As news of Milton Friedman’s death today makes its way around the world, the reactions (and tributes) are pouring in. Fred’s own take joins those of others like Cato Institute President Ed Crane, Heritage Foundation President Ed Feulner, and Reason Foundation Policy Analyst Steve Titch.
I was looking through his Nobel lecture on inflation and unemployment from 1976 this afternoon, and it’s a great read – not just on those two topics, but on the nature of economics itself and its status as a “real” science. Friedman, like his fellow academic Friedrich Hayek, helped remind us of the real world consequences of bad economic thinking, and gave us tools for correcting our mistakes:
Many countries around the world are today experiencing socially destructive inflation, abnormally high unemployment, misuse of economic resources, and, in some cases, the suppression of human freedom not because evil men deliberately sought to achieve these results, nor because of differences in values among their citizens, but because of erroneous judgments about the consequences of government measures: errors that at least in principle are capable of being corrected by the progress of positive economic science.
It’s a great essay – don’t let yourself get frightened off by the phrase “negatively sloping Phillips Curve.” And don’t forget to check out the video of the Milton Friedman Choir over at Bureaucrash.