Thursday, November 16, 2006

An economic giant falls

Economist Milton Friedman, the father of modern "conservative" economics died at age 94.

His life was one of incredible achievement. He was a professor at the Chicago School, author, television show host, advisor to Presidents, Prime Ministers and central banks around the world. He was the balance to the big government ideas of economist John Maynard Keynes, who believed that government was the key to economic growth.

Friedman believed in freedom and strong rules for monetary policy. His ideas seemed radical when he proposed them in the wake FDR's New Deal and Keynesian economics being the accepted model. Two of his ideas are now seen as accepted economic rules: you can not grow an economy through inflation and there is a certain level of unemployment that is normal and natural. When Friedman first espoused those theories, they were radical.

Also, Friedman was a big believer in freedom and the power of free market forces. He believed that the more that people could choose through the free market, the better their lives would be. That belief would be embraced by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.

Friedman was consistent in his idea about freedom. He was the against the military draft. He was for legalizing some drugs. He among the first to call for education vouchers.

Though Friedman won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1976 for his work on monetary policy, he was perhaps most effective by being the person who lifted the intellectual weight in what was, at the time, a battle against the tide of growing government.

Friedman understood humanity and its role in free markets perhaps better than anyone since Adam Smith. We need more minds like Friedman's.

No comments:

Post a Comment