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Milton Friedman

Milton Friedman was a well respected popular Monetarist economist and Nobel prize winner.

Expanded Definition

Friedman was an unusually popular economist with the public. His wit, affably charismatic nature and great ability to communicate complex subjects in easy to understand ways made him a hit as a public speaker.For a economist Friedman became quite the celebrity.

Friedman espoused the belief that money supply dictates economic performance. Unlike John Maynard Keynes and other Keynesians, Friedman felt that government's only involvement in the economy should be to regulate the money supply. This focus on monetary policy alone and letting the free market run unfettered has subsequently been an approach adopted and espoused by most republicans in the ensuing decades.

Friedman posited that the Federal Reserve and the Federal Government should try to keep the money supply steady through small gradual adjustments, not too much not too little, lest they risk being the " fool in the shower " (a metaphor that colorfully demonstrates Friedman's belief).


Friedman's theories greatly influenced the future American economy. In particular his theories were most closely followed in the 1980's under the Reagan administration. Since that time many leading economists have become less convinced in his theory and in 2008 the country has moved noticeably back in Keynesian practices. Alan Greenspan was said to be influenced by Friedman's work.

Friedman also has been credited as the founder of the Chicago school style of economic thought.

Selected Bibliography

A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960 co written with Anna Schwartz.

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