Thursday, November 16, 2006

Milton Friedman

From the AP:
Economist Milton Friedman dies at 94

SAN FRANCISCO - Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who advocated an unfettered free market and had the ear of three U.S. presidents, died Thursday at age 94. Friedman died in San Francisco, said Robert Fanger, a spokesman for the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation in Indianapolis. He did not know the cause of death.

"Milton's passion for freedom and liberty has influenced more lives than he ever could possibly know," said Gordon St. Angelo, the foundation's president and CEO, said in a statement. "His writings and ideas have transformed the minds of U.S. presidents, world leaders, entrepreneurs and freshmen economic majors alike."

In more than a dozen books, a column in Newsweek magazine and a TV show on PBS, Friedman championed individual freedom in economics and politics. The longtime University of Chicago professor pioneered a school of thought that became known as the Chicago school of economics.

His theory of monetarism, adopted in part by the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations, opposed the traditional Keynesian economics that had dominated U.S. policy since the New Deal. He was a member of Reagan's Economic Policy Advisory Board.

His work in consumption analysis, monetary history and stabilization policy earned him the Nobel Prize in economics in 1976.
Whether they agree or disagree with Friedman's economic prescriptions, I think that nearly every economist in the world would acknowledge that he was a giant in the field. Friedman's own work - as well as the voluminous work done as a direct reaction to his work - played a huge role in shaping the field of economics, and in changing our understanding of the powers and limitations of economic policy-making.

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