Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Passing of a Giant

Sadly, today we learn that Milton Friedman has died. From the AP report in the Indy Star:
His theories won him a Nobel Prize in economics in 1976.

A believer in the principles of 18th century economist Adam Smith, he consistently argued that individual freedom should rule economic policy. Outspoken and controversial, Friedman saw his theories attacked by many traditional economists such as Harvard's John Kenneth Galbraith.

In an essay titled “Is Capitalism Humane?” he 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.”

Friedman acknowledged that “pure capitalism” did not exist, but said that nations that cherished freedom must strive to keep the economy as close to the ideal as possible.

This is the passing of a giant. I always had an innate sense of the benefits and justice of capitalism, but Milton Friedman gave me an academic means for expressing it and backing it up beyond mere feelings.

Friedman was extolling capitalism's virtues at a time when academia had turned from capitalism and embraced Marx- incorrectly. He stood against this fad and led the reversal, and for that I am grateful. He is one of those most responsible for inspiring me to work to reverse course back towards capitalism, and to become a Libertarian activist.

I am deeply saddened at his passing.

There is a statement on the webpage of the Milton & Rose D. Friedman Foundation concerning his passing.

Reason Magazine has a tribute and links to many articles. has at least three blog entries memorializing Friedman.

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