Former Hoover fellow and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman.

Milton Friedman

Biography: 

Click here to see the Hoover project showcasing the works of Milton and Rose Friedman.

Milton Friedman, recipient of the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize for economic science, was a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution from 1977 to 2006. He passed away on Nov. 16, 2006. (Link to obituary.) He was also the Paul Snowden Russell Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Chicago, where he taught from 1946 to 1976, and a member of the research staff of the National Bureau of Economic Research from 1937 to 1981.

Friedman was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1988 and received the National Medal of Science the same year.

He was widely regarded as the leader of the Chicago School of monetary economics, which stresses the importance of the quantity of money as an instrument of government policy and as a determinant of business cycles and inflation.

In addition to his scientific work, Friedman also wrote extensively on public policy, always with a primary emphasis on the preservation and extension of individual freedom. His most important books in this field are (with Rose D. Friedman) Capitalism and Freedom (University of Chicago Press, 1962); Bright Promises, Dismal Performance (Thomas Horton and Daughters, 1983), which consists mostly of reprints of columns he wrote for Newsweek from 1966 to 1983; (with Rose D. Friedman) Free to Choose (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980), which complements a ten-part television series of the same name shown over the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) network in early 1980; and (with Rose D. Friedman) Tyranny of the Status Quo (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1984), which complements a three-part television series of the same name, shown over PBS in early 1984.

He was a member of the President's Commission on an All-Volunteer Armed Force and the President's Commission on White House Fellows. He was a member of President Ronald Reagan's Economic Policy Advisory Board (a group of experts from outside the government named in 1981 by President Reagan).

Friedman was also active in public affairs, serving as an informal economic adviser to Senator Barry Goldwater in his unsuccessful campaign for the presidency in 1964, to Richard Nixon in his successful 1968 campaign, to President Nixon subsequently, and to Ronald Reagan in his 1980 campaign.

He has published many books and articles, most notably A Theory of the Consumption Function, The Optimum Quantity of Money and Other Essays, and (with A. J. Schwartz) A Monetary History of the United States, Monetary Statistics of the United States, and Monetary Trends in the United States and the United Kingdom.

He was a past president of the American Economic Association, the Western Economic Association, and the Mont Pelerin Society and was a member of the American Philosophical Society and the National Academy of Sciences.

He was awarded honorary degrees by universities in the United States, Japan, Israel, and Guatemala, as well as the Grand Cordon of the First Class Order of the Sacred Treasure by the Japanese government in 1986.

Friedman received a B.A. in 1932 from Rutgers University, an M.A. in 1933 from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in 1946 from Columbia University.

Two Lucky People, his and Rose D. Friedman's memoirs, was published in 1998 by the University of Chicago Press.

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Recent Commentary

The Biggest Ponzi Scheme on Earth

by Milton Friedmanvia Hoover Digest
Friday, April 30, 1999

The conventional wisdom regarding Social Security is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of how the system does—and does not—work. Nobel laureate and Hoover fellow Milton Friedman explains why it is time to end Social Security as we know it.

Former Hoover fellow and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman.

PRESIDENTIAL REPORT CARD: Milton Friedman on the State of the Union

with Milton Friedmanvia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, February 10, 1999

Milton Friedman, Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution and Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences grades the achievements of the Clinton administration and evaluates the programs the President proposed in his 1999 State of the Union address.

Mr. Market

by Milton Friedmanvia Hoover Digest
Saturday, January 30, 1999

Nobel laureate and Hoover fellow Milton Friedman evaluates Alan Greenspan’s job performance, analyzes the role of the International Monetary Fund in the Asian financial meltdown, and explains how to fix Social Security—all in less than three thousand words.

Rose and Milton Friedman at the Nobel ball, 1976

One Week in Stockholm

by Milton Friedman, Rose D. Friedmanvia Hoover Digest
Friday, October 30, 1998

Milton and Rose D. Friedman recall what it was like when Milton received the Nobel Prize in 1976: The Nobel Committee was gracious enough, but the demonstrators in Stockholm were another matter. An excerpt from the Friedmans’ new memoir, Two Lucky People.

Milton and Rose D. Friedman, 1937

Tribute on the Quad

by Milton Friedman, Robert J. Barro, Gary S. Becker, Rose D. Friedman, Walter B. Wristonvia Hoover Digest
Friday, October 30, 1998

Milton and Rose D. Friedman recently published their memoirs, Two Lucky People. Herewith tributes paid to the Friedmans at the dinner the Hoover Institution hosted in their honor on the Stanford Quad.

The Hong Kong Experiment

by Milton Friedmanvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, July 30, 1998

A controlled experiment in the field of economics? The last fifty years of history have provided just that. The free economy: Hong Kong. The mixed economy: the United States. The socialist economies: Great Britain and Israel. Nobel laureate and Hoover fellow Milton Friedman evaluates the results.

It's Time to End the War on Drugs

by Milton Friedmanvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, April 30, 1998

When President Nixon announced a war on drugs in 1972, Nobel laureate and Hoover fellow Milton Friedman attacked the program as immoral and counterproductive. Twenty-five years later, Friedman is more convinced than ever.

Milton Friedman, Soothsayer

by Peter Brimelow, Milton Friedmanvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, April 30, 1998

Boom? Bust? Inflation? Deflation? Nobel laureate and Hoover fellow Milton Friedman peers into the future, making predictions on price levels in the United States, stagnation in Japan, and the new currency in Europe. A freewheeling discussion with Hoover media fellow Peter Brimelow.

Japanese Monetary Policy in the Driver's Seat

Reviving Japan

by Milton Friedmanvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, April 30, 1998

Nobel laureate and Hoover fellow Milton Friedman gives the Bank of Japan step-by-step instructions for resuscitating the Japanese economy. A monetary kiss of life.

Illustration by Karen Stolper

If Only the United States Were as Free as Hong Kong

by Milton Friedmanvia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 30, 1998

Hong Kong may be back in the hands of mainland China, but direct government spending in Hong Kong remains less than 15 percent of national income--versus some 40 or 50 percent here in the United States. Hoover fellow and Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman considers these facts worth pondering.

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