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Samuelson Friedman

The Battle Over the Free Market

September 2021


From the author of the critically acclaimed Keynes Hayek, the next great duel in the history of economics.

In 1966 two columnists joined Newsweek magazine. Their assignment: debate the world of business and economics. Paul Samuelson was a towering figure in Keynesian economics, which supported the management of the economy along lines prescribed by John Maynard Keynes’s General Theory. Milton Friedman, little known at that time outside conservative academic circles, championed “monetarism” and insisted the Federal Reserve maintain tight control over the amount of money circulating in the economy.

In the nimble hands of author and journalist Nicholas Wapshott, Samuelson and Friedman’s decades-long argument becomes a window through which to view one of the longest periods of economic turmoil in the United States. As the soaring economy of the 1950s gave way to decades stalked by declining prosperity and “stagflation”, it was a time when the theory and practice of economics became the preoccupation of politicians and the focus of national debate. It is an argument that continues today.


"Summarising the debate between the two most important economists of the second half of the 20th century might seem like a monumental task, best consigned to specialist textbooks. But this brave history of the intellectual duel between Paul Samuelson and Milton Friedman proves that assumption wrong, with its focus as much on their lives as their ideas." — Zareer Masani, Literary Review

"If you had to name the two most influential economists of the postwar decades, you would not go far wrong if you picked Paul Samuelson and Milton Friedman… As Wapshott shows, their arguments over the proper scope of government intervention and the control of inflation echo down to the present." — Adam Tooze, Financial Times

Also By: Nicholas Wapshott View all by author...



163 x 244 mm • 384 pages


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