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US economist Milton Friedman dies -

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US economist Milton Friedman dies

AM - Friday, 17 November , 2006 08:24:00

Reporter: Kim Landers

TONY EASTLEY: He was the US economist who advised Presidents and Prime Ministers.

94-year-old Milton Friedman, the champion of the free market, has died.

He was born in New York to immigrant parents and went on to become one of the world's most
influential economic thinkers.

North America Correspondent Kim Landers reports.

KIM LANDERS: Milton Friedman is credited with coining the phrase "there's no such thing as a free

The New York born economist also revolutionised economic thinking across the world, with his idea
that the supply of money is the key factor in determining economic growth and the rate of

He won a Nobel Prize for economics in 1976 and by the 1980s he was influencing the policies of US
President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

David Boaz who's the Executive Vice President of the Cato Institute in Washington says Milton
Friedman was just as good explaining his ideas to ordinary voters.

DAVID BOAZ: One of the unique things about him was that he was at the very top of the economics
profession, and he was also a public explainer of economic ideas.

KIM LANDERS: Four years ago Milton Friedman was still promoting his free market ideas during a
speech at the Cato Institute.

MILTON FRIEDMAN: We have advanced a great deal in the past 25 years in terms of our wealth and our
prosperity. But that has almost entirely been due to the private market.

It has not been due to government.

KIM LANDERS: David Boaz says Milton Friedman's economic legacy has been felt around the world.

DAVID BOAZ: Well I think he was very influential in the United States Government, but also he was
one of the architects of the Chilean economic reform, he was an important adviser to the Chinese

He travelled around the world and talked to lots of governments, but even when he wasn't
travelling, the ideas that he brought forth, both as a professional economist and as a leading
public figure from about maybe 1960 to 1990, was a very important part of the rebirth of
entrepreneurship and classical liberalism.

KIM LANDERS: And he says Milton Friedman's influence is even seen in the Australian economy.

DAVID BOAZ: He was a leading advocate of free trade, which is very important to Australia.

He was one of the architects of the sounder understanding of central banking and monetary policy
that has caused a revolution all over the world in governments understanding that if you print too
much money, prices will rise and they will keep on rising.

KIM LANDERS: Milton Friedman wrote a dozen books, a regular column for Newsweek magazine and he had
a television show too.

The 94-year-old died in San Francisco.

This is Kim Landers reporting for AM.