Milton Friedman (July 31, 1912 – November 16, 2006) was an American economist, statistician, academic, and author who taught at the University of Chicago for more than three decades. He was a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Among scholars, he is best known for his theoretical and empirical research, especially consumption analysis, monetary history and theory, and for his demonstration of the complexity of stabilization policy.
Friedman was an economic advisor to conservative President Ronald Reagan. Over time, many governments practiced his restatement of a political philosophy that extolled the virtues of a free market economic system with little intervention by government. As a leader of the Chicago school of economics, based at the University of Chicago, he had great influence in determining the research agenda of the entire profession. Milton Friedman's works, which include many monographs, books, scholarly articles, papers, magazine columns, television programs, videos, and lectures, cover a broad range of topics of microeconomics, macroeconomics, economic history, and public policy issues. The Economist described him as "the most influential economist of the second half of the 20th century…possibly of all of it."
Friedman was a Keynesian in the 1930s and 1940s, and always said he favored some aspects of the New Deal such as "providing relief for the unemployed, providing jobs for the unemployed, and motivating the economy to expand... an expansive monetary policy"; however, he never advocated wage and price controls. His challenges to what he later called "naive Keynesian" (as opposed to New Keynesian) theory began with his 1950s reinterpretation of the consumption function. At the University of Chicago, Friedman became the main advocate opposing activist Keynesian government policies; he has been characterized as "the leader of the first recognized counterrevolution against Keynesianism", although even in the late-1960s he described his own approach (along with all of mainstream economics) as still wedded to the "Keynesian language and apparatus" albeit rejecting its "initial" conclusions. During the 1960s he promoted an alternative macroeconomic policy known as "monetarism". He theorized there existed a "natural" rate of unemployment, and argued that governments could increase employment above this rate (e.g., by increasing aggregate demand) only at the risk of causing inflation to accelerate. He argued that the Phillips Curve was not stable and predicted what would come to be known as stagflation. Though opposed to the existence of the Federal Reserve, Friedman argued that, given that it does exist, a steady, small expansion of the money supply was the only wise policy.
Source: Wikipedia, "Milton Friedman", available under the CC-BY-SA License.