Milton Friedman

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Milton Friedman
Economics 12
Andrew Just

Born on the 31st of July 1912, Milton Friedman was an American Statistician, Republican economist and teacher at the University of Chicago. He was the leading force apposing ‘New Keynesian’ styles of economics, and based his theory off of contrasting ‘naïve Keynesian’ (as he called it), however his theories changed as he began to accept some Keynesian economical styles in times of trouble. He famously said "We are all Keynesians now" to President Nixon, referring that sometimes this economical style is inevitable. Friedman’s alternative macroeconomic policy known as "monetarism" grew in popularity during the second half of the 20th century, especially with middle and upper class Americans. He hypothesized there existed a "natural" rate of unemployment, and argued that governments could lower unemployment above this rate (through economical stimulation and job creation) however this would come at the cost of accelerated inflation. Among this, Friedman opposed the existence of the Federal Reserve (centralized government bank) and believed that a steady, small expansion of the money supply was the only prudent policy. Friedman managed to excel throughout life, accomplishing a leading role on the Reagan platform, and being noted as the second most influential economist of the 20th century.

While working under President Regan, Friedman decorated the virtues of the free market system, and pushed for less government intervention. It was in the 1980’s that that his views on monetary policy, taxation, and deregulation most influenced the American government, and has continued to be used right up to the 2007-present global financial crisis. Most recognized for his ‘poster boy republican’ economical views and ideology, Friedman received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for his research in consumption and the stabilization policy in 1976.

Milton Friedman, Age 60
Born in Brooklyn, New York to Jewish immigrant parents Jenő Friedman and Sára Landau from Austria-Hungry, Milton lived a relatively quiet childhood. His parents believed strongly that moving to America would bring new wealth and opportunities, and lived chasing that American dream. Pressured by parental guidance, Milton pushed himself in school, and became a very bright kid from a young age. After graduating Rahway High School in 1928 at the age of only 15, he immediately enrolled at Rutgers University of New Jersey to continue his studies in mathematics. His schooling went virtually undisturbed for the first year, up until October 1929, when the infamous American stock market crash hit Americans nationwide, including Milton’s parents. No longer able to pay for his tuition, Milton was facing the reality of having to quit school to come home and help out his parents. Not wanting to give up on his education, and due to tremendously high grades, Friedman convinced mentor and economics professors Arthur F. Burns, and Homer Jones to sponsor his education for the next 3 years time. It was during these three years that Friedman developed his economical theories and love for economics. His theories are believed to have been influenced by professors Burns and Jones, and it was during his time at school that Friedman believed he could help end the Great Depression. After many long conversations with his professors, Friedman believed that the depression was not a simple business cycle, and by using the right tactics America would be able to rise out of the great depression much quicker than expected.

His studies did not go unnoticed, and after graduating from Rutgers in 1932, Friedman was offered full scholarships to Brown University for math, or a Masters in Economics from the University of Chicago. He decided to go with the latter option, and by1933 graduated with a M.A. It was during his one and a half years in Chicago that he met his future wife, Rose Director. Rose and Milton lived in Chicago together from 1933 to 1935...
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