1976 Nobel Prize winner in Economic Sciences
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  • FreedomPedia
  • Milton Friedman

    Milton Friedman (31 July 1912 – 16 November 2006) was an American economist who received the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his research on consumption analysis, monetary history and theory and the complexity of stabilization policy. With George Stigler and others, Friedman was among the intellectual leaders of the second generation of Chicago price theory, a methodological movement at the University of Chicago's Department of Economics, Law School and Graduate School of Business from the 1940s onward. Several students and young professors that were recruited or mentored by Friedman at Chicago went on to become leading economists; they include Gary Becker, Robert Fogel, Thomas Sowell and Robert Lucas Jr.


    Friedman, Milton (1912-2006), by Aaron Steelman, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "Milton Friedman was an American economist and leading representative of the Chicago School during the last half of the 20th century. Friedman received the Nobel Prize in 1976, having made significant contributions to several branches of economic theory, while also writing and speaking on public policy issues from a distinctly free-market perspective. His combination of technical acumen and policy advocacy made him one of the most influential economists and libertarians of his generation."
    Milton Friedman (1912-2006), The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics
    Includes list of selected works
    "Milton Friedman was the twentieth century's most prominent advocate of free markets. Born in 1912 to Jewish immigrants in New York City, he attended Rutgers University, where he earned his B.A. at the age of twenty. He went on to earn his M.A. from the University of Chicago in 1933 and his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1946. In 1951 Friedman received the John Bates Clark Medal honoring economists under age forty for outstanding achievement. In 1976 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics ..."


    Milton Friedman - The Advocates
    207x300 JPEG, color


    31 Jul 1912, in Brooklyn, New York City


    16 Nov 2006, in San Francisco, California


    Laissez Faire Books
    "It was F.A. Hayek who inspired Friedman to try influencing public policy for liberty, and he excelled as a popularizer. Nobody was a more effective champion of liberty in a debate. He was charming, he was quick, and he displayed an awesome command of the facts. He expressed his views through a Newsweek column which he wrote for 18 years. He produced op-eds for major newspapers, articles for major magazines, and he was interviewed by Playboy."
    Milton Friedman - Biographical: Nobelprize.org
    Autobiography, originally written in 1976 for the Nobel award, published in 1992 in Nobel Lectures in Economic Sciences: 1969-1980; selection is from a May 2005 addendum
    "... not long after we arrived in California, Bob Chitester persuaded us to join him in producing a major television program presenting my economic and social philosophy. The resulting effort, spread over three years, proved the most exciting adventure of our lives. The end result was Free to Choose, ten one-hour programs, each consisting of a half-hour documentary and a half-hour discussion."
    Milton Friedman | Hoover Institution
    "In addition to his scientific work, Friedman also wrote extensively on public policy, always with a primary emphasis on the preservation and extension of individual freedom. His most important books in this field are (with Rose D. Friedman) Capitalism and Freedom ... ; Bright Promises, Dismal Performance ... which consists mostly of reprints of columns he wrote for Newsweek from 1966 to 1983; (with Rose D. Friedman) Free to Choose ..., and (with Rose D. Friedman) Tyranny of the Status Quo ..."

    Awards Received

    1976 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, granted by The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences
    Includes autobiography, prize lecture and banquet speech
    Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty, granted by Cato Institute
    Biennial award given by the Cato Institute, in honor of Milton Friedman, to an individual who has made a significant contribution to advance human freedom.


    EdChoice, Founder
    Hoover Institution, Senior Research Fellow
    Mont Pelerin Society, President, 1970-72

    Web Pages

    Milton Friedman - Libertarianism.org
    Short profile and links to essays, columns and other resources about Friedman
    "Economist Milton Friedman, recipient of the 1976 Nobel Prize for Economic Science, was one of the most recognizable and influential proponents of liberty and markets in the 20th century, and leader of the Chicago School of economics."
    Milton Friedman - Online Library of Liberty
    Includes picture, short profile and links to some podcasts about Friedman and some of his writings
    "Milton Friedman (1912-2007) is the author of many books and articles in economics, including A Theory of the Consumption Function, The Optimum Quantity of Money and Other Essays, and (with A. J. Schwartz) A Monetary History of the United States, Monetary Statistics of the United States, and Monetary Trends in the United States and the United Kingdom. Friedman has also written extensively on public policy, always with a primary emphasis on the preservation and extension of individual freedom."
    Milton Friedman - The Advocates
    Biography, picture and quotes
    "Milton Friedman was not just one of the world's most distinguished economists -- he may have also been America's most famous and influential libertarian. Writing in Liberty magazine (February 2007), Bruce Ramsey made the argument that 'Milton Friedman was not just a figure in the libertarian movement. He was, to Americans generally, a figure emblematic of freedom.'"


    Milton Friedman at IDEAS
    RePEc (Research Papers in Economics): 15 books, 102 book chapters, 77 articles, 2 working papers and 9 reading lists


    35 Heroes of Freedom: Celebrating the people who have made the world groovier and groovier since 1968, by Reason, Reason, Dec 2003
    List of individuals who, according to Reason editors, have "have made the world a freer, better, and more libertarian place by example, invention, or action" (includes the unknown martyr of Tiananmen Square and a generic "The Yuppie")
    "The 91-year-old Nobel Prize-winning economist didn't just co-author Free to Choose, the book that pumped up Arnold Schwarzenegger's mind. He's brought libertarian ideas both to a mass audience and to the elite ranks of policy makers, helped to end the draft and discredit wage and price controls, popularized the privatization of schooling and pensions, and made criticism of the war on drugs respectable."
    Milton and Rose Friedman: Capitalism's Greatest Living Champions: Eight ways you can learn from their success, by Jim Powell, Jul 1992
    Written on occasion of Milton Friedman's 80th birthday; discusses eight techniques used by the Friedmans to reach and persuade others with their message of freedom and free markets
    "More than anyone else, Milton and Rose Friedman took a compelling case for free markets to the world. Ayn Rand has sold more books, but the Friedmans reached millions who probably never read a good book about freedom--through countless lectures, TV appearances and, of course, their Free to Choose TV series. ... Smuggled versions of their work helped keep the torch of liberty burning in brutal police states."
    Milton Friedman (1912-2006), by Richard Ebeling, Sheldon Richman, 17 Nov 2006
    Memorial tribute, highlighting Friedman's role in opposing Keynesianism, and his books and other public activities
    "At a time when popular writing that went against the collectivist grain had few mass outlets, Friedman managed to reach a wide audience with his clear and good natured-style. He accomplished this through many books, a long-running Newsweek column, and his 1980 television series, 'Free to Choose,' based on his bestselling book of the same title. "
    Milton Friedman, 1912-2006, by Hans Sennholz, 7 Dec 2006
    Memorial essay, but critical of professor Friedman's advocacy of monetary policies which would leave money issuance in hands of the government
    "Few American economists have wielded as much influence on economic thought and policy as the late Milton Friedman. He was an articulate and ardent advocate of free markets and personal liberty. In 1962, his Capitalism and Freedom, which continues to be in print with nearly one million copies sold, pointed the way not only to economic but also political freedom."
    Related Topic: Gold Standard
    Milton Friedman at 90, by Thomas Sowell, 29 Jul 2002
    Recounts some of Sowell's experiences as Friedman's student and later as friend and admirer
    "To those of us who were privileged to be his students, he also stands out as a great teacher. ... Yet no one did more to dismantle both Keynesian economics and liberal welfare-state thinking. ... Milton Friedman not only excelled in the scholarly journals but also on the television screen, presenting the basics of economics in a way that the general public could understand."
    Related Topic: Friedrich Hayek
    Milton Friedman RIP, by Walter Block, Mises Daily, 16 Nov 2006
    In memoriam, including several personal recollections
    "I was amazed and delighted at his pugnaciousness in defense of liberty. He would engage seemingly everyone in debate on libertarian issues: waitresses, cameramen, the person placing the microphone on his lapel. He was tireless, humorous, enthusiastic. ... Once, at a Mont Pelerin Meeting, there was a panel discussion ... I remember coming away from that event with the thought that 'Milton Friedman is an intellectual tiger,' so overwhelming was he in that discussion."
    Milton Friedman, R.I.P., by Jacob Hornberger, 17 Nov 2006
    In memoriam, relates three personal interactions with Friedman
    "At an evening outdoor barbecue, I just happened to bump into Friedman and introduced myself. He spent the next 20 minutes or so talking with me as if he and I were equals. In fact, if I hadn't known differently, I would have never known he was a Nobel Prize winning economist or even that he was a major intellectual force in the world of economics. He displayed absolutely no pretentiousness whatsoever ..."
    Monetary Central Planning and the State, Part 24: Milton Friedman's Framework for Economic Stability, by Richard Ebeling, Future of Freedom, Dec 1998
    Describes Friedman's criticisms of Keynesian policies and examines Friedman's own proposals for government intervention in the economy
    "In the post-World War II period in the United States, there have been few voices as important for the defense of the free market as that of Milton Friedman. In his 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom, he forcefully challenged the trend towards increasing government control over economic life. ... Whether it was his intention or not, Friedman's proposed 'monetary and fiscal framework for economic stability' legitimated the Keynesian arguments for government intervention in the market economy."
    Monetary Central Planning and the State, Part 25: Milton Friedman and the Demand for Money, by Richard Ebeling, Future of Freedom, Jan 1999
    Examines the role of money according to Keynesians and then contrasts it with Friedman's monetary theories
    "The most thoroughgoing criticism of this Keynesian conception in the decade after the Second World War was made by Milton Friedman. In 1956, Friedman edited a collection of essays entitled Studies in the Quantity Theory of Money, for which he wrote the introductory essay, entitled 'The Quantity Theory of Money – A Restatement.'"
    Monetary Central Planning and the State, Part 26: Milton Friedman and the Monetary "Rule" for Economic Stability, by Richard Ebeling, Future of Freedom, Feb 1999
    Examines Friedman's arguments in a 1967 AEA speech and his defense of a paper money standard in the 1960 book A Program for Monetary Stability
    "Friedman emphasized what he believed an active monetary policy could not succeed in permanently doing. First, monetary policy could not permanently lower interest rates below the level that the market forces of supply and demand would tend to establish. ... Second, ... monetary policy could not permanently push unemployment below a market-determined 'natural rate.'"
    Monetary Central Planning and the State, Part 27: Milton Friedman's Second Thoughts on the Costs of Paper Money, by Richard Ebeling, Future of Freedom, Mar 1999
    Discusses how Friedman changed his mind about the advisability of a paper money standard
    "The costs of a paper money standard to the society as a whole, Friedman argued, arose precisely from the uncertainty of future monetary policy under government monetary discretion and the inflationary bias that always tended to persist under government control of paper money. During inflationary times, people often tied up real resources that otherwise could have been applied for productive activities in the accumulation of gold and silver hoards as a hedge against rising prices."
    Money and Banking, by Lawrence H. White, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Discusses some of the issues regarding money, whether state- or privately issued, and banking, including central banks, such as the Federal Reserve, fractional reserve banking and free (fully unregulated) banking
    "The well-known monetary historian and free-market economist Milton Friedman had argued early in his career that negative external effects associated with free banking justified a state monopoly of coin and paper currency. ... Later in his career, Friedman reconsidered and endorsed competitive note issue in light of new findings by Hugh Rockoff and others that bad results under so-called free banking in the United States were due to poorly conceived regulations, whereas a relatively free market in other countries showed good results."
    Mont Pelerin: 1947-1978, The Road to Libertarianism, by Ralph Raico, Libertarian Review, Dec 1979
    Reviews the presentations and discussions at the 1978 meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society, with an overview of the Society's history and particularly the 1958 meeting which had similar themes
    "Friedman said that he was tired of trying to define money, that he believed government intervention in money was inevitable, and that therefore, the proper role of an economist was to advocate sensible interventions. He was enthusiastic about the tax-revolt in the United States, and advocated a constitutional amendment which would establish the rules that the monetary authority should follow. Friedman insisted that 'We are doomed' if we believe that de-statizing money is the only answer."
    Party makes bid for Silicon Valley support, Libertarian Party News, Jan 1999
    Describes the visit by LP leaders and other libertarians to a Cato Institute conference in Silicon Valley
    "The conference attracted a flock of high-tech executives, research professionals, politicians, and authors -- including ... Milton Friedman (Nobel-prize-winning free-market economist) ... Many of Fylstra's themes were echoed by Nobel-laureate Milton Friedman, who warned in his speech about 'the suicidal impulse of business' and its proclivity to cozy up to the political establishment."
    Speaking of Inflation, by Stu Pritchard, Future of Freedom, Jan 2006
    Discusses the common misunderstanding of inflation as rising prices as opposed to the monetary phenomenon
    "About 25 years ago, Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman hosted a weekly series on TV titled Free to Choose. In one segment he asked, 'How can inflation be stopped?' Then, with money printing presses shown churning out paper money, he punched the stop button. 'That's how,' he said with emphasis."
    Related Topic: Inflation
    Thank You, Milton Friedman, by Sheldon Richman, 20 Nov 2006
    In memoriam highlighting the many contributions of Milton Friedman
    "... he opposed discretionary power, understanding that politicians and bureaucrats could never know enough to run an economy. He also understood that inflation was purely a government creation. ... Friedman was an indispensable part of the effort to end the military draft in the 1970s. At the height of the Vietnam War, when the government was forcing young men to fight, kill, and die thousands of miles from home ..., Friedman put his prestige on the line and demanded that conscription be stopped."
    The Early History of FEE, by Henry Hazlitt, The Freeman, Mar 1984
    Excerpted from Hazlitt's remarks at the Leonard E. Read Memorial Conference on Freedom, November 1983
    "A month later [September 1946] came a 22-page pamphlet called Roofs or Ceilings?, an attack on rent control, sent in by two young fellows from the University of Chicago, Milton Friedman and George J. Stigler, both destined to become future recipients of the Nobel prize in economics. FEE distributed 36,000 of these, plus a special condensed version of 500,000 copies for the National Association of Real Estate Boards."
    The Power of Persuasion, by Jeff Riggenbach, Mises Daily, 20 May 2011
    Historical account of the Persuasion magazine, edited by Joan Kennedy Taylor between Sept 1964 and May 1968
    "Milton Friedman never went quite that far. But he did tell the New York Times Magazine for May 14, 1967, that in a time of 'total war,' if military and civilian authorities decreed that 'there would be time and reason to expand the armed forces manifold, either universal military training to provide a trained reserve force, or stand-by provisions for conscription could be justified.'"
    The War On Drugs Is Lost, by William F. Buckley Jr., Steven B. Duke, Joseph D. McNamara, Ethan A. Nadelmann, Kurt Schmoke, Robert W. Sweet, Thomas Szasz, National Review, 12 Feb 1996
    Symposium with essays from William F. Buckley Jr., drug policy researcher Ethan A. Nadelmann, Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, former chief of police Joseph D. McNamara, judge Robert W. Sweet, psychiatrist Thomas Szasz and law professor Steven B. Duke
    "Under the circumstances, I said, it can reasonably be held that drug-taking is a contagious disease and, accordingly, subject to the conventional restrictions employed to shield the innocent from Typhoid Mary. Some sport was made of my position by libertarians, including Professor Milton Friedman, who asked whether the police might legitimately be summoned if it were established that keeping company with me was a contagious activity."


    An Open Letter to Bill Bennett, The Wall Street Journal, 7 Sep 1989
    Addressed to then Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and beseeching him and President George H. W. Bush to discontinue their efforts to fight drugs
    "Illegality creates obscene profits that finance the murderous tactics of the drug lords; ... illegality monopolizes the efforts of honest law forces so that they are starved for resources to fight the simpler crimes of robbery, theft and assault. Drugs are a tragedy for addicts. But criminalizing their use converts that tragedy into a disaster for society, for users and non-users alike. Our experience with the prohibition of drugs is a replay of our experience with the prohibition of alcoholic beverages."
    Related Topic: War on Drugs
    I, Pencil, by Milton Friedman (afterword), Leonard Read, Lawrence Reed (introduction), The Freeman, Dec 1958
    Read's most famous essay; resource page at FEE website includes PDF, MOBI and ePub versions, and MP3 recording
    "We used Leonard's story in our television show, 'Free to Choose,' and in the accompanying book of the same title to illustrate 'the power of the market' (the title of both the first segment of the TV show and of chapter one of the book). ... 'I, Pencil' is a typical Leonard Read product: imaginative, simple yet subtle, breathing the love of freedom that imbued everything Leonard wrote or did. As in the rest of his work, he was not trying to tell people what to do or how to conduct themselves. He was simply trying to enhance individuals’ understanding of themselves and of the system they live in."
    The Case for Free Trade, by Milton Friedman, Rose D. Friedman, Hoover Digest, 30 Oct 1997
    Discusses various arguments made about tariffs, protectionism and foreign exchange intervention, concluding with advocating completely free trade
    "Ever since Adam Smith there has been virtual unanimity among economists, whatever their ideological position on other issues, that international free trade is in the best interests of trading countries and of the world. Yet tariffs have been the rule. The only major exceptions are nearly a century of free trade in Great Britain after the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846, thirty years of free trade in Japan after the Meiji Restoration, and free trade in Hong Kong under British rule."
    Related Topics: Free Trade, Prices
    The Drug War as a Socialist Enterprise, 16 Nov 1991
    From keynote address at Fifth International Conference on Drug Policy Reform; examines why, 20 years after Friedman's admonition against Nixon's drug war, the government continues its attempts at enforcement, in spite of the observable, predicted results
    "First, most literature that I have read on drugs takes it for granted that the drug problem is a special case to be discussed in terrns of specific issues associated with drugs--the substances involved and so on rather than a special instance of a more general phenomenon. ... The people who wrote the law on drugs did not intend to kill hundreds of thousands of people in the process. They did not intend to have a system under which prisons and prisoners would grow like Topsy."


    Best of Both Worlds: Milton Friedman reminisces about his career as an economist and his lifetime "avocation" as a spokesman for freedom, by Milton Friedman, Brian Doherty, Reason, Jun 1995
    Topics discussed include: the new Congress, flat taxes, the withholding tax, the people who influenced him, what led him to write about policy issues, libertarianism and how his political views have changed over the years
    "Throughout my career, I spent most of my time on technical economics. This policy stuff has been a strict avocation. If you really want to engage in policy activity, don't make that your vocation. Make it your avocation. Get a job. Get a secure base of income. Otherwise, you're going to get corrupted and destroyed. ... by having a good firm position in the academic world, I was perfectly free to be my own person in the world of policy. I didn't have to worry about losing my job. I didn't have to worry about being persecuted."


    The Essence of Friedman
        by Kurt R. Leube (editor), 1987
    A collections of essays from different books by Friedman, foreword by W. Glenn Campbell (director, Hoover Institution); introduction by Anna J. Schwartz

    Books Authored

    A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960, 1963
    Partial contents: The Greenback Period - Silver Politics and the Secular Decline in Prices, 1879-97 - Gold Inflation and Banking Reform, 1897-1914 - Early Years of the Federal Reserve System, 1914-21 - The High Tide of the Reserve System, 1921-29
    Capitalism and Freedom, 1962
    Partial contents: The Relation Between Economic Freedom and Political Freedom - The Role of Government in a Free Society - The Control of Money - International Financial and Trade Arrangements - Fiscal Policy - The Role of Government in Education
    Related Topic: Capitalism
    • ISBN 0786100494: Audio cassette, Blackstone Audiobooks, 1993
    • ISBN 0226264203: Hardcover, University Of Chicago Press, 40th anniv edition, 2002
    • ISBN 0226264017: Paperback, University Of Chicago Press, 2nd edition, 1982
    • ISBN 0226264211: Paperback, University Of Chicago Press, 40th anniv edition, 2002
    Free to Choose: A Personal Statement
        by Milton Friedman, Rose D. Friedman (Contributor), 1979
    Contents: The Power of the Market - The Tyranny of Controls - The Anatomy of Crisis - Cradle to Grave - Created Equal - What's Wrong with Our Schools? - Who Protects the Consumer? - Who Protects the Worker? - Cure for Inflation - The Tide is Turning
    Related Topic: Individual Liberty
    Friedman and Szasz on Liberty and Drugs: Essays on the Free Market and Prohibition
        by Milton Friedman, Thomas Szasz, 1992
    Includes excerpts from Free to Choose: A Personal Statement and The Tyranny of the Status Quo by Milton Friedman and Ceremonial Chemistry: The Ritual Persecution of Drugs, Addicts, and Pushers by Thomas Szasz
    Related Topic: War on Drugs
    I, Pencil: My Family Tree as told to Leonard E. Read, by Donald J. Boudreaux (afterword), Milton Friedman (introduction), Leonard Read, Foundation for Economic Education (publisher), 1999
    Read's most famous essay, in pamphlet form; electronic version at the Library of Economics and Liberty
    "Leonard Read's delightful story, 'I, Pencil,' has become a classic, and deservedly so. I know of no other piece of literature that so succinctly, persuasively, and effectively illustrates the meaning of both Adam Smith's invisible hand—the possibility of cooperation without coercion—and Friedrich Hayek's emphasis on the importance of dispersed knowledge and the role of the price system in communicating information that 'will make the individuals do the desirable things without anyone having to tell them what to do.'"


    Leonard Liggio on the Rise of the Modern American Libertarian Movement, by Jacob Hornberger, Leonard Liggio, 9 Mar 1995
    Talk given at Vienna Coffee Club (Future of Freedom Foundation). Liggio starts off with the New Deal and covers many events and individuals both at the core and the periphery of the modern libertarian movement
    Schools of Thought in Classical Liberalism, Part 2: Milton Friedman and the Chicago School, by Nigel Ashford, 9 May 2012
    Short video, with transcript; discusses the answers to the question "What is the proper role of government?" from the viewpoint of Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of economics
    "Milton Friedman, of course, the famous former president of the American Economic Association, Nobel Prize winner, wrote best-selling books, Capitalism and Freedom and Free to Choose, the latter of which was turned into a popular television series. ... So Friedman is very clear, these are the four areas that government should be active in or necessary to carry out. ... Friedman believes that ... governments have these responsibilities, but as far as possible, they should use market mechanisms to achieve these ends."


    Free to Choose: The Updated and Revised Television Series, 1990
    Recordings of television programs, originally broadcast in 1980 on PBS; participants included David Brooks, James Galbraith, Gary Becker, Thomas Sowell, Michael Kinsley, Gordon Tullock, and Samuel Bowles; with new introductions by Ronal Reagan and others
    Related Topic: Individual Liberty

    Rose and Milton Friedman on Mont Pelerin Society, by Milton Friedman, Rose D. Friedman, 15 Oct 2002
    The Friedmans are interviewed at the time of the 2002 Mont Pelerin meeting in London which they were unable to attend; Milton reminisces about the first meeting and discusses the changes in the political and economic environment since its founding
    Related Topic: Mont Pelerin Society

    Take It To The Limits: Milton Friedman on Libertarianism, Uncommon Knowledge, 10 Feb 1999
    Friedman discusses with Peter Robinson about what is libertarianism, which government functions are legitimate and how libertarians look at issues of public safety, protecting the environment and the right size of government itself
    Related Topic: Libertarianism

    The Economy's New Clothes: Milton Friedman on the New Economy, Uncommon Knowledge, 10 Mar 2000
    Friedman discusses with Peter Robinson about the so-called "New Economy" of the late 1990's, comparing it to the economy of the Roaring Twenties that preceded the Great Depression

    The High and the Mighty: The War on Drugs, Uncommon Knowledge, 2000
    A debate between Milton Friedman and Peter Wilson, former governor of California, about drug prohibition
    Related Topic: War on Drugs

    The Power of the Market, 1980
    Volume 1 of the PBS "Free to Choose" series. "Friedman explains how markets and voluntary exchange organize activity and enable people to improve their lives. He also explains the price system. Friedman visits Hong Kong, U.S. and Scotland."
    Related Topic: Free Market

    The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Milton Friedman" as of 19 Jul 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.