Saturday, July 22, 2006

An Interview With Milton and Rose Friedman

My blogging pal Brainster is discussing the most influential people of the last millenium. Well, I am not sure who to put for that, but the WSJ has an interesting interview with one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century.

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- One doesn't interview a man like Milton Friedman -- the Nobel laureate in economics in 1976 and among the five or six most consequential thinkers of the 20th century -- without doing some assiduous homework.

So I gathered his books -- reading some, re-reading others -- and made pages and pages of notes. I also emailed several intellectual heavyweights, asking them what they might enquire of Mr. Friedman -- now 94 years of age -- if they had him cornered at a cocktail party. Replies flooded back. "Inflation targeting," wrote a (marginally) younger Nobel economist. "Education," said another Nobel laureate. "Does the recent record of spending with a Republican president and Congress make him reconsider his support for the party?" wrote a man who, until a while ago, worked on economic policy in the White House. "Is there something distinctly difficult for capitalism in the Islamic world?" wondered a Middle East scholar. "What music does he listen to?" a Democratic political economist mused, unpredictably. More predictably, a big-cheese blogger was "dying" to know whether "Milton reads blogs -- and will he ever write one?"