Milton has passed away

by Russ Roberts on November 16, 2006

in Education

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Josh November 16, 2006 at 12:59 pm


cpurick November 16, 2006 at 1:03 pm

He left plenty behind.

Alex November 16, 2006 at 1:03 pm

The economist Milton Friedman passed away. He was 94

Tom D. November 16, 2006 at 2:27 pm

When I was a teenager, I was from a Democratic family and wanted Ted Kennedy to be president in the worst way. Then, I watched the PBS "Free to Choose" series and read "Capitalism and Freedom". I never did cast that vote for Teddy.

David Richards November 16, 2006 at 2:49 pm

The world is demonstrably a better place for his having lived in it.

drtaxsacto November 16, 2006 at 2:56 pm

Free to Choose is now available for download on Google Video – I recently downloaded it and then moved it to my iPod. I got to see those ten episodes that changed the world, again. What struck me was how dated some of the images were – not the ideas – but the visuals. But more importantly was the image of Friedman presiding at the talk fests afterward. In each instance he took on his opponents with unflailing politeness but also with the intellectual rigor that showed his true commitment to reasoned discussion.

Matt November 16, 2006 at 3:06 pm
JTapp November 16, 2006 at 3:10 pm

Sadly, they removed the Free to Choose videos from Google some time ago. You can still find several interviews with him there though.

Michael Van Milligan November 16, 2006 at 3:11 pm

Seems eerily fitting that he jump "planes" today with the current information released:

chris November 16, 2006 at 3:28 pm

makes me want to cry

Timothy November 16, 2006 at 3:35 pm

And the world is immeasurably poorer for it.

JProf November 16, 2006 at 4:04 pm

The PBS Free to Choose series 1 through 10 are currently on in the category of "Entertainment." They are truly remarkable.

JTapp November 16, 2006 at 5:10 pm

Again, the full Free to Choose videos have been removed. All that's left on YouTube are 2 minute segments from various episodes.

Neal Phenes November 16, 2006 at 5:20 pm

While Milton Friedman is remembered for his contribution to economic theory and explaining it in understandable laymen's language, I find his celebration of individual freedom to be of greater import. Upon my reading of his criticism of the Kennedy shibboleth "Ask not what your country can do for you…" , I experienced an epiphany in my view of man in relation to a government.

Swimmy November 16, 2006 at 5:27 pm

I don't even have the words to describe his effect on my life. He was a great man to say the least. It's a somber day, but he's the reason I am where I am, and I'll always be thankful. What a wonderful legacy he left behind.

Patrick R. Sullivan November 16, 2006 at 6:00 pm

The architect Christopher Wren is buried in the basement of his St Pauls's Cathedral in London, in a grave with a non-descript slab. On which is written (in Latin)"If you need a monument, look around."

Friedman's monument is the modern economy of the last quarter century. In those 25 years we've had only 2 (short and mild) recessions, thanks to the way the Fed now thinks about monetary policy.

In the prior quarter century (1956-1981) there were 6, and some were quite severe. That was the period when Friedman's monetary ideas were ridiculed.

Chris Meisenzahl November 16, 2006 at 6:57 pm

Sad. And thanks very much Dr. Roberts for your recent interviews w/ him.

MesaEconoGuy November 16, 2006 at 8:57 pm

Capitalism and Freedom is easily the most significant writing of the 20th Century.

Buy it, read it, live it:

True_Liberal November 16, 2006 at 9:19 pm

A huge legacy, a huge loss. "Free to Choose" remains an invaluable lesson for coming generations; no one has ever explained it better, nor shown us better real-world examples of free-market vs. central-planning economics. But the best example appeared more than a decade after "Free To Choose" – namely the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The accolades of you and me and other common folk who have seen his vision become real, are an even greater tribute than his many more formal awards.

lowcountryjoe November 16, 2006 at 9:56 pm

I have to agree about Capitalism and Freedom. That was the best damned book I have ever read…in fact I also bought a five-cassette audio version and will listen to it from time to time, picking up new insights from it.

If more people were exposed to this book, the world, and the people who occupy it, would be a much better and more tolerant, cooperative place.

Many freedom-loving people are grieving — along with Rose — the loss of its modern-day, most influential advocate. Rest in peace, Dr. Friedman.

ben November 16, 2006 at 10:58 pm

A sad day. Good comments from lowcountryjoe and True_Liberal.

Already history is being re-written at the UK Guardian:

Who is this guy?

Adam November 17, 2006 at 12:08 am

Gee, I wonder if the media will mourn his passing half as much as they did for Galbraith? Pfft. Economic illiterate elitists.

Ray G November 17, 2006 at 12:39 am

NPR started to do a nice little piece on Milton, and then, they dropped the other shoe. The piece ended with a counterpoint to his free market ideology. Ended it on it, of all things.

ben November 17, 2006 at 6:39 am

Is it ideology if grounded in reason and evidence?

David Youngberg November 17, 2006 at 11:24 am

Wow that UK Guardian article is nasty not to mention wrong and mean-spirited. Lord knows who the author is; his whole profile merely says "Richard Adams is a Guardian leader writer."

I agree with Neal Phenes about his greatest legacy. Economic theories come and go. They mutate, integrate, fall away and come back into style. But Friedman's free market advocay inspired whole generations of small government economists, a feat more lasting than any theory, more influential than any policy and more vital than the swaying of any politician.

Henri Hein November 22, 2006 at 11:25 am

The "Free to Choose" material is available here:

Freedom Advocate January 12, 2007 at 10:35 am

The online video of the ceremony honoring the life and works of Milton Friedman has just been uploaded to conservative, Republican Eugene Delgaudio’s homepage . Last month Loudon County , Virginia Board of Supervisors passed the resolution naming his birthday, July 31, as "Milton Friedman Day" in the county. The Resolution of Recognition is available at Also, check out the photos at
PBS and other groups plan to devote and entire day to Freidman on January 29. The link to the Wall Street Journal provides a lively snapshot of Friedman’s devoted followers in the comment area I hope that you will take action to recognize Milton Friedman in your area.

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