A Tribute to Milton Friedman (1912-2006)


We have our reservation about the Chicago School of Economics that Friedman and his colleagues created. But we certainly do agree with him over the connection between economic and political freedom. By Jerry Thomas.

For a long time to come, the impact of Milton Friedman’s work for the discipline of economics and on the society will be intensely contested. When the Nobel Laureate for Economics, Friedman, was with us we debated about his ideas. Now when he died at the age of 94 on November 17, his life seems to generate a lively debate.

The leftist liberal newspaper, the Guardian, carried an article in its blog by Richard Adams, titled, Milton Friedman: a study in failure. He said:

“The great economist's career was full of heated controversy but achieved almost nothing of substance in setting public policy.” Maybe true.

The rightist conservative newspaper, the Wall Street Journal, carried an article by Thomas Sowell, titled, Freedom Man. He said:

“Milton Friedman may well have been the most important economist of the 20th century, even if John Maynard Keynes was the most famous. No small part of Friedman’s achievement was rescuing economics from the pervasive and virtually unquestioned Keynesian orthodoxy that reigned in many places.” Maybe true.

But what is certainly true is that Friedman spoke of the economic freedom and its connection to political freedom in an age where socialism and communism were an intellectual fashion. And more so in a language that is clearly understood by the common man. Friedman’s book ‘Capitalism and Freedom’ is an attestation to this fact. Capitalism never had a father, and no one wrote a manifesto of capitalism before it was ever practiced. Capitalism was born when Bible believing (and thumbing) Christians obeyed the commandments of Biblical God wholeheartedly though not wholly. Friedman, though not a declared Christian, came out to defend a system that was born out of a virtuous worldview. That will be the lasting legacy of Friedman among all his works.

We have our reservation about the Chicago School of Economics that Friedman and his colleagues created. But we certainly do agree with him over the connection between economic and political freedom. Economic freedom is a necessary though not sufficient for true political freedom. It might be interesting to note here that Friedman himself added one more freedom as essential: Human Freedom.

As a mark of respect to Friedman, when the world mourns the passing of an intellectual giant, we reproduce one of his articles in www.sakshitimes.com. Don’t miss it.  You can hear Friedman here.


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