Milton Friedman dies at 94

Economist Milton Friedman died today in San Francisco. Friedman was not just a Nobel Prize winning economist, he was a celebrity. He wrote for Newsweek and the New York Times Magazine and was interviewed by Playboy. In 1980 he and his wife Rose produced a television series for PBS — Free to Choose.

Few economists have commanded such respect and attracted such hostility as Friedman. Strongly associated with the ‘neoliberal’ policies of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, Friedman’s work is often condemned as justification of policies that promote inequality and reduce support to the disadvantaged. Asked about some of the abuse he endured, Friedman said:

Well, I wouldn’t call it abuse, really. I enjoyed it. The only thing I would call abuse was in connection with the Chilean episode, when Allende was thrown out in Chile, and a new government came in that was headed by Pinochet.

You can listen to Friedman speak in his own words. The Online Library of Liberty has an MP3 version of an interview by Gary Becker here.

YouTube has video of the TV series Free to Choose 1990. Watch Arnold Schwarzenegger’s introduction here.

Andrew Norton, Andrew Leigh, Rafe Champion and Jason Soon have more.

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Nicholas Gruen
17 years ago

In (I think) 1974 Milton Friedman toured Australia preaching his gospel and Junie Morosi was overheard in the corridors of (the old) Parliament House saying “Who is this Milton Friedman and what have we got on him?”

Jason Soon
17 years ago

amusing picture of Friedman standing next to Stigler

Bring Back the Curre
Bring Back the Curre
17 years ago

I think it was in 1975 and I remember him being interviewed by three economists of whom one, a young Barry Hughes, had any idea.

Jason Soon
17 years ago

here’s the Radical Libertarian take from

Milton Friedman died today at age 94. May he rest in peace.

I don’t want to discuss the Reagan and Thatcher “revolutions” he supposedly inspired. Nor his “Free to Choose” series, his many years with the University of Chicago and the Hoover Institution, or his Nobel Prize in Economics. These will be covered, I expect, by others, and in great detail. Nor in this recollection do I want to touch upon his monetarism, his championing of school vouchers, the negative income tax, flexible exchange rates, anti-trust laws, his opposition to the gold standard and to privatizing roads and oceans. Libertarians have long disagreed with him on these issues, and this is not the time to delve into such longstanding controversies.

Instead, I wish to focus on the positive, and to relate a few personal experiences I have had with him.