The End of the Age of Friedman

BERKELEY – Harvard professor Dani Rodrik – perhaps the finest political economist of my generation – recently reported on his blog that a colleague has been declaring the past three decades “the Age of Milton Friedman.” According to this view, the coming to power of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Deng Xiaoping led to an enormous upward leap in human liberty and prosperity. I say yes – and no – to this proposition.

Friedman adhered throughout his life to five basic principles:

1. Strongly anti-inflationary monetary policy.

2. A government that understood that it was the people’s agent and not a dispenser of favors and benefits.