Milton Friedman - Death of a Giant

The death of Milton Friedman at age 94 ends, after more than 60 years, the greatest rivalry in modern economics—the one between the conservative great Friedman and the liberal great Paul Samuelson. Samuelson lives on, at age 91, and remembers his intellectual foe with respect.

"Milton Friedman was a giant," Samuelson said in a Nov. 16 interview from his office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "No 20th-century economist had his importance in moving the American economic profession rightward from 1940 to the present."

More than anyone else, Milton Friedman was responsible for challenging the worldview of British economist John Maynard Keynes, who believed in the power of government to guide and stimulate economic growth. As an alternative to Keynesianism, he put forth a more laissez-faire philosophy known as monetarism—the doctrine that the best thing the government can do is supply the economy with the money it needs and stand aside.

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