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Milton Friedman on Homeland Security

Libertarian Economist


1972: Passionate proponent of all-volunteer military

In Oct. 1967, because of my interest in volunteer military, I was invited to be part of a conference convened to discuss the topic. There I met one of the most passionate proponents of the all-volunteer system, the economist Milton Friedman, who I would turn to many times over the years for advice and guidance. Friedman's belief in the power of freedom was inspiring, and he felt the same way about giving people the choice to serve in the US military as he did about giving them a choice about their education. Other participants on the panel included Sen. Edward Kennedy, who favored continuing the draft.

Many arguments were offered to bolster both sides if the issue. Some contended that without the draft we would not be able to recruit enough troops. My view was that in every other activity in our society, in both the public & the private sector, we were able to attract and retain the personnel needed without resorting to compulsion. It was done simply by paying them a competitive market wage

Source: Known and Unknown, by Donald Rumsfeld, p.101 , Feb 8, 2011

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Page last updated: Mar 15, 2014