Economist Milton Friedman Dies

The Nobel Prize winner was 94.
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Milton Friedman, one of the best-known American economists and the winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize, has died at the age of 94.

During his life, Friedman argued that free markets should be allowed to function without being overly burdened by the government, and he was a believer in the idea that economic and political freedom are intertwined.

One of the ideas for which Friedman was best known was called the permanent-income hypothesis. The idea behind the theory was that consumers base their choices for buying on their long-term expectations for income, not their current situation. As a result, consumers would be expected to try to maintain a certain standard of living even if their income sees short-term changes.

Friedman was born July 31, 1912, in Brooklyn, N.Y., and he grew up in Rahway, N.J. After graduating from Rutgers in 1932, he studied at the University of Chicago and Columbia University, the latter of which awarded him a doctorate.

As a young man, Friedman worked at the National Resources Committee on the design of a consumer-budget study, which served as a basis for one of his later writings, the

Theory of the Consumption Function

.

He later was employed with the National Bureau of Economic Research and, during World War II, the U.S. Treasury Department. After the war, he spent time in France as a consultant to the U.S. governmental agency that was administering the Marshall Plan. He retired from active teaching at the University of Chicago in 1977.

Friedman also served in 1964 as an economic adviser to Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater in his unsuccessful bid for the White House. Four years after that, he was an adviser to Richard Nixon's presidential campaign.

Later, he was a member of President Ronald Reagan's Economic Policy Advisory Board during his presidency. In 1988, President Reagan awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. That same year, he received the National Medal of Science.

Starting in 1980, Friedman was featured in a program on PBS called

Free to Choose

, and he authored a related book by the same name. Among his other works were

Capitalism and Freedom

from 1962,

Monetary Trends in the United States and the United Kingdom

, published in 1982, and

Money Mischief

, published in 1992. He also formerly wrote a column for

Newsweek

.

His death was attributed to heart failure.