Das Milton Friedman Problem
A Reassessment of Friedman’s Contributions to Economic Methodology
Originally published in A Companion to Milton Friedman
This is the second volume in the series of “Companions to Economics” that the UFM School of Economics has sponsored and will continue to sponsor over the next few years. Since the first volume in this series was devoted to Adam Smith, it is quite fitting that this second volume should be devoted to Milton Friedman, who was unquestionably Smith’s most influential 20th century disciple.Much of his fame and renown derived from his role as a public intellectual, an aspect of his work that was reflected largely in popular books such as Capitalism and Freedom (1962) and the hugely successful Free to Choose (1980), and he was certainly an ardent and effective advocate of the free-market economy. But he was also much more than that. He was a technical economist of the first rank, and he made a great number of important contributions to economic theory, to economic history, and to the analysis of economic policy. This other aspect of his professional career was recognized by the award of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1976.The chapters collected in this Companion reflect the wide range of interests that Milton Friedman was concerned with during his career, and they will not only provide guidance to non-specialist readers coming to Friedman for the first time, but will also interest more advanced scholars as well.
This chapter examins a tension in Milton Friedman's work.