Current Events Economics - General

Nobel prize winner Milton Friedman dies at 94

Milton Friedman is one of the 20th century’s most renowned economists.  The International Herald Tribune has an informative obituary (“Milton Friedman…“) in yesterday’s paper.  Below are some selected excerpts from the article.

  • Friedman’s most famous book is Capitalism and Freedom.  One of the major tenets of the book is that “you have to have economic freedom in order to have political freedom.”
  • “One finding of the book [Income from Independent Professional Practice by Friedman and Kuznets] was that the American Medical Association exerted monopolistic pressure on the incomes of doctors; as a result, the authors said, patients were unable to reap the benefits of lower fees from any real price competition among doctors. The A.M.A., after obtaining a galley copy of the book, challenged that conclusion and forced the publisher to delay publication. But the authors did not budge. The book was eventually published, unchanged.”
  • In 1962, Mr. Friedman took on President John F. Kennedy’s popular inaugural exhortation: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” In an introduction to “Capitalism and Freedom,” a collection of his writings and lectures, he said President Kennedy had got it wrong: You should ask neither.

    “What your country can do for you,” Mr. Friedman said, implies that the government is the patron, the citizen the ward; and “what you can do for your country” assumes that the government is the master, the citizen the servant. Rather, he said, you should ask, “What I and my compatriots can do through government to help discharge our individual responsibilities, to achieve our several goals and purposes, and above all protect our freedom.”

There is also a more concise obituary on NPR’s Marketplace website.