In the closing decades of the 20th Century, no economist had a greater influence on the public policy of governments around the world than Milton Friedman. Awarded the Nobel Prize in 1976 for his groundbreaking studies of monetary history, consumption analysis and stabilization policy, he became a trusted adviser to successive Presidents of the United States. His ideas were spread around the world by a generation of economists he trained at the University of Chicago.
Friedman and his followers held that steady control of the money supply through a country's central bank, such as the Federal Reserve system in the United States, was the best instrument for stabilizing a currency, avoiding inflation and allowing the free market to go about its business, without excessive taxation or regulation.
Friedman's ideas gained widespread acceptance in the 1980s through their enthusiastic embrace by world leaders including Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. Friedman expounded his laissez faire views in a series of best-selling books and popular television programs, including Capitalism and Freedom and Free to Choose. His ideas were instrumental in the transition from communism to capitalism in Eastern Europe, and have informed the economic policies of governments from South America to the Far East.