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Of sound and unsound money

Robber Barons; then and now

I am happy to be the source of Samizdata's quote of the day, but my own choice today is from this 1970s lecture by Milton Friedman at the University of Utah; 
We had robber barons then and we have robber barons today. But there’s a big difference between the robber barons then and the robber barons today. The robber barons then primarily could get their money only if people freely gave it to them. They got their money by selling a service. And nobody had to buy it. And if people bought it it was because it was a better service than it was before. The robber barons today are in a large part able to get their money by sending a policeman to take it out of your pocket.
I commend Professor Friedman's speech to you. Even someone as opposed to current economic ideology as I am, still falls from time to time for some of its pervasive - and destructive - foundation myths.

h/t the ever-educational Café Hayek