Friday, November 17, 2006

Milton Friedman, R.I.P.

Milton Friedman: genius, advocate of free markets, friend of liberty and the great modern expositor of the ideas of Adam Smith, died yesteday in San Francisco, at age 94.
In an age where the nostrums of socialism, statism and government control dominated the academy, Professor Friedman went against the grain, arguing persuasively from the University of Chicago, in a flood of books and articles, that people were better at defending and advancing their own economic interests than governments. Apostle of classical liberalism: Dr. Friedman had real political influence too, both in America and elsewhere: in the 1970's, a group of his students and colleagues, the "Chicago Boys" persuaded Chilean President Augusto Pinochet to privatize and deregulate the Chilean economy, to that country's lasting gain and benefit.
Although a first-class academic economist (who probably better understood money supply abd fiscal policy issues than anybody in his generation), Professor Friedman had a gift for explaining extraordinarily complex economic concepts in terms laymen could understand. His book Capitalism and Freedom -- worth your time to read -- sold at least half-a-million copies (unusual, to say the least, for an economics tome). Chapter 3, which explains the history of money in America, and the role of the Federal Reserve in controlling the money supply -- is worth the price of the book.
Professor Friedman will be sorely missed. R.I.P.

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