Saturday, November 18, 2006

Milton Friedman, 1912-2006

When I began studying economics in college, the Great Voice in the field was that of John Maynard Keynes, the darling of the Left. He was the entrée. People such as Milton Friedman were side dishes, the cole slaw of economics.

John Maynard Keynes’ The General Theory was sturdy and complex, and it obfuscated the fact that the author was basically just another socialist who saw big government as the answer to most problems in a society. It is no mystery that he had a huge influence over President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

We students were given the opportunity to read a slender volume called Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman. It was not as pretentious and weighty as The General Theory, but it made more sense and was elegant in its reasoning.

Thus it was that I (and many others) came to see that Milton Friedman was a beacon of light in a sea of socialism. Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan also came to that conclusion as did Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain.

Friedman was not just an economist, he was a political thinker as well. He correctly saw that human freedom and dignity come as a natural result of free markets. For some strange reason, the Leftist Nobel Committee awarded him the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1976.

Over the past forty years Milton Friedman has positively affected the lives of millions and millions of people. His influence will be felt for years into the future by freedom-loving people.

What about John Maynard Keynes? The entrée has become stale. He is seldom mentioned, while the side dish has become the main meal for free countries.

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