This morning the Bluegrass Institute celebrated Milton Friedman Day 2011 by presenting a series of lectures and videos honoring the dauntless defender of liberty in front of a sold-out crowd at the University of Louisville.
Jim Waters, Vice President of Policy and Communication at the Bluegrass Institute, opened the event by describing Friedman as “the great communicator.” As Waters discussed, Friedman was one of the greatest economic theoreticians of the 20th century, but was also able to turn these complicated concepts into tangible ideas which any concerned individual could understand.
In doing so, “Milton Friedman changed the world. He’s still changing it, and I believe he’ll continue to do so for a long, long time.”
Professor Stephan Gohmann, BB&T Professor of Free Enterprise at the University of Louisville, discussed some of Friedman’s more technical contributions to economics and the liberty movement. Gohmann pointed out that countries with higher degrees of freedom significantly outperform those with less freedom, and that’s across virtually any indicator imaginable – GDP, mean income of the poorest segment of the population, life expectancy, infant mortality rates – you name it.
For Friedman, the importance of economic freedom among nations was a no-brainer.
Former Kentucky gubernatorial candidate, Phil Moffett, rose to discuss Friedman’s legacy in the school choice movement, pointing out that Milton and his wife, Rose, would have a lot to say about the disappointing state of Kentucky schools.
Moffett took a page out of one of Friedman’s many books, stating that parents, not government, are responsible for educating their children, and programs like school vouchers and charter schools put that power back into parents’ hands.
Among other notable attendees were State Rep. Tim Moore (R-Elizabethtown) and John Garen, Gatton Endowed Professor of Economics at the University of Kentucky who recently authored “An Unsustainable Path: The Past and Future of Kentucky Medicaid Spending.”
Friedman Day 2011 was another successful event presented by the Bluegrass Institute, and one that continued the legacy of free markets that Friedman did so much to promote. In the words of Milton Friedman, “You could see a remarkable revolution, if only you’d let the market go to work.”
This coming Sunday would have been Milton Friedman’s 99th birthday.