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Influential Economist Milton Friedman Dies at 94

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

On Fridays, we focus on your money. Today we remember one of the most influential economists of the 20th century. When Milton Friedman died yesterday, he was 94. And over that long life, he had many ideas. He'll be remembered for the way he championed free markets, among others. Back in the 1960s, he said controlling the supply of money would solve inflation.

In a 1992 NPR interview, Friedman said borrowers can profit from inflation, savers tend to lose, and he said people don't blame themselves when inflation turns against them.

MILTON FRIEDMAN: Everybody recognizes that if anything bad happens to them, it's somebody else's fault. If anything good happens to him, that's his own doing. Money is a very powerful thing, which you've already noticed, when it goes right, but which can create havoc when it goes wrong.

MONTAGNE: Milton Friedman's views got more attention back in the 1970s, when high unemployment and inflation combined for what became known as stagflation. He was also not a fan of government antipoverty programs. He believed that if you wanted to fight poverty, you should give the poor more money and let them figure out how to use it.

The economist Milton Friedman died yesterday in San Francisco. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Renee Montagne
Renee Montagne, one of the best-known names in public radio, is a special correspondent and host for NPR News.