16 November, 2006

Milton Friedman RIP

Mises Economics Blog:
"Milton Friedman died today at age 94. May he rest in peace.

I don’t want to discuss the Reagan and Thatcher “revolutions” he supposedly inspired. Nor his “Free to Choose” series, his many years with the University of Chicago and the Hoover Institution, or his Nobel Prize in Economics. These will be covered, I expect, by others, and in great detail. Nor in this recollection do I want to touch upon his monetarism, his championing of school vouchers, the negative income tax, flexible exchange rates, anti trust laws, his opposition to the gold standard and to privatizing roads and oceans. Libertarians have long disagreed with him on these issues, and this is not the time to delve into such longstanding controversies.

Instead, I wish to focus on the positive, and to relate a few personal experiences I have had with him. I shall end with a joke that gives a taste of the kind of embattled professional life he led.

Here’s the positive. Milton was a beacon of light on issues such as the minimum wage law, free trade and rent control. This might not seem like much to radical libertarians, but, what with the Democrats recently seizing more power, and promising to impose wage levels on those who can least afford them, the unskilled poor, and with hundreds of economists signing a petition in support of this truly vicious and pernicious legislation, Milton’s valiant, witty, wise, eloquent and yes, I’ll say it, inspirational analysis on this issue must stand out as an example to us all."

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