The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

New book publishes little-seen essays by Milton Friedman

Libertarian economist and Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman would have turned 100 years old last July, and to celebrate his birthday, a new book is out with a series of essays he wrote that few have seen.

“As I was writing my biography of Friedman, I recognized there were a number of his essays that had not been republished that it would be a substantial advantage if they were easily accessible,” economist Lanny Ebenstein, who has written a biography of Friedman, told The Daily Caller about his new book, ”The Indispensable Milton Friedman: Essays on Politics and Economics.”

“There are two parts to the essays — those on politics and those on economics,” he said. “The essays span Friedman’s entire career. A number of the essays are philosophical and historical. The criteria for selection were the intrinsic significance of the essays and their representativeness of Friedman’s career.”

One essay in the book is a 1989 letter to conservative commentator Bill Bennett, who was then the director of National Drug Control Policy for President Ronald Reagan. In the essay, Friedman urges Bennett to reconsider the war on drugs.

“Friedman supported the complete legalization of all drugs,” Ebenstein explains. “He took this position for both practical and philosophical reasons. From the philosophical standpoint, he believed that individuals should have the right to put in their body whatever they wish. From the practical standpoint, he thought that the costs of the war on drugs exceed the benefits.”

See the rest of TheDC’s interview with Ebenstein below on what Friedman would have advocated to fix our health care system, if Friedman ever met economist and liberal commentator Paul Krugman, what Friedman thought of John Maynard Keynes, and much more:

Why did you decide to put this together?

As I was writing my biography of Friedman, I recognized there were a number of his essays that had not been republished that it would be a substantial advantage if they were easily accessible.

How did you choose what essays of Friedman’s to include in this compilation?

There are two parts to the essays — those on politics and those on economics. The essays span Friedman’s entire career. A number of the essays are philosophical and historical. The criteria for selection were the intrinsic significance of the essays and their representativeness of Friedman’s career.

Why does Friedman matter? What is his legacy?

Friedman matters greatly! He has a tremendous legacy. His contributions during the second half of the twentieth century in economics were unparalleled. He championed an all-volunteer army, flexible international exchange rates, no inflation, less government, lower taxes, less regulation, drug legalization, school vouchers and welfare reform.