Milton Friedman, R.I.P.

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

A great champion of human liberty passed away on November 16th at the age of 94. Milton Friedman won the Nobel Prize in economics in 1976, but to those of us who had the priviledge to know him, and to countless others, he will be remembered even more for his passionate devotion to individual freedom.

Milton’s devoted wife Rose grew up in Portland and attended Reed College before tranferring to the University of Chicago where she and Milton met as graduate students.

They raised two children together and co-wrote three books on economics and public policy, including my favorite, Capitalism and Freedom.

Friedman’s free-market ideas were credited by Western leaders such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, and by revolutionaries in formerly communist countries, as a driving force behind their efforts.

Of all the ideas he advocated, none was more important to him than universal school choice, a concept he first wrote about in 1955. He and Rose endorsed a 1990 citizen’s initiative in Oregon that would have allowed all K-12th grade students to attend the public, private or religious school of their choice, with public money following the student. Unfortunately, that measure did not pass.

Milton Friedman, lover of liberty, is gone. But his dreams, the dreams of countless people here and around the world, live on.

Steve Buckstein is the Senior Analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, a Portland, Oregon-based think tank.

© 2006, Cascade Policy Institute. All rights reserved. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided the author and Cascade Policy Institute are cited. Contact Cascade at (503) 242-0900 to arrange print or broadcast interviews on this topic. For more topics visit the QuickPoint! archive.

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