Washington History Seminar | Milton Friedman: The Last Conservative

Event Details

End: May 13, 2024

Join Jennifer Burns (Stanford Univ.), Bruce Caldwell (Duke Univ.), and Debora Spar (Harvard Univ.) for a discussion on Dr. Burns’s Book, Milton Friedman. Long considered among the twentieth century’s most influential economists, Milton Friedman was also an innovative policy thinker and a major ideological figurehead whose vision reshaped American politics. In this first full biography based on archival sources, Burns explores his complicated relationships with high-profile figures like Arthur Burns while also illuminating his frequently overlooked collaborations with women like Anna Schwartz and his wife Rose Director Friedman, who were pivotal to his success.

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Jennifer Burns is an Associate Professor of History at Stanford University and a research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. A graduate of Harvard College, she is the author of Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right (Oxford, 2009), which was also the subject of her doctoral dissertation in history at UC Berkeley.  Professor Burns been a guest on both The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report, and has published articles on conservatism, libertarianism, and liberalism in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Die Ziet, Quartz, and numerous academic journals.

Bruce Caldwell is a historian of economic thought at Duke University and the founding Director there of the Center for the History of Political Economy. For the past three decades his research has principally focused on the multi-faceted writings of the Nobel prize-winning economist and social theorist Friedrich A. Hayek. Caldwell is the author of Hayek's Challenge: An Intellectual Biography of F. A. Hayek (2004), and since 2002 has been the General Editor of The Collected Works of F.A. Hayek. In 2022 he and Hansjoerg Klausinger published Hayek: A Life, 1899-1950, the first of a two-volume full biography of Hayek. Caldwell has held research fellowships at New York University, Cambridge University, the London School of Economics, and the Hoover Institution. He is a past president as well as a Distinguished Fellow of the History of Economics Society and of the Southern Economic Association, and a Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge.  

Debora Spar is the Jaime and Josefina Chua Tiampo Professor of Business Administration at   Harvard Business School and Senior Associate Dean for Global Business and Society. Her current research focuses on issues of gender and technology, and the interplay between technological change and broader social structures. Spar tackles some of these issues in her latest book, Work Mate Marry Love: How Machines Shape Our Human Destiny. Spar served as the President of Barnard College from 2008 to 2017, and as President and CEO of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts from 2017 to 2018. During her tenure at Barnard, Spar led initiatives to highlight women’s leadership and advancement, including the creation of the Athena Center for Leadership Studies and the development of Barnard’s Global Symposium series. Before joining Barnard, Spar spent 17 years on the HBS faculty as the Spangler Family Professor as well as Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Development. A prolific writer, Spar’s books include Ruling the Waves: Cycles of Discovery, Chaos, and Wealth from the Compass to the Internet (2001), The Baby Business (2006), and Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection (2013). Spar is a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences and serves as a director of Value Retail LLC and Thermo Fisher Scientific, as well as a trustee of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She has also served on the boards of Goldman Sachs and the Wallace and Markle Foundations. Spar earned her Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University and her B.S. from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.She and her husband, Miltos Catomeris, are the parents of three grown children.