Milton Friedman : biography

July 31, 1912 - November 16, 2006

During 1940, Friedman was appointed an assistant professor teaching Economics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, but encountered antisemitism in the Economics department and decided to return to government service. Friedman spent 1941–43 working on wartime tax policy for the Federal Government, as an advisor to senior officials of the United States Department of the Treasury. As a Treasury spokesman during 1942 he advocated a Keynesian policy of taxation. He helped to invent the payroll withholding tax system, since the federal government badly needed money in order to fight the war. He later said, "I have no apologies for it, but I really wish we hadn't found it necessary and I wish there were some way of abolishing withholding now."


Academic career

Early years

In 1943, Friedman joined the Division of War Research at Columbia University (headed by W. Allen Wallis and Harold Hotelling), where he spent the rest of World War II working as a mathematical statistician, focusing on problems of weapons design.

In 1945, Friedman submitted Incomes from Independent Professional Practice (co-authored with Kuznets and completed during 1940) to Columbia as his doctoral dissertation. The university awarded him a PhD in 1946. Friedman spent the 1945–46 academic year teaching at the University of Minnesota (where his friend George Stigler was employed). On February 12, 1945, his son, David D. Friedman was born.

University of Chicago

In 1946 Friedman accepted an offer to teach economic theory at the University of Chicago (a position opened by departure of his former professor Jacob Viner to Princeton University). Friedman would work for the University of Chicago for the next 30 years. There he contributed to the establishment of an intellectual community that produced a number of Nobel Prize winners, known collectively as the Chicago School of Economics.

At that time, Arthur Burns, who was then the head of the National Bureau of Economic Research, asked Friedman to rejoin the Bureau's staff. He accepted the invitation, and assumed responsibility for the Bureau's inquiry into the role of money in the business cycle. As a result, he initiated the "Workshop in Money and Banking" (the "Chicago Workshop"), which promoted a revival of monetary studies. During the latter half of the 1940s, Friedman began a collaboration with Anna Schwartz, an economic historian at the Bureau, that would ultimately result in the 1963 publication of a book co-authored by Friedman and Schwartz, A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960.

Friedman spent the 1954–55 academic year as a Fulbright Visiting Fellow at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. At the time, the Cambridge economics faculty was divided into a Keynesian majority (including Joan Robinson and Richard Kahn) and an anti-Keynesian minority (headed by Dennis Robertson). Friedman speculates that he was invited to the fellowship because his views were unacceptable to both of the Cambridge factions. Later his weekly columns for Newsweek magazine (1966–84) were well read and increasingly influential among political and business people.CATO, "Letter from Washington," National Review, September 19, 1980, Vol. 32 Issue 19, p 1119 From 1968 to 1978, he and Paul Samuelson participated in the Economics Cassette Series, a biweekly subscription series where the economist would discuss the days' issues for about a half-hour at a time.

Friedman was an economic adviser to Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater during 1964.

Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel Award

In 1976, Friedman won the Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel "for his achievements in the fields of consumption analysis, monetary history and theory and for his demonstration of the complexity of stabilization policy."

Early life

Friedman was born in Brooklyn, New York, to recent Jewish immigrants Sára Ethel (née Landau) and Jenő Saul Friedman, from Beregszász in Austria-Hungary (now Berehove in Ukraine), both of whom worked as dry goods merchants. Shortly after Milton's birth, the family relocated to Rahway, New Jersey. A talented student, Friedman graduated from Rahway High School in 1928, just before his 16th birthday.Eamonn Butler, Milton Friedman (2011) ch 1Alan O. Ebenstein, Milton Friedman: a biography (2007) pp 5–12

Living octopus

Living octopus

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