Milton Friedman was an American economist, statistician and public intellectual, and a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.
In the 1970s he was instrumental in overturning the influence of Keynesian and socialist economic theories on democratic governments by his reformulation of classical laissez-faire economics.
As leader of the Chicago School of Economics, Friedman had a widespread influence in shaping the research agenda of the entire profession and became the leader of the first recognized counter-revolution against Keynesianism, advocating laissez-faire policies of deregulation, privatisation, low tax and free markets. In the 1960s he promoted an alternative macroeconomic policy called monetarism. In this he argued that the central government could not micromanage the economy because people would realize what the government was doing and shift their behavior to neutralize the impact of policies.
Not limiting his philosophy to economics alone, Friedman opposed government regulation of many types, and although his economic theories were widely admired by Conservatives, his advocacy of the same principles of freedom in social policy sometimes put him at odds with Conservative admirers. He once stated that his role in eliminating U.S. military conscription was his proudest accomplishment, and throughout his life he called for the decriminalization of drugs, individual choice over abortion and strongly advocated Gay rights. His support for school choice led him to found The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.
In his 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom, Friedman advocated policies such as a volunteer military, freely floating exchange rates, abolition of licensing of doctors, a negative income tax, and education vouchers. His books and essays were widely read and even circulated underground behind the Iron Curtain.
Friedman’s political philosophy, which he considered classically liberal and libertarian, stressed the advantages of the marketplace and the disadvantages of government intervention and regulation. His ideas were studied throughout the world, and played a major role in the transformation of China’s economy.