Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“I weep for the liberty of my country when I see at this early day of its “successful experiment” that corruption has been imputed to many members of the House of Representatives, and the rights of the people have been bartered for promises of office.”     Andrew Jackson

August 18, 2009

Rose Friedman, RIP

by Doug Mataconis

Rose Friedman, the wife of Milton Friedman, and an economist in her own right who co-wrote the well-known book Free to Choose: A Personal Statement and collaborated with him on many others, died today:

Aug. 18 (Bloomberg) — Rose D. Friedman, an economist whose work with her husband, Milton, promoted individual freedom and changed the way central bankers think about money’s role in the economy, has died. She was 97.

The Milton and Rose Friedman Foundation posted this annoucement:

Rose Director Friedman passed away Tuesday, August 18, 2009, in her home in Davis, California, of heart failure. While the exact date of her birth is uncertain, she is believed to have been 99 years old.

She will be remembered both as a talented economist and an influential advocate of freedom. Her economic work helped to discredit the idea of government management of the economy, rolling back policies that were hindering wealth creation and thus helping extend the blessings of prosperity to millions around the world. And as a standard-bearer for human liberty, she contributed to the galvanizing of public opinion – especially in the 1980s – against the growing encroachments of intrusive government.

She will also be remembered as both the professional partner and beloved wife and friend of her late husband of 68 years, Milton Friedman.

She was born in a small village that was then located in Russia and is now part of Ukraine. Her birth records are lost, but she believed she had been born during December 1909. When she was an infant, her mother took her and her siblings and left for America, where her father had already moved to escape threats against his life arising from anti-Semitism. They left just before that part of the countryside was devastated during World War I.

Her most important contribution was the 1980 book Free to Choose, which she co-wrote with her husband, and the accompanying ten-part PBS series. Both were highly successful – the book topped the bestseller list for five weeks – and had a profound impact on the public understanding of freedom. At a time when the nation’s confidence in its founding ideas was at an all-time low, Free to Choose played a decisive role in restoring America’s faith in liberty.

Mrs. Friedman summed up her and her husband’s career this way in her book Two Lucky People: Memoirs:

Our central theme in public advocacy has been the promotion of human freedom….it underlies our opposition to rent control and general wage and price controls, our support for educational choice, privatizing radio and television channels, an all-volunteer army, limitation of government spending, legalization of drugs, privatizing Social Security, free trade, and the deregulation of industry and private life to the fullest extent possible.

She will be missed.

H/T: Hit & Run


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