Milton Friedman : biography

July 31, 1912 - November 16, 2006

Friedman was considered sympathetic to free banking.

He was critical of the Federal Reserve's influence on the economics profession. In a 1993 letter to University of Texas economics professor and former House Banking Committee investigator Robert Auerbach, Friedman wrote:

I cannot disagree with you that having something like 500 economists is extremely unhealthy. As you say, it is not conducive to independent, objective research. You and I know there has been censorship of the material published. Equally important, the location of the economists in the Federal Reserve has had a significant influence on the kind of research they do, biasing that research toward noncontroversial technical papers on method as opposed to substantive papers on policy and results.Grim, Ryan (September 7, 2009) , Huffington Post

School choice

In his 1955 article "The Role of Government in Education" Friedman proposed supplementing publicly operated schools with privately run but publicly funded schools through a system of school vouchers. Reforms similar to those proposed in the article were implemented in, for example, Chile in 1981 and Sweden in 1992. In 1996, Friedman, together with his wife, founded The Foundation for Educational Choice to advocate school choice and vouchers.


Milton Friedman was a major proponent of a volunteer military, stating that the draft was "inconsistent with a free society." In Capitalism and Freedom, he argued that conscription is inequitable and arbitrary, preventing young men from shaping their lives as they see fit. During the Nixon administration he headed the committee to research a conversion to paid/volunteer armed force. He would later state that his role in eliminating the conscription in the United States was his proudest accomplishment.{{Cite news | last = Doherty | first = Brian | author-link = Brian Doherty (journalist) | title = Best of Both Worlds | newspaper = Reason Magazine | date = June 1, 1995 | url = | accessdate =October 24, 2009 | ref = harv | postscript = }} Friedman did, however, believe a nation could compel military training as a reserve in case of war time.

Foreign policy

Biographer Lanny Ebenstein noted a drift over time in Friedman's views from an interventionist to a more cautious foreign policy. He supported US involvement in the Second World War and initially supported a hard line against Communism, but moderated over time. He opposed the Gulf War and the Iraq War. In a spring 2006 interview, Friedman said that the USA's stature in the world had been eroded by the Iraq War, but that it might be improved if Iraq were to become a peaceful independent country.

Libertarianism and the Republican Party

He served as a member of President Reagan's Economic Policy Advisory Board starting at 1981. In 1988, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science. He said that he was a libertarian philosophically, but a member of the U.S. Republican Party for the sake of "expediency" ("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.") But, he said, "I think the term classical liberal is also equally applicable. I don't really care very much what I'm called. I'm much more interested in having people thinking about the ideas, rather than the person.", Interview with Peter Jaworski. The Journal, Queen's University, March 15, 2002 – Issue 37, Volume 129

Public goods and monopoly

Friedman was supportive of the state provision of some public goods that private businesses are not considered as being able to provide. However, he argued that many of the services performed by government could be performed better by the private sector. Above all, if some public goods are provided by the state, he believed that they should not be a legal monopoly where private competition is prohibited; for example, he wrote:

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine