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Inflation and the Reanimation of Dead Ideas

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The cover of the July-August edition of The New Republic features an interesting image of a well-known man whom one might not recognize unless one reads the blurb: “The Second Death of Milton Friedman.” On the opposite side of the cover, we read: “The economist died in 2006. And now, his pernicious and reactionary ideas are finally dead, too.”

So much death! And that alarming word “reactionary“ would suggest that Dr. Friedman wanted to take America back to some unsavory past. Egad, and just when things were going so well. But, since huge sectors of the U.S. economy haven’t operated under free-market capitalism for about a century, maybe a little “reaction” is just what the doctor ordered. Why not go all the way back to the late 1800s, when America had some real economic freedom.

TNR’s cover story for its summer edition is by one Zachary D. Carter. Because Mr. Carter’s “The End of Friedmanomics“ is long, and TNR gives a reader only three free reads, if one doesn’t have the time to read it all in a single sitting, then one may want to save it to one’s hard drive (see NOTE below for tips). But since the article is a mite long, the question becomes -- Is it worth one’s time?

Despite disagreeing with his conclusions, this reviewer recommends Carter’s article. Where Carter does well is in his history of Friedman’s career, which went from being a bureaucrat in FDR’s administration to being a feted bona fide celebrity (insofar as economists can be celebrities).

Carter also does a decent job of tracing the evolution of Friedman’s thought, as well as treating some of his pet ideas, like school vouchers, his libertarian positions, and his take on voting: “True democracy, Friedman insisted, was to be found not through the franchise, but the free market, where consumers could express their preferences with their unencumbered........

© American Thinker

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