When I think of Milton Friedman

by on November 16, 2006 at 3:07 pm in Economics | Permalink

I'll offer some posts of this nature throughout the coming week...

When I think of Milton Friedman, I often think first of — oddly enough — his essay on a commodity reserve currency.  This not-quite-famous piece of 1951 does not bear on current policy debates, and it did not much influence the world.  The idea of backing a money with a commodity bundle wasn’t going to happen anyway.

But it shows one of the sides of Milton I most admire, namely his razor-sharp logic and his ability to get to the core of an idea and pick it apart.  It is a model of understanding and argumentation.  I read this piece and quake with fear that I might someday disagree with Milton and be disassembled in a quick debate, if the word debate could even be said to apply.

Milton’s critics sometimes portray him as a monetary dogmatist, but this was never the case.  The early Milton favored one hundred percent reserve banking, in part as a reaction against the bank failures and excesses of the Great Depression.  I read the commodity basket piece as breaking his ties to the commodity money idea, an old (and perhaps outdated?) piece of classical liberal thought.

The mid-period Milton favored a fixed rate of monetary growth.  The Milton Friedman of 1969 considered the idea of deflation — an "optimum quantity of money" — although it is not clear he ever endorsed that proposal.  The Milton Friedman of 1986 Friedman and Schwartz toyed with ideas of free banking.  The very late period Milton Friedman was moving toward the notion of an inflation rule, as monetary targeting had not worked.

Milton was always on a quest toward a greater truth.  If an argument ran against him — and usually it didn’t — he would submit and pick up the pieces in a purely forward-looking manner.

I think often of Milton’s essay on commodity reserve currency.

1 PrestoPundit November 16, 2006 at 3:42 pm

Friedman was moving from Chicago to Hayek with that commodity reserse piece, I’d suggest. Hayek wrote a piece on the same topic just a few years before.

2 drtaxsacto November 16, 2006 at 8:29 pm

Tyler- I hope you will offer some more thoughts. His effect on a lot of people was profound.

3 furer October 25, 2007 at 4:28 am
4 Kim June 11, 2008 at 10:36 am
5 cheap batteries November 1, 2008 at 4:04 am

http://www.batteryfast.com/toshiba/pa3369u-battery.php laptop battry for PA3369U-1BAS laptop battery,

6 jack December 3, 2008 at 10:30 pm

the most convenient and battery online shop in uk.

7 online game January 20, 2009 at 12:24 am

online games, online game, flash games, free online game,free online games, flash game

8 tiffans April 13, 2009 at 4:22 am
9 vural May 22, 2009 at 1:11 pm
10 midyat July 14, 2009 at 6:55 pm

TaºÄ±n ve gümüºün sanata dönüºtüÄŸü kent Midyat
Midyat Resimleri mutlaka gezip görülmesi gereken bir yer

11 sohbet July 23, 2009 at 7:13 am

Thank You.

12 cet September 14, 2009 at 9:13 pm

cet
bedava cet

thanks admin

13 gay chat November 4, 2009 at 9:42 am

thanks

14 gay sohbet November 8, 2009 at 4:28 pm

thanxx

15 maskem February 11, 2010 at 4:09 pm
16 maskem February 11, 2010 at 4:11 pm
17 paslanmaz çelik September 9, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Thank you very much

18 Johnny September 23, 2010 at 9:15 am

thank you for the nice posts

19 Reklam Ajansı December 26, 2010 at 10:00 am

Avesome sharing thank you very much.


Reklam Ajansı, Katalog Tasarımı

20 beetle turbocharger January 26, 2011 at 11:21 am

I don’t know what to say. This blog is fantastic. That’s not really a really huge statement, but it’s all I could come up with after reading this. You know so much about this subject. So much so that you made me want to learn more about it. Your blog is my stepping stone, my friend. Thanks for the heads up on this subject.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: