By Wendy Frost
Director of Communications, College of Business
(Aug. 11, 2009)--Celebrating the 97th birthday of the late Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman, economists recently discussed the legacy of Friedman's research during a breakfast panel at the UTSA Downtown Campus titled "What Would Milton Friedman Think?"
Hosted by the Department of Economics, the panel featured remarks by Ken Weiher, chair of the Department of Economics; John Merrifield, UTSA professor of economics; and Gary Hoover, entrepreneur and Friedman student. The speakers recounted their personal experiences with Friedman and provided insights into where Friedman stood on a variety of issues such as school choice and fiscal and monetary policy.
"Friedman was not an advocate for vouchers, but in getting the government out of education," said Merrifield, a fellow proponent of school-choice research and policy implementation. "The key is unleashing the entrepreneurial initiative -- changing the choices in education, not shuffling people around to the various choices."
As a student in Friedman's class at the University of Chicago and later as a friend and fellow proponent of the free market system, Hoover felt that Friedman would have disagreed with the recent financial interventions by the government. "I was an outlaw and maverick just like him," said Hoover. "While he is often portrayed as a conservative economist, his thinking was truly revolutionary."
Co-sponsored by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, more than 60 attended the breakfast. There were more than 50 events throughout the country commemorating the impact of Friedman and his legacy.