Milton Friedman: My Favourite Economist
Milton Friedman, arguably the most straightforward economist of all times, was a renowned professor at the University of Chicago and a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Due to his assertive style and clear cut ideas, he was a love-or-hate type of person; and I happen to be one of his admirers.
Economics is a very logical science; it is all about competition in my view. Milton Friedman’s political philosophy perfectly represents my viewpoint on a free market economy. He once said in a debate at the University of Chicago: ”I believe we need a government. But we need a government that sets a framework and rules, within which individuals, doing their own objectives, can work together and cooperate.” By doing so, we can reach an optimum situation on the market, where subjects operate based on the principles of ’laissez faire’.
Another idea of Friedman I share is the so called ’shareholder view’. It says that a company’s only responsibility is to make money for its shareholders. Many economists – the adcovates of ’corporate social responsibility’ and the ’stakeholder view’ among others – have criticized this idea, but Friedman had an explanation. He believed that all the operations a company is involved in, even if they don’t have an immediate positive financial impact, must have a material purpose in the long run.
Milton Friedman’s contribution to the science of economics is best summed up by The Economist, which, after his death in 2006, described him as "the most influential economist of the second half of the 20th century".