More on Professor Friedman

Friedman Promoted Peace, Championed Free Market:
Amity Shlaes

They note how the great economist invented modern monetarism and vanquished orthodox Keynesianism with a single phrase: “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.” He also inspired former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker to push interest rates to the sky to stop inflation, an event whose benefits we still see in the shape of the yield curve today.

Yet there is something Friedman did that is less talked about: He showed us how free markets can be humane.

Death of the Master
Bruce Bartlett
Real Clear Politics

Friedman’s most influential publication was the slender volume, “Capitalism and Freedom,” based on lectures given in 1956 but not published until 1962. In that book, he put forward one of the most powerful cases for the free market ever written. Its greatest virtues were the clarity and vigor of Friedman’s exposition. It had enormous impact in making free market economics respectable once again, after being falsely blamed for the Great Depression. In his “Monetary History of the United States,” Friedman put principal blame for that disaster on the Federal Reserve, which allowed the money stock to shrink by one third, bringing on a massive deflation.

Friedman and Freedom
The man who made free markets popular again.

WSJ Editorial

On the death of Ronald Reagan, whom he advised, Mr. Friedman wrote on these pages that “few people in human history have contributed more to the achievement of human freedom.” The same can and long will be said of Milton Friedman.

The World Turner
David Boaz
Real Clear Politics

Friedman was the intellectual father of the all-volunteer army — in particular, he persuaded a young congressman, Donald Rumsfeld, to become a leader in the successful effort to end the draft — and has also been an outspoken opponent of the war on drugs, which violates individual rights and fosters crime and corruption.

Millions of people around the world who live in freedom give thanks for the life and accomplishments of the man who said, “My central theme in public advocacy has been the promotion of human freedom.”

: 12:25PM 18-Nov-2006

Freedom Man
Milton Friedman had both genius and common sense.
Thomas Sowell

Ironically, Friedman began his career as a believer in both Keynesian economics and in the liberals’ vision of the world with which it was so compatible. Yet, in the end, no one did more to dethrone both. It is doubtful whether Ronald Reagan could have been elected president in 1980 without the changes in public opinion produced by Friedman’s work in the previous decades.

The Keynesians’ belief that government policy could wisely make trade-offs between rates of inflation and rates of unemployment was epitomized in the Phillips Curve, which seemed to lend empirical support to that belief. Friedman dealt that analysis a body blow when he argued that it was not the rate of inflation which reduced unemployment but the fact that inflation exceeded expectations.

In other words, even a high rate of inflation would not reduce unemployment if inflationary policies became so common as to be expected. The “stagflation” of the 1970s–with simultaneous double-digit inflation and double-digit unemployment–validated what Friedman had said, in a way that no one could ignore.

Milton Friedman, A Modern Galileo
Michael Strong
Real Clear Politics

Friedman was not alone in keeping the idea of free markets alive, but he was the only figure who combined rigorous academic evidence of the workings of markets with passionate public statements on the importance of freedom for all. Without Friedman, we might have had much of the work of the Chicago school of economics lost in academic economics journals, with a few Randians and Austrians defending markets in public but without the clear connection to a growing body of empirical evidence. No other individual combined Friedman’s credibility based on scientific rigor with a powerful, heartfelt personal touch exemplified by sustained, patient, imaginative, and good-humored public advocacy of unpopular ideas. As a result, Friedman was single-handedly responsible for advancing the cause of liberty more than any other individual in the 20th century.