Milton Friedman was born in New York in 1912. As a kid, he showed great enthusiasm to study mathematics and wanted to become an insurance actuary. While in college, he developed an interest in economics and therefore pursued graduate studies in economics in University of Chicago and later got his Ph.D. from Columbia University.
In 1967 he became president of the American Economic Association. It was also during this period that Friedman became an adviser to President Richard Nixon. In 1976, he won the Nobel Prize in economics for his achievements in the field of consumption function and analysis, monetary history and theory, and for his demonstration of the complexity of stabilization policy.
Friedman is best known for his disavowal of the Keynesians. As the simple theory of consumption states, current real income is the most important determinant of consumption in the short run but findings of Friedman and Kuznets contradicted this idea by recognizing that spending depends on expected future income. They did so by studying income, consumption and savings for the US.
In 1988, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The citation for him in the ceremony was as follows: “Teacher, scholar, and theorist—Milton Friedman restored common sense to the world of economics. A winner of the Nobel Prize, Milton Friedman’s technical mastery of his profession is unchallenged. But more central to his work is its moral component: an idea of human freedom in which man’s economic rights are as vital as his civil and human rights. It is for his celebration of the human spirit as well as the brilliance of his mind that I bestow upon Milton Friedman the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”
Together with his wife, Rose Director, they published their memoirs named “Milton and Rose D. Friedman, Two Lucky People: Memoirs” which was published by University of Chicago Press in 1988. In 2001, Friedman agreed to lend his name to the prize awarded by Cato Institute. The prize, named The Milton Friedman Prize For Advancing Liberty, has been awarded to individuals who have contributed to human liberty and freedom ever since.
Milton Friedman, champion of free markets, died in 2006 in California. He was 94.