Saturday, November 18, 2006

Milton Friedman :1912-2006

Renowned economist and social scientist Milton Friedman died this week on Friday .A supporter of free market economics and the father of monetarism who popularized the term "there's no such thing as a free lunch", he was awarded the Nobel prize for economics in 1976 and his thinking greatly influenced former US president Ronald Reagan and ex-British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

The Independent reports “Over half a century, Mr Friedman, the son of Hungarian Jewish immigrants, established himself as arguably the most influential economic thinker of his time. Over that post-war period, "Friedmanism" - the belief that changes in money supply dictate fluctuations in the economy - supplanted Keynesianism as the dominant economic philosophy of the industrial world.

Friedman believed in the power of free markets, to the point where it sometimes seemed his only use for government was to regulate the flow of money. The consequence of Friedman's policies was to deepen social and economic inequality. Corporate CEOs could feel entitled to enormous pay packages if, in their view, the marketplace rather than a compliant board of directors, was responsible. Government was hard put to intervene on the side of those not so advantaged, because politicians who espoused the Friedman philosophy kept taxes low and skewed tax cuts in favor of the wealthy.

You can read his autobiography here on Nobel Prize org.

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