Friedman, Milton

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Friedman, Milton

Milton Friedman (frēd´mən), 1912–2006, American economist, b. New York City, Ph.D. Columbia, 1946. Friedman was influential in helping to revive the monetarist school of economic thought (see monetarism). He was a staff member at the National Bureau of Economic Research (1937–46, 1948–81) and an economics professor at the Univ. of Chicago (1946–82). Much of Friedman's early work is notable for its arguments against government economic controls. His writings dismissed Keynesian theories on consumption, price theory, inflation, distribution, and the money supply (see Keynes, John Maynard). His most famous empirical work is A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960, coauthored with Anna J. Schwartz (1963). The book charts the relationship between general price levels and economic cycles and the government's manipulation of the money supply. Friedman also predicted that the spending associated with government programs would interact with the "natural rate of unemployment" to result in the stagflation of the 1970s. Friedman was a prolific author; his other works included Capitalism and Freedom (1964, rev. ed. 1981), Politics and Tyranny (1985), and Monetarist Economics (1991). With his wife, Rose (1910?–2009), a Univ. of Chicago–educated free-market economist, he wrote Free to Choose (1981), The Tyranny of the Status Quo (1984), and the dual memoir Two Lucky People (1998). In 1976 he won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. He was an adviser to the Reagan administration in the 1980s, and also was a columnist for Newsweek (1966–84) and a frequent television commentator.

See biography by A. Hirsch and N. De Marchi (1990).

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