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Milton Friedman Biography

(1912–2006), Essays in Positive Economics, Capitalism and Freedom, Dollars and Deficits, Free To Choose

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Samuel Foote Biography to Furioso

American economist, born in New York City, educated at Rutgers, and the universities of Columbia and Chicago, where he became Professor of Economics in 1946. Recipient of the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1977, he is the best-known advocate of the universal advantages of freemarket capitalism and of monetarist economic policies, and is the foremost member of the so-called Chicago School of Economics. If the decline of Keynesian ideas (see Keynes, John Maynard) in economics circles (beginning in the mid-1970s) is to be traced to any one person, it would be to Friedman. It is through his more popular writings that Friedman reaches a more general audience. In Essays in Positive Economics (1953) Friedman launched a highly influential methodological programme designed to enlighten those who were otherwise being led to believe that unrealistic assumptions in economics diminished the usefulness of the science. He held instead that it was the predictive ability of theories that was really important. In Capitalism and Freedom (1962) democracy was identified with the workings of the free market. Dollars and Deficits (1968) sets out in intelligible and persuasive language some of his views on inflation, government deficit spending, and the balance of payments. Free To Choose (1980, with Rose Friedman), is a popular summing-up of his whole economic and political philosophy.

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