected writings

See also



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In the context of United States constitutional interpretation, originalism is a way to interpret the Constitution‘s meaning as stable from the time of enactment, and which can only be changed by the steps set out in Article Five of the Constitution.[1] The term originated in the 1980s.[2] Originalism is based on formalist theory, and when applied to meaning, is closely related to textualism.

Today, originalism is popular among some political conservatives in the U.S., and is most prominently associated with Justice Clarence Thomas, 2017 Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, Justice Antonin Scalia, and Robert Bork. However, some liberals, such as late Justice Hugo Black and legal scholar Akhil Amar, have also subscribed to the theory.[3]

Originalism is an umbrella term for interpretative methods that hold to the “fixation thesis”—the notion that an utterance’s semantic content is fixed at the time it is uttered.[4]Originalists seek one of two alternative sources of meaning:

  • The original intent theory, which holds that interpretation of a written constitution is (or should be) consistent with what was meant by those who drafted and ratified it. This is currently a minority view among originalists.
  • The original meaning theory, which is closely related to textualism, is the view that interpretation of a written constitution or law should be based on what reasonable persons living at the time of its adoption would have understood the ordinary meaning of the text to be. It is this view with which most originalists, such as Justice Scalia, are associated.

These theories share the view that there is an identifiable original intent or original meaning, contemporaneous with a constitution’s or statute’s ratification, which should govern its subsequent interpretation. The divisions between these theories relate to what exactly that identifiable original intent or original meaning is: the intentions of the authors or the ratifiers, the original meaning of the text, a combination of the two, or the original meaning of the text but not its expected application.

Originalism and strict constructionism

Bret Boyce described the origins of the term originalist as follows: The term “originalism” has been most commonly used since the middle 1980s and was apparently coined by Paul Brest in The Misconceived Quest for the Original Understanding.[1] It is often asserted that originalism is synonymous with strict constructionism.[5][6][7][8]

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was a firm believer in originalism

Both theories are associated with textualist and formalist schools of thought, however there are pronounced differences between them. Justice Scalia differentiated the two by pointing out that, unlike an originalist, a strict constructionist would not acknowledge that he uses a cane means he walks with a cane (because, strictly speaking, this is not what he uses a cane means).[9] Scalia averred that he was “not a strict constructionist, and no-one ought to be”; he goes further, calling strict constructionism “a degraded form of textualism that brings the whole philosophy into disrepute”.[10]

Originalism is a theory of interpretation, not construction.[11] However, this distinction between “interpretation” and “construction” is controversial and is rejected by many nonoriginalists as artificial. As Scalia said, “the Constitution, or any text, should be interpreted [n]either strictly [n]or sloppily; it should be interpreted reasonably”; once originalism has told a Judge what the provision of the Constitution means, they are bound by that meaning—however the business of Judging is not simply to know what the text means (interpretation), but to take the law’s necessarily general provisions and apply them to the specifics of a given case or controversy (construction). In many cases, the meaning might be so specific that no discretion is permissible, but in many cases, it is still before the Judge to say what a reasonable interpretation might be. A judge could, therefore, be both an originalist and a strict constructionist—but he is not one by virtue of being the other.

To put the difference more explicitly, both schools take the plain meaning of the text as their starting point, but have different approaches that can best be illustrated with a fictitious example.

Suppose that the Constitution contained (which it obviously does not) a provision that a person may not be “subjected to the punishments of hanging by the neck, beheading, stoning, pressing, or execution by firing squad“. A strict constructionist might interpret that clause to mean that the specific punishments mentioned above were unconstitutional, but that other forms of capital punishment were permissible. For a strict constructionist, the specific, strict reading of the text is the beginning and end of the inquiry.

For an originalist, however, the text is the beginning of the inquiry, and two originalists might reach very different results, not only from the strict constructionist, but from each other. “Originalists can reach different results in the same case” (see What originalism is not—originalism is not always an answer in and of itself, below); one originalist might look at the context in which the clause was written, and might discover that the punishments listed in the clause were the only forms of capital punishment in use at that time, and the only forms of capital punishment that had ever been used at the time of ratification. An originalist might therefore conclude that capital punishment in general, including those methods for it invented since ratification, such as the electric chair, are not constitutional. Another originalist may look at the text and see that the writers created a list. He would assume that the authors intended this to be an exhaustive list of objectionable executions. Otherwise, they would have banned capital punishment as a whole, instead of listing specific means of punishment. He would rule that other forms of execution are constitutional.

Note that originalists would agree that, if the original meaning of the text could be ascertained, that meaning governs. Where they disagree, as in this example, is about exactly how to find that meaning. For example, any originalist or even a strict constructionist might apply the canon of construction expressio unius est exclusio alterius, which presumes that when an author includes one example he intends to exclude others. If that canon is appropriate in the example here, all originalist interpreters would likely reach the same result. Contrast this with a “living constitutional” interpretation, which might find that, although the text itself only prohibits certain methods, those methods are examples of particularly unpleasant methods of execution; therefore, the text invites modern readers to extend its principle to those forms of punishment we now find particularly unpleasant.

Forms of originalism

Originalism is actually a family of related views. Originalism as a movement got off to a slow start in 1971, with Robert Bork’s Neutral Principles and Some First Amendment Problems.[12] It was not until the 1980s, when conservative jurists began to take seats on the Supreme Court, that the debate really began in earnest. “Old originalism” focused primarily on “intent,” mostly by default. But that line was largely abandoned in the early 1990s; as “New originalism” emerged, most adherents subscribed to “original meaning” originalism, though there are some intentionalists within new originalism.

Original intent

Main article: Original intent

The original form of originalism is sometimes called intentionalism, or original intent originalism, and looked for the subjective intent of a law’s enactors. One problem with this approach is identifying the relevant “lawmaker” whose intent is sought. For instance, the authors of the U.S. Constitution could be the particular Founding Fathers that drafted it, such as those on the Committee of Detail. Or, since the Constitution purports to originate from the People, one could look to the various state ratifying conventions. The intentionalist methodology involves studying the writings of its authors, or the records of the Philadelphia Convention, or debates in the state legislatures, for clues as to their intent.

There are two kinds of intent analysis, reflecting two meanings of the word intent. The first, a rule of common law construction during the Founding Era, is functional intent. The second is motivational intent. To understand the difference, one can use the metaphor of an architect who designs a Gothic church with flying buttresses. The functional intent of flying buttresses is to prevent the weight of the roof from spreading the walls and causing a collapse of the building, which can be inferred from examining the design as a whole. The motivational intent might be to create work for his brother-in-law who is a flying buttress subcontractor. Using original intent analysis of the first kind, we can discern that the language of Article III of the U.S. Constitution was to delegate to Congress the power to allocate original and appellate jurisdictions, and not to remove some jurisdiction, involving a constitutional question, from all courts. That would suggest that the decision was wrong in Ex Parte McCardle.[13]

Problems with intentionalism

However, a number of problems are inherent in intentionalism, and a fortiori when that theory is applied to the Constitution. For example, most of the Founders did not leave detailed discussions of what their intent was in 1787, and while a few did, there is no reason to think that they should be dispositive of what the rest thought. Moreover, the discussions of the drafters may have been recorded; however they were not available to the ratifiers in each state. The theory of original intent was challenged in a string of law review articles in the 1980s.[14] Specifically, original intent was seen as lacking good answers to three important questions: whether a diverse group such as the framers even had a single intent; if they did, whether it could be determined from two centuries’ distance; and whether the framers themselves would have supported original intent.[15]

In response to this, a different strain of originalism, articulated by (among others) Antonin Scalia,[16] Robert Bork,[17] and Randy Barnett,[18] came to the fore. This is dubbed original meaning.

Original meaning

Main article: Original meaning

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes argued that interpreting what was meant by someone who wrote a law was not trying to “get into his mind” because the issue was “not what this man meant, but what those words would mean in the mouth of a normal speaker of English, using them in the circumstances in which they were used.”[19] This is the essential precept of modern Originalism.

The most robust and widely cited form of originalism, original meaning emphasizes how the text would have been understood by a reasonable person in the historical period during which the constitution was proposed, ratified, and first implemented. For example, economist Thomas Sowell[20] notes that phrases like “due process” and “freedom of the press” had a long established meaning in English law, even before they were put into the Constitution of the United States.” Applying this form involves studying dictionaries and other writings of the time (for example, Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England; see “Matters rendered moot by originalism”, infra) to establish what particular terms meant. See Methodology, infra).

Justice Scalia, one of the most forceful modern advocates for originalism, defined himself as belonging to the latter category:

The theory of originalism treats a constitution like a statute, and gives it the meaning that its words were understood to bear at the time they were promulgated. You will sometimes hear it described as the theory of original intent. You will never hear me refer to original intent, because as I say I am first of all a textualist, and secondly an originalist. If you are a textualist, you don’t care about the intent, and I don’t care if the framers of the Constitution had some secret meaning in mind when they adopted its words. I take the words as they were promulgated to the people of the United States, and what is the fairly understood meaning of those words.[21]

Though there may be no evidence that the Founding Fathers intended the Constitution to be like a statute, this fact does not matter under Scalia’s approach. Adherence to original meaning is explicitly divorced from the intent of the Founders; rather, the reasons for adhering to original meaning derive from other justifications, such as the argument that the understanding of the ratifiers (the people of the several States at the time of the adoption of the Constitution) should be controlling, as well as consequentialist arguments about original meaning’s positive effect on rule of law.

Perhaps the clearest example to illustrate the importance of the difference between original intent and original understanding is to use the Twenty-seventh Amendment. The Twenty-seventh Amendment was proposed as part of the Bill of Rights in 1791, but failed to be ratified by the required number of states for two centuries, eventually being ratified in 1992. An original intent inquiry might ask what the framers understood the amendment to mean when it was written, though some would argue that it was the intent of the latter-day ratifiers that is important. An original-meaning inquiry would ask what the plain, public meaning of the text was in 1992 when it was eventually ratified.

Semantic originalism

Semantic-originalism is Ronald Dworkin‘s term for the theory that the original meaning of many statutes implies that those statutes prohibit certain acts widely considered not to be prohibited by the statutes at the time of their passages. This type of originalism contrasts with expectations originalism, which adheres to how the statutes functioned at the times of their passages, without any expectation that they would function in any other particular ways.[22]

Justice Antonin Scalia and other originalists often claim that the death penalty is not “cruel and unusual punishment” because at the time of the Eighth Amendment‘s passage, it was a punishment believed to be neither cruel nor unusual. Dworkin and the semantic-originalists assert, however, that if advances in moral philosophy (presuming that such advances are possible) reveal that the death penalty is in fact “cruel and unusual”, then the original meaning of the Eighth Amendment implies that the death penalty is unconstitutional. All the same, Justice Scalia purported to follow semantic originalism, although he conceded that Dworkin does not believe Scalia was true to that calling.[23]

Framework originalism

Framework Originalism is an approach developed by Jack Balkin, a professor of law at Yale Law School. Framework Originalism, or Living Originalism, is a blend of primarily two constitutional interpretive methods: originalism and Living Constitution. Balkin holds that there is no inherent contradiction between these two, aforementioned, interpretive approaches—when properly understood. Framework Originalists view the Constitution as an “initial framework for governance that sets politics in motion.” This “framework” must be built-out or filled-out over time, successive generations, by the various legislative and judicial branches. This process is achieved, primarily, through building political institutions, passing legislation, and creating precedents (both judicial and non-judicial).[24] In effect, the process of building out the Constitution on top of the framework of the original meaning is living constitutionalism, the change of and progress of law over time to address particular (current) issues. The authority of the judiciary and of the political branches to engage in constitutional construction comes from their “joint responsiveness to public opinion” over long stretches of time, while operating within the basic framework of the original meaning. Balkin claims that through mechanisms of social influence, both judges and the political branches inevitably come to reflect and respond to changing social mores, norms, customs and (public) opinions.

According to Framework originalism, interpreters should adhere to the original meaning of the Constitution, but are not necessarily required to follow the original expected application (although they may use it to create doctrines and decide cases). For example, states should extend the equal protection of the laws to all peoples, in cases where it would not originally or normally be applied to. Contemporary interpreters are not bound by how people in 1868 would have applied these words and meanings to issues such as racial segregation or (sexual) discrimination, largely due to the fact the fourteenth amendment is concerned with such issues (as well as the fact that the fourteenth amendment was not proposed or ratified by the founders). When the Constitution uses or applies principles or standards, like “equal protection” or “unreasonable searches and seizures,” further construction is usually required, by either the judiciary, the executive or legislative branch. Therefore, Balkin claims, (pure, unadulterated) originalism is not sufficient to decide a wide range of cases or controversies. Judges, he posits, will have to “engage in considerable constitutional construction as well as the elaboration and application of previous constructions.” For example, originalism (in and of itself), is not sufficient enough to constrain judicial behavior. Constraint itself does not just come from doctrine or canons, it also comes from institutional, political, and cultural sources. These constraints include: multi-member or panel courts (where the balance of power lies with moderate judges); the screening of judges through the federal judicial appointment process; social and cultural influences on the judiciary (which keep judges attuned and attentive to popular opinions and the political will of the people); and prevailing professional legal culture and professional conceptions of the role of the judiciary (which produce social norms or mores). These constraints ensure that judges try to behave; to act as impartial arbiters of the law and to try to behave in a principled manner, as it applies to decision making.


In “The Original Meaning of the Recess Appointments Clause”, Prof. Michael B. Rappaport described the methodology associated with the “Original Meaning” form of originalism as follows:

  • “The task is to determine the original meaning of the language … that is, to understand how knowledgeable individuals would have understood this language…when it was drafted and ratified. Interpreters at the time would have examined various factors, including text, purpose, structure, and history.”
  • “The most important factor is the text of the Clause. The modern interpreter should read the language in accord with the meaning it would have had in the late 1780s. Permissible meanings from that time include the ordinary meanings as well as more technical legal meanings words may have had.”
  • “If the language has more than one interpretation, then one would look to purpose, structure, and history to help to clarify the ambiguity. Purpose, structure, and history provide evidence for determining which meaning of the language the authors would have intended.”
    • “The purpose of a Clause involves the objectives or goals that the authors would have sought to accomplish in enacting it. One common and permissible way to discern the purpose is to look to the evident or obvious purpose of a provision. Yet, purpose arguments can be dangerous, because it is easy for interpreters to focus on one purpose to the exclusion of other possible purposes without any strong arguments for doing so.”
    • “Historical evidence can reveal the values that were widely held by the Framers’ generation and that presumably informed their purposes when enacting constitutional provisions. History can also reveal their practices, which when widely accepted would be evidence of their values.”
    • “The structure of the document can also help to determine the purposes of the Framers. The decision to enact one constitutional clause may reveal the values of the Framers and thereby help us understand the purposes underlying a second constitutional clause.”
  • “One additional source of evidence about the meaning of constitutional language is early constitutional interpretations by government officials or prominent commentators. …Such interpretations may provide evidence of the original meaning of the provisions, because early interpreters would have had better knowledge of contemporary word meanings, societal values, and interpretive techniques. Of course, early interpreters may also have had political and other incentives to misconstrue the document that should be considered.” (Id. at 5–7). Historians[who?] of course reject the last point, arguing that discerning original meaning requires access to many different evidence—such as statements from many people—that the people at the time did not have access to. Furthermore, most of the evidence that would clarify the original meaning has been lost—only fragments remain in the form of materials that were written down and happen to survive for hundreds of years[citation needed]. Whenever there is ambiguity there probably is also a paucity of evidence to resolve that ambiguity.


Philosophical underpinnings

Originalism, in all its various forms, is predicated on a specific view of what the Constitution is, a view articulated by Chief Justice John Marshall in Marbury v. Madison:

[T]he constitution organizes the government, and assigns to different departments their respective powers. It may either stop here; or establish certain limits not to be transcended by those departments.

The government of the United States is of the latter description. The powers of the legislature are defined and limited; and that those limits may not be mistaken or forgotten, the constitution is written. To what purpose are powers limited, and to what purpose is that limitation committed to writing; if these limits may, at any time, be passed by those intended to be restrained?

Originalism assumes that Marbury is correct: the Constitution is the operating charter granted to government by the people, as per the preamble to the United States Constitution, and its written nature introduces a certain discipline into its interpretation. Originalism further assumes that the need for such a written charter was derived from the perception, on the part of the Framers, of the abuses of power under the (unwritten) British Constitution, under which the Constitution was essentially whatever Parliament decided it should be. In writing out a Constitution which explicitly granted the government certain authorities, and withheld from it others, and in which power was balanced between multiple agencies (the Presidency, two chambers of Congress and the Supreme Court at the national level, and State governments of the United States with similar branches), the intention of the Framers was to restrain government, originalists argue, and the value of such a document is nullified if that document’s meaning is not fixed. As one author stated, “If the constitution can mean anything, then the constitution is reduced to meaninglessness.”[25]

Function of constitutional jurisprudence

Dissenting in Romer v. Evans, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote:

Since the Constitution of the United States says nothing about this subject, it is left to be resolved by normal democratic means, including the democratic adoption of provisions in state constitutions. This Court has no business imposing upon all Americans the resolution favored by the elite class from which the Members of this institution are selected.

This statement summarizes the role for the court envisioned by Originalists, that is, that the Court parses what the general law and constitution says of a particular case or controversy, and when questions arise as to the meaning of a given constitutional provision, that provision should be given the meaning it was understood to mean when ratified. Reviewing Steven D Smith’s book Law’s Quandary, Justice Scalia applied this formulation to some controversial topics routinely brought before the Court:

It troubles Smith, but does not at all trouble me—in fact, it pleases me—that giving the words of the Constitution their normal meaning would “expel from the domain of legal issues … most of the constitutional disputes that capture our attention”, such as “Can a macho military educational institution dedicated to what is euphemistically called the ‘adversative’ method admit only men? Is there a right to abortion? Or to the assistance of a physician in ending one’s life?” If we should read English as English, Smith bemoans, “these questions would seemingly all have received the same answer: ‘No law on that one.'”

That is precisely the answer they should have received: The federal Constitution says nothing on these subjects, which are therefore left to be governed by state law.[26]

In Marbury, Chief Justice Marshall established that the Supreme Court could invalidate laws which violated the Constitution (that is, judicial review), which helped establish the Supreme Court as having its own distinct sphere of influence within the Federal Government. However, this power was itself balanced with the requirement that the Court could only invalidate legislation if it was unconstitutional. Originalists argue that the modern court no longer follows this requirement. They argue that—since U.S. v. Darby, in which Justice Stone (writing for a unanimous Court) ruled that the Tenth Amendment had no legal meaning—the Court has increasingly taken to making rulings[27] in which the Court has determined not what the Constitution says, but rather, the Court has sought to determine what is “morally correct” at this point in the nation’s history, in terms of “the evolving standards of decency” (and considering “the context of international jurisprudence”), and then justified that determination through a “creative reading” of the text. This latter approach is frequently termed “the Living constitution“; Justice Scalia inveighed that “the worst thing about the living constitution is that it will destroy the constitution”.[28]

Matters rendered moot by originalism

Originalists are sharply critical of the use of the evolving standards of decency (a term which first appeared in Trop v. Dulles) and of reference to the opinions of courts in foreign countries (excepting treaties to which the United States is a signatory, per Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution) in Constitutional interpretation.

In an originalist interpretation, if the meaning of the Constitution is static, then any ex post facto information (such as the opinions of the American people, American judges, or the judiciaries of any foreign country) is inherently valueless for interpretation of the meaning of the Constitution, and should not form any part of constitutional jurisprudence. The Constitution is thus fixed and has procedures defining how it can be changed.

The exception to the use of foreign law is the English common law, which originalists regard as setting the philosophical stage for the US Constitution and the American common and civil law. Hence, an originalist might cite Blackstone‘s Commentaries to establish the meaning of the term due process as it would have been understood at the time of ratification.

What originalism is not

Originalism is not the theory of original intent

As discussed previously, original intent is only one theory in the Originalist family of theories. Many of the criticisms that are directed at original intent do not apply to other Originalist theories.

Originalism is not conservatism

It is not accurate to say that originalism rejects change or that originalists necessarily oppose the use of “the evolving standards of decency” in determining what the Constitution ought to say; rather, originalism rejects the concept that the courts should consider what the Constitution ought to say but instead rule solely on what it said as understood at the time of its enactment. Originalists argue that the business of determining what the Constitution and the law ought to say is within the purview of the Congress, that changes to the law should come through the legislature, and changes to the constitution should be made per the amendment process outlined in Article V. Sometimes this approach yields results that please conservatives (see, for example, Justice Scalia’s dissents in Roper v. Simmons or Romer), and sometimes it yields results that do not (see, for example, Justice Scalia’s dissents in BMW v. Gore or Hamdi v. Rumsfeld).

Originalism is not always an answer in and of itself

Originalism is a means of constitutional interpretation, not constitutional construction; whenever “to describe [a] case is not to decide it”,[29] it can only serve as a guide for what the Constitution says, not how that text applies to a given case or controversy. Thus, Originalists can reach different results in the same case; see, for example, United States v. Fordice; McIntyre; Hamdi, Gonzales v. Raich; National Cable & Telecommunications Assn. v. Brand X Internet Services. According to an article in The New Republic, although Scalia admits that Thomas “is really the only justice whose basic approach to the law is the same as mine”, the author contends that “during the court’s 2003–2004 term, Scalia and Thomas voted together in only 73 percent of cases, and six other pairs of justices agreed with each other more often than Thomas and Scalia did.”[citation needed]

Pros and cons

Arguments for and against Originalism should be read in conjunction with alternative views and rebuttals, presented in footnotes.

Arguments favoring originalism

  • If a constitution no longer meets the exigencies of a society’s evolving standard of decency, and the people wish to amend or replace the document, there is nothing stopping them from doing so in the manner which was envisioned by the drafters: through the amendment process. The Living Constitution approach would thus only be valuable in the absence of an amendment process.
  • Originalism deters judges from unfettered discretion to inject their personal values into constitutional interpretation. Before one can reject originalism, one must find another criterion for determining the meaning of a provision, lest the “opinion of this Court [rest] so obviously upon nothing however the personal views of its members”.[30] Scalia has averred that “there is no other” criterion to constrain judicial interpretation.[31]
  • Originalism helps ensure predictability and protects against arbitrary changes in the interpretation of a constitution; to reject originalism implicitly repudiates the theoretical underpinning of another theory of stability in the law, stare decisis.
  • If a constitution as interpreted can truly be changed at the decree of a judge, then “[t]he Constitution… is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary which they may twist and shape into any form they please,” said Thomas Jefferson. Hence, the purpose of the constitution would be defeated, and there would be no reason to have one.
  • If a constitution is to be interpreted in light of the evolving standards of decency, why, in most democratic countries, should the highest authority of judicial branch (e.g., the Supreme Court in U.S.) be the ones to have the final say over its interpretation? Is not the legislative branch which is elected, thereby more likely to be in touch with the current standards of decency, and therefore better placed to make such judgments? If originalism is wrong, then Marbury v. Madison—which holding underpins judicial review of constitutionality, that is, the meaning of the constitution—was wrongly decided, and two centuries of jurisprudence relying on it is thereby on shaky ground.
  • Sometimes the Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution is cited as an example by originalism critics to attack Originalism. Self-described originalists have been at least as willing as judges of other schools to give the Ninth Amendment no substantive meaning or to treat it as surplusage duplicative of the Tenth Amendment. Bork described it as a Rorshach blot and claimed that the courts had no power to identify or protect the rights supposedly protected by it. Scalia held similarly: “[T]he Constitution’s refusal to ‘deny or disparage’ other rights is far removed from affirming any one of them, and even afarther removed from authorizing judges to identify what they might be, and to enforce the judges’ list against laws duly enacted by the people.” Troxel v. Granville 530 U.S. 57 (2000) (Scalia, J. Dissenting). Scalia’s interpretation renders the Ninth Amendment entirely unenforcable and moot, which is clearly contrary to its original intent. However, this is a criticism of specific originalists—and a criticism that they are insufficiently originalist—not a criticism of originalism. The theory of originalism as a whole is entirely compatible with the Ninth Amendment. Alternative theories of originalism have been argued by Randy Barnett that give the Ninth Amendment more practical effect than many other schools of legal thought do.
  • Contrary to critics of originalism, originalists do not always agree upon an answer to a constitutional question, nor is there any requirement that they have to. There is room for disagreement as to what original meaning was, and even more as to how that original meaning applies to the situation before the court. But the originalist at least knows what he is looking for: the original meaning of the text. Usually, that is easy to discern and simple to apply. Sometimes there will be disagreement regarding the original meaning; and sometimes there will be disagreement as to how that original meaning applies to new and unforeseen phenomena. How, for example, does the First Amendment of the U.S. constitution guarantee of “the freedom of speech” apply to new technologies that did not exist when the guarantee was codified—to sound trucks, or to government-licensed over-the-air television? In such new fields the Court must follow the trajectory of the First Amendment, so to speak, to determine what it requires, and that enterprise is not entirely cut-and-dried, but requires the exercise of judgment. But the difficulties and uncertainties of determining original meaning and applying it to modern circumstances are negligible compared with the difficulties and uncertainties of the philosophy which says that the constitution changes; that the very act which it once prohibited it now permits, and which it once permitted it now forbids; and that the key to that change is unknown and unknowable. The originalist, if he does not have all the answers, has many of them.[32]
  • If the people come to believe that the constitution is not a text like other texts; if it means, not what it says or what it was understood to mean, but what it should mean, in light of the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society, they will look for qualifications other than impartiality, judgment, and lawyerly acumen in those whom they elect to interpret it. More specifically, they will look for people who agree with them as to what those evolving standards have evolved to; who agree with them as to what the constitution ought to be. If the courts are free to write the constitution anew, they will write it the way the majority wants; the appointment and confirmation process will see to that. This suggests the end of the Bill of Rights, whose meaning will be committed to the very body it was meant to protect against: the majority. By trying to make the constitution do everything that needs doing from age to age, we shall have caused it to do nothing at all.[32]

Arguments opposing originalism

  • If one is then to look at the interpretation (or, meaning), which inheres at the particular time period, the question becomes: why is that reading the essential one?. Or, restated, an essential reading, then, is owing to whom? Is it owing, then, to the meaning derived by the average person at that time? The collective intent of the voters who passed it? Or is it possible that they indeed entrusted the framers with the authority to draft the constitution; i.e., that the intent of the drafters should remain relevant? Originalism faces hermeneutic difficulties in understanding the intentions of the Founding Fathers, who lived 200 years ago (original intent), or the context of the time in which they lived (original meaning). Justice Scalia accepted this problem: “It’s not always easy to figure out what the provision meant when it was adopted…I do not say [originalism] is perfect. I just say it’s better than anything else”.[33]
  • Legal controversy rarely arises over constitutional text with uncontroversial interpretations. How, then, does one determine the original “meaning” of an originally broad and ambiguous phrase? Thus, originalists often conceal their choice between levels of generality or possible alternative meanings as required by the original meaning when there is considerable room for disagreement.
  • It could be argued (as, for example, Justice Breyer has) that constitutions are meant to endure over time, and in order to do so, their interpretation must therefore be more flexible and responsive to changing circumstances than the amendment process.
  • The Ninth Amendment is the exception in that it does establish a rule of constitutional interpretation (“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”). When interpreted using original intent or original meaning, it clearly protects rights which the founders had not thought to list explicitly—this could be interpreted as a direct rebuke to all Textualist or Formalist legal schools including originalism.
  • Originalism allows the dead hand of prior generations to control important contemporary issues to an extraordinary and unnecessary level of detail. While everyone agrees that broad constitutional principles should control, if the question is whether abortion is a fundamental right, why should past centuries-old intentions be controlling? The originalist’s distinction between original meaning and original intention here is unclear due to the difficulty of discussing meaning in terms of specific details that the Constitutional text does not clarify.
  • In writing such a broad phrase such as “cruel and unusual”, it is considered implausible by some that the framers intended for its very specific meaning at that time to be permanently controlling. The purpose of phrases such as “cruel and unusual,” rather, is specifically not to specify which punishments are forbidden, but to create a flexible test that can be applied over future centuries. Stated alternatively, there is no reason to think the framers have a privileged position in making this determination of what is cruel and unusual; while their ban on cruel punishment is binding on us, their understanding of the scope of the concept “cruel” need not be.
  • If applied scrupulously, originalism requires the country either to continually reratify the Constitution in order to retain contemporary standards for tests such as “cruel and unusual punishment” or “unreasonable searches and seizures,” or to change the language to specifically state that these tests shall be administered according to the standards of the society administering the test. Critics of originalism believe that the first approach is too burdensome, while the second is already inherently implied.
  • Originalists often argue that, where a constitution is silent, judges should not read rights into it. Rights implicating abortion, sex and sexual orientation equality, and capital punishment are often thus described as issues that the Constitution does not speak to, and that hence should not be recognized by the judiciary. However, the Ninth Amendment provides that “[t]he enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”. Original intent thus calls for just the opposite of what the text of the Constitution and original intent of the founders arguably affirm, creating an inconsistency in the practice of at least one branch of Originalism. The subsequent Tenth Amendment, detailing non-enumerated rights as the sole property of the states and the people, is often cited as the clarification for this inconsistency and the reason why the federal courts have no say in affirming or denying said rights per the Ninth Amendment. Another example is the centrality of the concept of “Person” to the Constitution and the fact that any claim by originalists such as Bork, Scalia, or Thomas that the Constitution does not speak to human rights and gender equality a fortiori reflects a judicial effort to legislate meaning into the term Person; for example, Justice Scalia’s assertion that women’s equality is entirely up to the political branches[34] ignores the use of the term “Person” rather than “Man” in the Constitution, and the common meaning of the term at the time,[35] and instead interprets the Constitution to say that only heterosexual men and male fetuses are “Persons” thus reading silence into the Constitution on a matter on which it is not silent for the purpose of narrowing the Constitution’s meaning. The device of “originalism” is thus used to replace the original intent, the original meaning, and the text itself with Justice Scalia’s subjective view or desires.

Arguments against some of the proponents of Originalism

  • Critics argue that originalism, as applied by its most prominent proponents, is sometimes pretext (or, at least, the “rules” of originalism are sometimes “bent”) to reach desired ends, no less so than the Living Constitution. For example, Prof. Jack Balkin has averred that neither the original understanding nor the original intent of the 14th Amendment is compatible with the result implicitly reached by the Originalist Justices Thomas and Scalia in their willingness to join Chief Justice Rehnquist’s concurrence in Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000). Furthermore, while both Scalia and Thomas have objected on originalist grounds to the use of foreign law by the court (see, respectively, Thompson v. Oklahoma, 487 U.S. 815, 868 (1988), and Knight v. Florida, 528 U.S. 990 (1999)), both have allowed it to seep into their opinions at one time or another (see, respectively, McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Committee, 514 U.S. 334, 381 (1995) and Holder v. Hall, 512 U.S. 874, 904 (1994))

See also


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Ann Swidler — Introduction to Sociology –University of California, Berkeley — Videos

Posted on January 29, 2017. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, College, College Courses Online Videos, Congress, Constitution, Culture, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Faith, Family, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, history, History of Economic Thought, Language, Law, liberty, Life, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Rants, Raves, Sociology, Sociology, Video, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , |

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Ann Swidler

Ann Swidler

Research Interests:
Culture, religion, theory, institutionalization, African responses to HIV/AIDS
444 Barrows
Curriculum Vitae:

Ann Swidler (PhD UC Berkeley; BA Harvard) studies the interplay of culture and institutions. She asks how culture works–both how people use it and how it shapes social life. She is best known for her books Talk of Love, and the co-authored works Habits of the Heart and The Good Society, as well as her classic article, “Culture in Action: Symbols and Strategies” (American Sociological Review, 1986).  Her most recent book, Talk of Love: How Culture Matters (Chicago, 2001), examines how actors select among elements of their cultural repertoires and how culture gets organized “from the outside in” by Codes, Contexts, and Institutions. In the co-authored Habits of the Heart and The Good Society, she and her collaborators analyzed the consequences of American individualism for individual selfhood, community, and political and economic institutions. With colleagues from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, she has been engaged in an ambitious project to understand the societal determinants of human health and well being.

Swidler’s current research is on cultural and institutional responses to the AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. Swidler’s research on AIDS Africa has led both to work on NGOs and the international response to the epidemic and to work on transactional sex, cultural barriers to condom use, and factors that have made the responses to the epidemic more successful in some African countries than in others. She is interested in how the massive international AIDS effort in sub-Saharan Africa–the infusion of money, organizations, programs and projects–interacts with existing cultural and institutional patterns to create new dilemmas and new possibilities. She is exploring these issues from two directions:

From the international side, she examines how the international AIDS effort is structured (who provides money to whom, how collaborative networks are structured, how programs get organized on the ground); why some interventions are favored over others; and what organizational forms international funders opt for.  From the African side, she is exploring why the NGO sector is more robust in some countries than others; when international AIDS efforts stimulate vs. impede or derail local efforts; and what organizational syncretisms sometimes emerge.

Swidler’s most recent work examines African religion and the institutions of African chieftaincy in order to understand the cultural and religious sources of collective capacities for social action.

Professor Swidler teaches sociology of culture, sociology of religion, and sociological theory. Her interests increasingly touch on political sociology, development, and sociology of science and medicine as well.

Representative Publications:


  • 2001 Talk of Love: How Culture Matters (University of Chicago Press).
  • 2001 (eds.), Meaning and Modernity: Religion, Polity, Self (University of California Press). (with Madsen, Sullivan, Tipton)
  • 1996 Inequality by Design: Cracking the Bell Curve Myth (Princeton University Press). (with Fischer, Hout, Jankowski, Lucas, and Voss)
  • 1991 The Good Society (Alfred A. Knopf). (with Bellah, Madsen, Sullivan, and Tipton)
  • 1985 Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life (University of California Press). (with Bellah, Madsen, Sullivan, and Tipton)
  • 1979 Organization Without Authority: Dilemmas of Social Control in Free Schools (Harvard University Press).

Selected Articles and Chapters

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Trump Selects Former Indiana Senator Dan Coats for National Intelligence Director — Is Julian Assange A Russian Cuttout? — American People Rejected Clinton and Obama — Videos

Posted on January 5, 2017. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Documentary, Education, Elections, Employment, Faith, Family, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Music, National Security Agency (NSA), Newspapers, Photos, Police, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Radio, Rants, Raves, Television, Water, Wealth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

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Former Senator Dan Coats picked as national intel director

Donald Trump Picks Dan Coats For National Intelligence Director | Closing Bell | CNBC

Trump waging war with the intelligence community

Trump Denies Russia’s Involvement In Hacking

Trump blasts claim Russia hacked the election

Julian Assange FULL Interview 1/3/17

Julian Assange NEW LEAKS “Laura Ingraham” Barack Obama Wrong – Vladimir Putin Didn’t Hack Election


Russia mocks President Obama with ‘lame duck’ tweet

Putin: The Democrats are looking for someone to blame

WOW! The Democratic Leadership in there candidate have lied cheated and tried to steal the….

Who’s To Blame For Hillary Clinton’s Loss?

Democrats losing on all fronts, looking for scapegoats – Putin on US elections

Why Hillary Campaign Tried To Silence Mika Brzezinski

Clinton Refuses To Take The Blame

Democratic Blame Game: Is Obama in Denial?

Why Democrats’ 2020 Candidates Are Already Losers

NSA Chief: Russia Hacked the 2016 Election

Blame Game (VEVO Presents: G.O.O.D. Music)

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American PIE — Propaganda Indoctrination Entertainment — Luce and His Empire –Time Magazine Is Fake News — Circling The Drain (CTD) — Videos

Posted on January 3, 2017. Filed under: American History, Art, Articles, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Congress, Constitution, Corruption, Culture, Documentary, Education, Elections, Employment, Films, Freedom, Friends, history, Illegal, Immigration, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Money, Music, National Security Agency (NSA), People, Philosophy, Photos, Political Correctness, Private Sector, Public Sector, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Reviews, Spying, Strategy, Success, Talk Radio, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Unemployment, Union, Unions, Video, War, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, World War II, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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