November 19, 2006  ·  Lessig

Milton Friedman was a hero of mine when I was growing up. I devoured his (non-technical) work as a teen, and watched his “Free to Choose” every time I could (the days before Tivo).

No doubt the highpoint of the Eldred v. Ashcroft case was when I learned Friedman would sign our “Economists’ Brief“: As it was reported to me, when asked, he responded: “Only if the world ‘no brainer’ appears in it somewhere.” A reasonable man, he signed even though we couldn’t fit that word in.

His integrity to principle will be missed.

  • Kempton

    Hi Lawrence,

    Thanks you for sharing your recollection of Milton with us as he is such a great man. I created this personal entry about Rose Friedman that included some reporting from Hong Kong. I’ve some other entries about Milton, in case you and your readers like to take a look.


  • Anthony Durity

    I’m not dissing your hero Mr. Lessig. I would just like to point out to you and the readers of your blog that (as in all things) the world sees two very different Friedmans. Let me first direct your attention to a glowing tribute by the Financial Times, “Milton Friedman, economist, dies aged 94″, by Samuel Brittan (as is the case with most media outlets this will have been prepared long before the demise of Mr. Friedman) [1] and to contrast here is an obituary on the CounterPunch website, “Milton Friedman and the Economics of Empire: The Road from Serfdom”, by Greg Grandin [2].

    An interesting note – neither outlet groks free software, net neutrality, free culture and any of that economics meets hi-tech meets ethics stuff. It’s pretty much liberal anti-capitalism versus the conservative corporatocracy, as if. Not that any of ye care but I am a realist when it comes to capital but a socialist when it comes to health/welfare and cynical when it comes to majority-rule-democracy.

    Great blog, keep fighting the good fight :)
    Much respect,


  • Jim Carlile

    As much as I think conservative economists like Friedman are living in a ‘dream world,’ and that we already saw what happened in that world during much of the 19th Century, he was definitely a straight ahead guy and worthy of great respect. He was the real thing and a great sounding board for liberals.

  • David Orban

    I just received an email from Michael Robertson, founder of Linspire and other companies, that he partnered with Bob Chitester who runs the IdeaChannel to make the “Free To Choose” series available online for free!


  • bungi

    “As much as I think conservative economists like Friedman are living in a ‘dream world,’ and that we already saw what happened in that world during much of the 19th Century”

    Ah I think liberals are living in a dream world because they ignore what anti-capitalism has led to in the 20th century: mass poverty, failed economies, 100m people dead, high unemployment. They also ignore the fact that there is never a need to look at the 19th century since we have China right now undergoing the same transformation. China is experiencing lower poverty, rising living standards, better working conditions without any unions.

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