Thursday, November 16, 2006
Milton Friedman
Posted by David Smith at 06:00 PM
Category: Thoughts and responses


Milton Friedman, one of the towering figures of modern economics, has died at the age of 94. The picture shows him at 90. He was responsible for reviving the quantity theory of money in modern form in the 1950s but much more besides. He could also engage with the public in language non-economists understood. Here's a link to the speech he gave on winning the Nobel prize (the Swedish Bank prize) for economics in 1976. Three decades on it is still worth reading.


Very interesting commentary of a period time by a clearly very lucid thinker in his field.

I was particularly interested in his comments regarding Stagflation and later Slumpflation which I only know of through what my dad tells me about 'the bad old days'

Trade unions were mentioned and I agree definitely a factor as was policitical interferance from central government. But I believe the big 'sea change' from what he describes as the 'stable period for the previous two centuries before the war' is financial deregulation. Surely the easy availability of money, conjured by banks using the fractional reserve system that allowed a (hyper)inflation + high unemployment environment to be created.

Personally I think a key point to note is that he doesn't meantion Interest rates ones, which seems to be the key factor when we talk about controlling inflation these days.

Posted by: Eliot Clarke at November 17, 2006 03:35 PM

Well as we all know Milton Keynes was named for those two opposing poles of economic thought John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman - and I think the place bears ample testament to the harm that economists can do. ;-)

Posted by: jonathan at November 18, 2006 02:35 AM

I tried that one when I gave a talk in Milton Keynes a few weeks ago and it didn't get a laugh - perhaps they'd heard it before. MK was named before Milton Friedman was known in the UK. Anthony Crosland, the Labour cabinet minister, said the name combined poetic qualities (John Milton) with economic reality (Keynes). in fact it was derived, as I understand it, from old English place names.

Posted by: David Smith at November 18, 2006 10:26 AM