We were planning to do a big piece on Milton Friedman today. And really, we tried. But, as the Sage of Dagobah says, “There is no try. There is only do and do not.” Today we fell squarely on the “do not” side of the line. Really, we’re probably just too emotional to handle the obituary round-up right now.
So instead we bring you the Milton Friedman Chorus (courtesy of Eddy Elfenbein)
From the Wall Street Journal:
Nobel prize winner Milton Friedman, one of the most influential economists of the last century, died today. He was 94.
Mr. Friedman’s death was also announced at a conference of the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington by the institute’s vice president of academic affairs, James A. Dorn. The audience of academics and policy makers observed several moments of silence in observance.
Mr. Friedman was awarded the Nobel prize in 1976. He has long championed the cause of political and economic freedom and the links between the two. He has originated, or been associated with, many breakthroughs in economics since the 1950s. He is best known for explaining the role of the money supply in economic and inflation fluctuations. He also, with this year’s Nobel prize winner Edmund Phelps, developed the theory in the 1960s that policy makers couldn’t achieve a permanent tradeoff between lower unemployment and higher inflation, and that efforts to do so would simply result in the same unemployment rate and higher inflation, a view that holds sway at major central banks today, including the Fed.
Mr. Friedman also exercised extraordinary influence not just through his academic work but through his advice to politicians and his many popular books, such as Capitalism and Freedom in 1962 and Free to Choose, with Rose Friedman, in 1990, which was made into a television series.
Mr. Friedman had enormous impact on economic policy though he never had a formal job in a government administration after World War Two. His opposition helped lead to the end of the draft. He was an adviser to President Ronald Reagan. He has been closely associated with school vouchers and other applications of free market principles to policy issues.
Mr. Friedman died of heart failure after being taken to hospital near his home in San Francisco, his daughter, Janet Martell, said today. His wife Rose Friedman, who co-authored many of his books, survives him.
Influential Economist Friedman Dies at 94 [Wall Street Journal]