The brilliant libertarian economist Milton Friedman has died at 94 years old of heart failure. This man made strides in advocating libertarian economic principals and his work – along with that of his son, philosopher and economist David D. Friedman – has been referenced in this blog on numerous occasions.

After being educated in Rutgers and Chicago, Friedman became a spokesman for the U.S. Treasury in 1942. Subsequent to being awarded a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1946, he helped build the influential Chicago School of Economics, which produced many Nobel Prize winners, of which Friedman became one. He became known for creating interest in the quantity theory of money, refining the permanent income hypothesis and public policy as it related to economics.

Friedman was a champion of individual responsibility and small government. Take a look at these credentials:

Friedman was the man to whom the Federal Reserve wrote this note: “Regarding the Great Depression. You’re right, we did it. We’re very sorry.” Wow. He also tenaciously approached economics as a science with predictable parameters, which was in direct contrast to many of the thinkers around him who believed that government intervention in the markets could not be said to have predictably and inherently negative effects.

In my post on November 8th titled America Swings to the Left, I made mention of the percentage of ‘small-L libertarians’ in the electorate, and that I regarded myself one. It appears that Friedman considered himself one too: “I am a libertarian with a small ‘l’ and a Republican with a capital ‘R’. And I am a Republican with a capital R on grounds of expediency, not on principle.” And a true libertarian he was; just last year he was among a number of economists calling for discussion on the economic benefits of legalising marijuana.

And take look at some of the titles of his volumes for general audiences: ‘Capitalism and Freedom’, ‘There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch’, ‘Free to Choose: A personal statement’, ‘Economic Freedom, Human Freedom, Political Freedom’, ‘The Drug War as a Socialist Enterprise’ and ‘The Case for Free Trade’.

Here is the New York Times’ article today on Friedman.

A great libertarian exponent has gone today, but America and the world are better for his having been here. Perhaps someday, somebody will take Friedman’s policies into power, resounding with his ultimate message: “Hands off my economy and my life”.

John Wright