- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 16, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who advocated an unfettered free market and had the ear of three U.S. presidents, died yesterday at 94.

Mr. Friedman died in San Francisco, said Robert Fanger, a spokesman for the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation in Indianapolis. He did not know the cause of death.

“Milton’s passion for freedom and liberty has influenced more lives than he ever could possibly know,” said Gordon St. Angelo, the foundation’s president and chief executive officer. “His writings and ideas have transformed the minds of U.S. presidents, world leaders, entrepreneurs and freshmen economic majors alike.”

In more than a dozen books, a column in Newsweek magazine and a TV show on PBS, Mr. Friedman championed individual freedom in economics and politics. The longtime University of Chicago professor pioneered a school of thought that became known as the Chicago school of economics.

Mr. Friedman’s theory of monetarism, adopted in part by the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations, opposed the traditional Keynesian economics that had dominated U.S. policy since the New Deal. He was a member of President Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board.

His work in consumption analysis, monetary history and stabilization policy earned him the Nobel Prize in economics in 1976.

“He has used a brilliant mind to advance a moral vision — the vision of a society where men and women are free, free to choose, but where government is not as free to override their decisions,” President Bush said in 2002. “That vision has changed America, and it is changing the world.”

Mr. Friedman favored a policy of steady, moderate growth in the money supply, opposed wage and price controls and criticized the Federal Reserve when it tried to fine-tune the economy.

A believer in the principles of 18th century economist Adam Smith, he consistently argued that individual freedom should rule economic policy.

In an essay titled “Is Capitalism Humane?” Mr. Friedman said that “a set of social institutions that stresses individual responsibility, that treats the individual … as responsible for and to himself, will lead to a higher and more desirable moral climate.”

Born in New York City on July 31, 1912, Mr. Friedman began developing his economic theories during the Great Depression when President Roosevelt based his New Deal on the ideas of Britain’s John Maynard Keynes, the most influential economist of the time.

Mr. Keynes argued that the government should intervene in economic affairs to avoid depressions by increasing spending and controlling interest rates.

Mr. Friedman graduated from Rutgers University in 1932 and earned his master’s degree the following year at the University of Chicago.

After working for the National Resources Commission in Washington from 1935 to 1937, Mr. Friedman was a member of the staff of the National Bureau of Economics Research in New York from 1937 to 1945 and received his doctorate from Columbia University in 1946.

After World War II, he taught at the University of Minnesota, then returned to the University of Chicago. He became a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in 1977.

Mr. Friedman married Rose Director in 1938. They had two children, Janet and David.


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