Milton Friedman would have been 100 today

And he remains very much needed.


I cant help wonder what policy Milton Friedman would believe in if he was alive today. Would he be in favor of cutting interest on reserves and pursuing NGDP targeting or rather keep things stable.

Good question Ajay. Friedman was a truly brilliant economist. He was perhaps the greatest ever at having insight into understanding the money supply.

So it is especially discouraging that he died at the very peak of the housing bubble without seeming to have even a glimmer of understanding of how much the shadow banking system had inflated the money supply to finance the bubble.

No, no, no, he's not needed. The guy is to much liberal an economist. What's the meaning with his support of monetary policy, especially in a crisis or a depression? That's a purely devil plan for inflation. The Fed should be dissolved if they couldn't tighten the money as hard as possible. Our sacred dollar should hold its value against any precious metal on the earth. That's just natural and right. Friedman, you may not be alive but you've moved too much to the left to be considered being needed.


Would you please clarify if your comment is meant to be a sarcastic satire or this is really what you think? I confess that I cannot tell.

Friedman actually said near the end of his life that the Federal Reserve should be abolished, and he had been mistaken previously about the necessity of having a central bank. He also wrote explicitly in "Free to Choose" that the Great Depression would not have occurred if the Federal Reserve had not been created, so if anybody claims he was merely engaging in a rhetorical "trick" about government causing the G.D they are mistaken.

If there is a market for Milton Friedman, why is he not here?

Diese Bemerkund ist so dämlich, dass sich eine Übersetzung der Antwort nicht aufdrängt...

Andreas wins the thread!

Here, here. I miss his voice. His thoughts made me reconsider my viewpoint. He is laudable for his intellectual honesty and bravery.

Since the global economic scenario is very gloomy, it would have been interesting if Tyler explained in detail in what sense Friedman is needed today. It is easy to see why Marx and Keynes are needed. But Friedman ?

His skill set is just so rare. If you tried to measure economists in three dimensions, eloquence in explaining their ideas to a lay audience, technical knowledge of economics, and a person with uncompromising moral principles Friedman would be in a class by himself.

Absolutely! We needed someone of his conservative stature to stand up for Keynes!


I would not trust Wapshott on Friedman.

The politicians who have cited Milton Friedman as their economic authorities have:
- increased the number of prisoners held for decades for pursuing economic free enterprise
- increased Federal budget deficits and exploded the Federal debt in peace time
- legalized financial fraud to an astounding degree to benefit a small number of rent seekers
- justified pump and dump asset inflation based on the theory market prices have zero connection to construction costs
Friedman certainly didn't support, much less advocate these policies, but he somehow convinced himself that his ideal public policy would be advanced by his tacit support of the politicians who actively implement policies contrary to his ideal.

Many of those people go to church and say they believe in Jesus Christ, what's your point?

If he were still alive he might point out these facts, thus negating their intellectual cover. If only Arthur Laffer would do the same.

My small tribute to Milton.

I do not think America or the world would have faced the kind of crisis it did if Milton Friedman was simply alive now. That a political theorist Krugman is alive and a real Economist who truely cared for the poor - Friedman is dead is also one of the reasons this crisis seems to be a never ending one.

Indeed if there is anything that we can learn from his 100th birthday is that some Human beings do really matter and make a huge difference to our lives.

Thank you Milton Friedman.


I do not think America or the world would have faced the kind of crisis it did if Milton Friedman was simply alive now.

I respect Friedman and loved his books and ideas; but you are overestimating the impact any one person can have on the world. It'd have been great had he lived longer but I doubt either him or Krugman could've changed the trajectory of this crisis in any significant manner.

That is because you underestimate the impact made by the really smart human beings. Paul Krugman by his one sided ranting about inequality day in day out 5 times a day year after year has created a mini army of half brained frustrated liberals who then go onto inspire a similar breed of species around them. It is not an accident that there was a OWS movement. If there was a more honest, friendly Economist in the public space who could communicate with the people at the level of a Friedman He would have countered the Krugmanian breed much more easily. You do not think every Economist under Obama would have run to Friedman first for his advice on the problem ?

After all Krugman's main problem with America seems to be inequality and how everyone else is just an idiot or greedy or evil. But he tricks his audience by showing them only what proves his point. For every single graph he has used to create his army of frustrated liberals there are 10 graphs which can challenge his point's validity.

After one of the only OECD country which drastically reduced its inequality was Greece. Did you ever see that being mentioned in any one of Krugman's 2000 posts a year ?

Harry Potter is/was/will be (???) 32 today.

As K mentions, not just for his ideas about monetary policy. One of my academic colleagues was an undergrad at Oberlin in the late 1960s when Friedman visited campus. My colleague, much more to left then than now, was blown away by Friedman's civility, willingness to listen, and genuine concern for problems like education, poverty and racism.

my favorite Milton Friedman talk: the pencil

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