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.