Milton Friedman: The Last Conservative

Farrar Nov. 2023. 592p. ISBN 9780374601140. $35. BIOG
Burns (history, Stanford Univ.; Goddess of the Market) focuses her latest book on Milton Friedman (1912–2006), one of the 20th century’s most influential economists. She utilizes extensive archival sources to paint a picture of the 1976 Nobel Prize winner. In the 1970s and 1980s, he developed his theories by traveling the globe to learn and share ideas about fighting inflation. He concluded that reduced government intervention, expanded markets, and cutting taxes would result in the highest level of free market capitalism. He promoted his beliefs through the PBS series Free To Choose. The author shows that Milton had long-standing collaborations with women such as fellow economist Anna Jacobson Schwartz, who coauthored the 1971 A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960 with him to much acclaim. Friedman’s instrumental economic philosophy was introduced as one of the core messages of Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign and continued into the Reagan years and beyond, influencing policy makers such as Arthur Burns, former chair of the Federal Reserve.
VERDICT One of the most brilliant biographies of Friedman to date. For both general readers and economics scholars.
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