Milton Friedman: The Unconventional Economist

In Jennifer Burns’ new biography of Milton Friedman, “Milton Friedman: The Last Conservative,” she emphasizes the impact of Friedman’s ideas on modern life. As a historian, Burns focuses on Friedman’s intellectual contributions rather than his personal life. Friedman’s influence on school vouchers, abolishing the draft, deregulating prices, and opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act are discussed. Burns also delves into Friedman’s role in monetarism, theories on inflation, and his partnership with female collaborators. However, she neglects to fully explain Friedman’s association with the postwar American libertarian movement, which Friedman expressed loyalty to, despite his formal affiliation with the Republican Party. Burns fails to explore Friedman’s family in depth or delve into the ideas of Friedman’s son, David, who was an advocate of anarcho-capitalism. This comprehensive biography provides insight into Friedman’s intellectual evolution and his significant influence as a libertarian economist, making it a must-read for those interested in economics and political philosophy.