The Wall Street Journal

November 19, 2006 8:21 p.m. EST

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Q&A: Friedman in Nobel Survey
November 19, 2006 8:21 p.m.

In June 2004, The Wall Street Journal surveyed all the Nobel Prize-winning economists. Here are Milton Friedman's answers.

Q: Which economy do you expect to be the biggest 75 years from now: U.S., European Union, China?

A: China

[Milton Friedman]

Q: Which country comes closest to getting economic policy right today?

A: Hong Kong, thanks to the legacy of the British administration.

Q: Who was the most important economist of the 20th century besides you?

A: John Maynard Keynes

Q: Who deserved the Nobel but didn't get it?

A: Joan Robinson and Peter Bauer

Q: What single breakthrough in economic thought in the past 50 years has had the most significant impact on the every day lives of people?

A: Acceptance of the idea that inflation is a monetary phenomenon. It has produced by now more than two decades of relatively low inflation in most developed countries, relatively stable economic output, a high level of employment and of well being.

Q: In what sphere of life, if any, do you think it most important to limit the influence of market forces?

A: Ownership of human beings.

Q: What do you consider the world's single greatest economic challenge today?

A: Holding down the size and scope of government

Q: Do you think the fruits of the global economy will be distributed more evenly 50 years from now, or less evenly?

A: More evenly. The major sources of income differences today are between the developed and the undeveloped countries. This inter-country difference will decline as globalization spreads and more and more countries find a way to achieve economic growth and prosperity.

--David Wessel

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