Sharyl Attkisson — Stonewalled — Videos

Posted on March 18, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Computers, Computers, Documentary, Education, External Hard Drives, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, government, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Links, Literacy, Mobile Phones, National Security Agency (NSA), National Security Agency (NSA_, Non-Fiction, Philosophy, Political Correctness, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulations, Security, Spying, Strategy, Success, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Image result for Sharyl Attkisson -- Stonewalled

Sharyl Attkisson: Presidents CAN authorize ILLEGAL surveillance and nobody would ever know!

Sharyl Attkisson Talks “Stonewalled”

Sharyl Attkisson: CBS Had Hidden Clip of Obama Contradicitng Himself on the 2012 Benghazi Attack

Malzberg | Sharyl Attkisson to discuss her new book “Stonewalled” | Part 1


Malzberg | Sharyl Attkisson to discuss her new book “Stonewalled” | Part 2

Sharyl Attkisson: why she left CBS


Sharyl Attkisson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sharyl Attkisson

Attkisson on USAF B-52 in 1999, one of the first journalists to fly on a combat mission over Kosovo
Born January 26, 1961 (age 56)
Sarasota, Florida, United States
Education University of Florida
Occupation Writer, journalist, television correspondent

Sharyl Attkisson (born January 26, 1961)[1] is an American author and host of the weekly Sunday public affairs program Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson, which airs on television stations operated by the Sinclair Broadcast Group.[2] She was formerly an investigative correspondent in the Washington bureau for CBS News. She had also substituted as anchor for the CBS Evening News. She resigned from CBS News on March 10, 2014 after 21 years with the network. Her book Stonewalled reached number 3 on New York Times e-book non-fiction best seller list in November 2014[3] and number 5 on The New York Times combined print and e-book non-fiction best-seller list the same week.[4]



Early life

Attkisson was born in 1961 in Sarasota, Florida.[5] Her step-father is an orthopedic surgeon, and her brother is an emergency room physician. Attkisson graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in broadcast journalism in 1982.[6]


Attkisson began her broadcast journalism career in 1982, aged 22, as a reporter at WUFT-TV, the PBS station in Gainesville, Florida. She later worked as an anchor and reporter at WTVX-TV Fort Pierce/West Palm Beach, Florida from 1982–1985, WBNS-TV, the CBS affiliate in Columbus, Ohio from 1985–86, and WTVT Tampa, Florida (1986–1990).[7]


From 1990–1993, Attkisson was an anchor for CNN, and also served as a key anchor for CBS space exploration coverage in 1993.[8] Attkisson left CNN in 1993,[9] moving to CBS, where she anchored the television news broadcast CBS News Up to the Minute and became an investigative correspondent based in Washington, D.C.[7]

She served on the University of Florida‘s Journalism College Advisory Board (1993–1997) and was its chair in 1996.[7] The University gave her an Outstanding Achievement Award in 1997. From 1997 to 2003, Attkisson simultaneously hosted CBS News Up to the Minute and the PBS health-news magazine HealthWeek.[10]


Attkisson received an Investigative Reporters and Editors (I.R.E.) Finalist award for Dangerous Drugs in 2000.[11] In 2001, Attkisson received an Investigative Emmy Award nomination for Firestone Tire Fiasco from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.[12]

In 2002, she co-authored a college textbook, Writing Right for Broadcast and Internet News; later that same year she won an Emmy Award for her Investigative Journalism about the American Red Cross.[7] The award was presented in New York City on September 10, 2002.[13] Attkisson was part of the CBS News team that received RTNDA-Edward R. Murrow Awards in 2005 for Overall Excellence.[11]

In 2006, Attkisson served as Capitol Hill correspondent for CBS,[14] as one of a small number of female anchors covering the 2006 midterms.[15] Attkisson was part of the CBS News team that received RTNDA-Edward R. Murrow Awards in 2008 for Overall Excellence.[11]

In 2008, Attkisson reported that a claim by Hillary Clinton to have dodged sniper fire in Bosnia was unfounded: Clinton’s trip to Bosnia was risky, Attkisson said, but no real bullets were dodged. Attkisson was on the trip with Clinton.[16] The day after Attkisson’s report on the CBS Evening News, Clinton admitted there was no sniper fire and said she “misspoke.” [17][18]In 2009, Attkisson won an Investigative Emmy Award for Business and Financial Reporting for her exclusive reports on the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and the bank bailout.[11] The award was presented on December 7 at Fordham University‘s Lincoln Center Campus in New York City.[19]


Attkisson returned to the University of Florida as a keynote speaker at the College of Journalism and Communications in 2010.[6] That same year, she received an Emmy Award nomination for her investigations into members of Congress, and she also received a 2010 Emmy Award nomination for her investigation into waste of tax dollars.[20] In July 2011, Attkisson was nominated for an Emmy Award for her Follow the Money investigations into Congressional travel to the Copenhagen climate summit, and problems with aid to Haiti earthquake victims.[11][21]

In 2011, Paul Offit criticized Attkisson’s reporting on vaccines in his book Deadly Choices as “damning by association” and lacking sufficient evidence.[22] Dr. Offit has been criticized for providing false information about Attkisson and his vaccine industry ties. [23] Attkisson has been identified in the medical literature as using problematic rhetorical tactics that “imply that because there is no conclusive answer to certain problems, vaccines remain a plausible culprit.”[24] Attkisson’s reporting was cited favorably in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine by neurosurgeon Jon Poling who wrote that Offit had “misrepresented” the case of Hannah Poling v. HHS, and that Offit’s remarks on the case were “not evidence based.”[25]

In 2012, CBS News accepted an Investigative Reporting Award given to Attkisson’s reporting on ATF’s Fast and Furious gunwalker controversy. The award was from Accuracy in Media, a non-profit news media watchdog group, and was presented at a Conservative Political Action Conference.[26]

In June 2012, Attkisson’s investigative reporting for the Gunwalker story also won the CBS Evening News the Radio and Television News Directors Association’s National Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Video Investigative Reporting. The award was presented October 8, 2012 in New York City.[27] In July 2012, Attkisson’s Gunwalker: Fast and Furious reporting received an Emmy Award[28]

On March 10, 2014, Attkisson resigned from CBS News.[29] She stated that the parting was “amicable”.[30] Politico reported that according to sources within CBS there had been tensions leading to “months of hard-fought negotiations” – that Attkisson had been frustrated over what she perceived to be the network’s liberal bias and lack of dedication to investigative reporting, as well as issues she had with the network’s corporate partners, while some[who?] within the network saw her reporting as agenda-driven and doubted her impartiality.[30]

Later that year came the release of her New York Times Best Seller, Stonewalled: One Reporter’s Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington (Harpers),[4] in which she accused CBS of protecting the Obama administration by not giving enough coverage to such stories as the 2012 Benghazi attack and slow initial enrollments under Obamacare.[31]

In February 2015, Attkisson gave a TEDx talk at the University of Nevada. In the talk, she said that astroturfing was swaying public opinion, legislation and media outlets.[32]

Report of Attkisson’s computer being hacked[edit]

In May 2013, while still employed at CBS, Attkisson alleged that her personal and work computers had been “compromised” for more than two years.[33] CBS News stated that it had investigated her work computer and found evidence of multiple unauthorized accesses by a third party in late 2012.[34] The U.S. Department of Justice denied any involvement.[35] In her 2014 book, she alleged that her personal computer was hacked with keystroke logging spyware, enabling an intruder to read all her e-mail messages and gain access to the passwords for her financial accounts.[36]

In late January 2015, Attkisson appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee[37] during a confirmation hearing for Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s nominee to replace outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder. Attkisson’s testimony concentrated on the Justice Department under Holder and was not related to Lynch’s qualifications.[by whom?] As part of her appearance in front of that committee, a report by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) was released[38] stating that “their investigation was not able to substantiate… allegations that Attkisson’s computers were subject to remote intrusions by the FBI, other government personnel, or otherwise” and the deletion seen in Attkinsson’s video “appeared to be caused by the backspace key being stuck, rather than a remote intrusion”.[39][40][41] “CBS News told the OIG that they did not conduct any analysis on her personal computer.”[42]

In February 2015, The Washington Examiner clarified that the OIG did not examine Attkisson’s compromised CBS News computer,[42] the OIG only inspected Attkisson’s personal devices.[43]

In March 2015, Attkisson and her family filed a suit against Holder, Patrick R. Donahoe and unnamed agents of the US Department of Justice, the US Postal Service and the United States in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia claiming to have been subject to illegal surveillance activities.[44][45]

Personal life[edit]

Attkisson has reached third-degree black belt in taekwondo.[5] She is married and has a daughter.[46]


  1. Jump up^ Gill, Kay (2007). Who, a Directory of Prominent People. Omnigraphics. ISBN 9780780808096. Retrieved December 4, 2012.
  2. Jump up^ Erik Wemple (April 22, 2015). “Sinclair Broadcast Group to launch Sunday show hosted by Sharyl Attkisson”. The Washington Post. Nash Holdings LLC. Retrieved November 22, 2015.
  3. Jump up^ “NYT Best Seller List”. The New York Times. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b “Best Sellers: Combined Print & E-Book Nonfiction”. The New York Times]]. November 23, 2014. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b “Sharyl Attkisson, Investigative Correspondent”. CBS. Archived from the original on November 21, 2013. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
  6. ^ Jump up to:a b “21st Century Newsroom”. University of Florida. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
  7. ^ Jump up to:a b c d “Sharyl Attkisson full biography”. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on August 16, 2013. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
  8. Jump up^ Hogan, Alfred. “Televising the Space Age: A descriptive chronology of CBS News special coverage of space exploration from 1957 to 2003” (PDF). University of Maryland. p. 260. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
  9. Jump up^ “TV Notes”. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May 28, 1993. p. 42. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
  10. Jump up^ “Sharyl Attkisson–About This Person”. The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
  11. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e “Sharyl Attkisson profile”. CBS News. Archived from the original on November 19, 2013. Retrieved August 30, 2012.
  12. Jump up^ “The 22nd Annual News and Documentary Emmy Award Nominees Announced by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences” (PDF). National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. July 19, 2001. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 29, 2014. Retrieved December 29, 2014. Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson
  13. Jump up^ “23rd Annua; News & Documentary Emmy Awards – With Prominent 9/11 Coverage”. Archived from the original on November 23, 2010. Retrieved August 30, 2012.
  14. Jump up^ “Sharyl Attkisson Is Named Cbs News Capitol Hill Correspondent”. CBS Corporation. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  15. Jump up^ Stanley, Alessandra (November 8, 2006). “Election Coverage Still a Men’s Club”. The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
  16. Jump up^ “Video shows tarmac welcome, no snipers”. Tampa Bay Times. March 25, 2008. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  17. Jump up^ “Clinton says she “misspoke’ about dodging sniper fire”. New York Times. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  18. Jump up^ “Clinton say she “misspoke” about sniper fire”. CNN. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  19. Jump up^ “7th Annual Business & Financial Emmy Awards – Nominations”. Retrieved August 30, 2012.
  20. Jump up^ “Full List of Nominations for the 2010 News and Documentary Emmy Awards: Television Industry news, TV ratings, analysis, celebrity event photos”. TVWeek. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  21. Jump up^ Attkisson 2011 Emmy nomination,; accessed October 28, 2014.
  22. Jump up^ Offit, Paul (2011). Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All. ISBN 0465023568.
  23. Jump up^ “Corrections for April 18”. Orange County Register. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  24. Jump up^ Kata, Anna (28 May 2012). “Anti-vaccine activists, Web 2.0, and the postmodern paradigm – An overview of tactics and tropes used online by the anti-vaccination movement”. Vaccine. 30 (25): 3778–3779. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.11.112.
  25. Jump up^ Poling, Jon (7 August 2008). “Vaccines and Autism Revisited”. NEJM. 359 (10): 655–656. doi:10.1056/NEJMc086269.
  26. Jump up^ “Loesch, Attkisson to receive AIM awards”. Politico. February 7, 2012. Retrieved February 10, 2012.
  27. Jump up^ “2012 National Edward R. Murrow Award Winners”. Radio Television Digital News Association. Retrieved June 13, 2012.
  28. Jump up^ “33rd Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards nominations” (PDF). Retrieved August 30, 2012.
  29. Jump up^ Macneal, Caitlin (March 10, 2014). “CBS Investigative Reporter Sharyl Attkisson Resigns From Network”. Talking Points Memo. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  30. ^ Jump up to:a b Byers, Dylan (March 10, 2014). “Sharyl Attkisson resigns from CBS News”. Politico. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  31. Jump up^ Smith, Kyle (October 25, 2014), “Ex-CBS reporter’s book reveals how liberal media protects Obama”, New York Post, retrieved November 3, 2014
  32. Jump up^ “Astroturf and manipulation of media messages”. TEDxUniversityofNevada. February 6, 2015. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  33. Jump up^ Mirkinson, Jack (May 21, 2013). “CBS’ Sharyl Attkisson: My Computers Were Compromised, ‘Could Be Some Relationship’ To DOJ Scandals”. The Huffington Post. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  34. Jump up^ “CBS News Confirms Sharyl Attkisson’s Computer Breached”. The Huffington Post. June 14, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  35. Jump up^ “Sharyl Attkisson’s Computer Not Compromised, DOJ Says”. The Huffington Post. May 22, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  36. Jump up^ Smith, Kyle; Golding, Bruce (October 27, 2014), “Ex-CBS reporter: Government agency bugged my computer”, New York Post, retrieved October 28, 2014
  37. Jump up^ “Why is Sharyl Attkisson testifying at Loretta Lynch’s confirmation hearing?”. Washington Post.
  38. Jump up^ “DOJ OIG Report – Sharyl Attkisson”.
  39. Jump up^ Hattem, Julian. “Watchdog: Attkisson wasn’t hacked, had ‘delete’ key stuck”. TheHill. Retrieved 2016-04-05.
  40. Jump up^ Groch-Begley, Hannah; Strupp, Joe (October 31, 2014). “Computer Security Experts: Attkisson Video Of Purported “Hacking” Likely Just A Stuck Backspace Key”. Media Matters for America. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  41. Jump up^ Fisher, Max (October 31, 2014). “The video of Sharyl Attkisson getting “hacked” actually just shows a stuck delete key”. Vox. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  42. ^ Jump up to:a b “Media Matters report on Attkisson claims”. Media Matters for America. January 29, 2015.
  43. Jump up^ T. Becket Adams (February 3, 2015). “Sharyl Attkisson: What was left out of reports on hacking”. The Washington Examiner. Retrieved 22 November 2015. The IG did not rule out computer intrusions. It did not substantiate but neither did it rule out.
  44. Jump up^ Attkisson sues government over computer intrusions, Washington Post; Retrieved March 6, 2015.
  45. Jump up^ Editorial Opinion re Attkisson, Washington Post; Retrieved March 6, 2015.
  46. Jump up^ “Attkisson biography”. Retrieved March 11, 2014.

External links[edit]

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

National Security Agency Is Spying On All American Who Use The Internet and Telephone System and They Collect and Store All Your Communications — Includes Trump and Associates — No Warrant Required If President Obama Designates You A Target — Congress Is Enabling The Turnkey Two Party Tyranny — Warrentless Searches — Congress Does Nothing To Stop It! — Videos

Posted on March 17, 2017. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Books, British History, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Communications, Computers, Computers, Congress, conservatives, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Data, Data Storage, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Demographics, Documentary, European History, External Hard Drives, External Hard Drives, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Communications Commission, Federal Government, Friends, government spending, Heroes, history, Illegal, Immigration, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), IRS, Islam, Islam, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Middle East, National Security Agency (NSA), National Security Agency (NSA_, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Politics, Press, Programming, Psychology, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulations, Religion, Security, Sociology, Space, Spying, Strategy, Supreme Court, Systems, Talk Radio, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Television, Terrorism, Video, Wahhabism, War, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Image result for National security agencyImage result for NSA utah data center

Image result for NSA utah data centerImage result for NSA utah data centerImage result for National security agencyImage result for National security agency

Obama launched TWO criminal investigations on Trump׃ no evidence found

The O’Reilly Factor March 18, 2017 Fox News Pres Trump March 18, 2017

Edward Snowden Vault 7 ” Wikileaks” Obama Targeting Trump Tower Live from Russia Stream 14 03 2017

Former NSA Employee, Bill Binney, Breaks Silence Confirms Trump Wiretapping claims


NSA Whistleblower William Binney on The Laura Ingraham Show (3/10/2017)

Sean Hannity talks to Mark Levin , Jay Sekulow & Bill Binney about POTUS wiretapping claims


Whistleblower: NSA Still Collecting Data On Every U.S. Citizen

william binney ex nsa intelligence agent discusses trump leaks with lou dobbs

Sharyl Attkisson: Presidents CAN authorize ILLEGAL surveillance and nobody would ever know!

Malzberg | Sharyl Attkisson to discuss her new book “Stonewalled” | Part 1


Malzberg | Sharyl Attkisson to discuss her new book “Stonewalled” | Part 2

Wyden: No to warrantless searches by the FBI through National Security Letters

NSA Whistleblower: Everyone in US under virtual surveillance, all info stored, no matter the post

William Binney – The Government is Profiling You (The NSA is Spying on You)

NSA Surveillance and What To Do About It

Taking a Look at the NSA’s Massive Data Center

NSA’s Largest Spy Center Located in Utah (What you need to know)

NSA Whistleblower William Binney: The Future of FREEDOM

‘State of Surveillance’ with Edward Snowden and Shane Smith (FULL EPISODE)

Edward Snowden Full Interview on Trump, Petraeus, & Having ‘No Regrets’

DOCUMENTARY: Edward Snowden – Terminal F (2015)

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things’

NSA paying US Companies hundreds of millions of dollars for access to data

“You’re Being Watched”: Edward Snowden Emerges as Source Behind Explosive Revelations of NSA Spying

Does the NSA Record Phone Calls? Glenn Greenwald on Warrentless Domestic Surveillance (2007)

Published on Jul 8, 2013

The NSA warrantless surveillance controversy (AKA “Warrantless Wiretapping”) concerns surveillance of persons within the United States during the collection of foreign intelligence by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) as part of the war on terror. Under this program, referred to by the Bush administration as the “terrorist surveillance program”, part of the broader President’s Surveillance Program, the NSA was authorized by executive order to monitor, without search warrants, the phone calls, Internet activity (Web, e-mail, etc.), text messaging, and other communication involving any party believed by the NSA to be outside the U.S., even if the other end of the communication lies within the U.S. Critics, however, claimed that it was in an effort to attempt to silence critics of the Bush Administration and their handling of several hot button issues during its tenure. Under public pressure, the Bush administration ceased the warrantless wiretapping program in January 2007 and returned review of surveillance to the FISA court. Subsequently, in 2008 Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which relaxed some of the original FISA court requirements.

During the Obama Administration, the NSA has officially continued operating under the new FISA guidelines. However, in April 2009 officials at the United States Department of Justice acknowledged that the NSA had engaged in “overcollection” of domestic communications in excess of the FISA court’s authority, but claimed that the acts were unintentional and had since been rectified.

All wiretapping of American citizens by the National Security Agency requires a warrant from a three-judge court set up under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. After the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed the Patriot Act, which granted the President broad powers to fight a war against terrorism. The George W. Bush administration used these powers to bypass the FISA court and directed the NSA to spy directly on al Qaeda in a new NSA electronic surveillance program. Reports at the time indicate that an “apparently accidental” “glitch” resulted in the interception of communications that were purely domestic in nature.[5] This action was challenged by a number of groups, including Congress, as unconstitutional.

The exact scope of the program is not known, but the NSA is or was provided total, unsupervised access to all fiber-optic communications going between some of the nation’s largest telecommunication companies’ major interconnected locations, including phone conversations, email, web browsing, and corporate private network traffic.[6] Critics said that such “domestic” intercepts required FISC authorization under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.[7] The Bush administration maintained that the authorized intercepts are not domestic but rather foreign intelligence integral to the conduct of war and that the warrant requirements of FISA were implicitly superseded by the subsequent passage of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF).[8] FISA makes it illegal to intentionally engage in electronic surveillance under appearance of an official act or to disclose or use information obtained by electronic surveillance under appearance of an official act knowing that it was not authorized by statute; this is punishable with a fine of up to $10,000 or up to five years in prison, or both.[9] In addition, the Wiretap Act prohibits any person from illegally intercepting, disclosing, using or divulging phone calls or electronic communications; this is punishable with a fine or up to five years in prison, or both.[10]

After an article about the program, (which had been code-named Stellar Wind), was published in The New York Times on December 16, 2005, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales confirmed its existence.[11][12][13] The Times had posted the exclusive story on their website the night before, after learning that the Bush administration was considering seeking a Pentagon-Papers-style court injunction to block its publication.[14] Critics of The Times have alleged that executive editor Bill Keller had withheld the story from publication since before the 2004 Presidential election, and that the story that was ultimately published by The Times was essentially the same as reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau had submitted in 2004.[15] In a December 2008 interview with Newsweek, former Justice Department employee Thomas Tamm revealed himself to be the initial whistle-blower to The Times. The FBI began investigating leaks about the program in 2005, with 25 agents and 5 prosecutors on the case.

FBI’s Patriot Act Abuse of National Security Letters and illegal NSA spying

If you think you can handle the truth, well here it is folks

National Security Agency

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“NSA” redirects here. For other uses, see NSA (disambiguation) and National Security Agency (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with NASA or National Security Council.
National Security Agency
Seal of the U.S. National Security Agency.svg

Seal of the National Security Agency
Flag of the U.S. National Security Agency.svg

Flag of the National Security Agency
National Security Agency headquarters, Fort Meade, Maryland.jpg
NSA Headquarters, Fort Meade, Maryland
Agency overview
Formed November 4, 1952; 64 years ago[1]
Preceding agency
  • Armed Forces Security Agency
Headquarters Fort Meade, Maryland, U.S.
39°6′32″N 76°46′17″WCoordinates: 39°6′32″N 76°46′17″W
Motto “Defending Our Nation. Securing The Future.”
Employees Classified (30,000–40,000 estimate)[2][3][4][5]
Annual budget Classified (estimated $10.8 billion, 2013)[6][7]
Agency executives
Parent agency United States Department of Defense

The National Security Agency (NSA) is an intelligence organization of the United States federal government responsible for global monitoring, collection, and processing of information and data for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes, a discipline known as signals intelligence (SIGINT). NSA is concurrently charged with protection of U.S. government communications and information systems against penetration and network warfare.[8][9] Although many of NSA’s programs rely on “passive” electronic collection, the agency is authorized to accomplish its mission through active clandestine means,[10] among which are physically bugging electronic systems[11] and allegedly engaging in sabotage through subversive software.[12][13] Moreover, NSA maintains physical presence in a large number of countries across the globe, where its Special Collection Service (SCS) inserts eavesdropping devices in difficult-to-reach places. SCS collection tactics allegedly encompass “close surveillance, burglary, wiretapping, breaking and entering”.[14][15]

Unlike the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), both of which specialize primarily in foreign human espionage, NSA does not unilaterally conduct human-source intelligence gathering, despite often being portrayed so in popular culture. Instead, NSA is entrusted with assistance to and coordination of SIGINT elements at other government organizations, which are prevented by law from engaging in such activities without the approval of the NSA via the Defense Secretary.[16] As part of these streamlining responsibilities, the agency has a co-located organization called the Central Security Service (CSS), which was created to facilitate cooperation between NSA and other U.S. military cryptanalysis components. Additionally, the NSA Director simultaneously serves as the Commander of the United States Cyber Command and as Chief of the Central Security Service.

Originating as a unit to decipher coded communications in World War II, it was officially formed as the NSA by President Harry S. Truman in 1952. Since then, it has become one of the largest U.S. intelligence organizations in terms of personnel and budget,[6][17] operating as part of the Department of Defense and simultaneously reporting to the Director of National Intelligence.

NSA surveillance has been a matter of political controversy on several occasions, such as its spying on anti-Vietnam-war leaders or economic espionage. In 2013, the extent of some of the NSA’s secret surveillance programs was revealed to the public by Edward Snowden. According to the leaked documents, the NSA intercepts the communications of over a billion people worldwide, many of whom are United States citizens, and tracks the movement of hundreds of millions of people using cellphones. Internationally, research has pointed to the NSA’s ability to surveil the domestic Internet traffic of foreign countries through “boomerang routing”.[18]




Army predecessor

The origins of the National Security Agency can be traced back to April 28, 1917, three weeks after the U.S. Congress declared war on Germany in World War I. A code and cipher decryption unit was established as the Cable and Telegraph Section which was also known as the Cipher Bureau. It was headquartered in Washington, D.C. and was part of the war effort under the executive branch without direct Congressional authorization. During the course of the war it was relocated in the army’s organizational chart several times. On July 5, 1917, Herbert O. Yardley was assigned to head the unit. At that point, the unit consisted of Yardley and two civilian clerks. It absorbed the navy’s cryptoanalysis functions in July 1918. World War I ended on November 11, 1918, and MI-8 moved to New York City on May 20, 1919, where it continued intelligence activities as the Code Compilation Company under the direction of Yardley.[19][20]

Black Chamber

Western Union allowed MI-8 to monitor telegraphic communications passing through the company’s wires until 1929.[21]

MI-8 also operated the so-called “Black Chamber“.[22] The Black Chamber was located on East 37th Street in Manhattan. Its purpose was to crack the communications codes of foreign governments. Jointly supported by the State Department and the War Department, the chamber persuaded Western Union, the largest U.S. telegram company, to allow government officials to monitor private communications passing through the company’s wires.[23]

Other “Black Chambers” were also found in Europe. They were established by the French and British governments to read the letters of targeted individuals, employing a variety of techniques to surreptitiously open, copy, and reseal correspondence before forwarding it to unsuspecting recipients.[24]

Despite the American Black Chamber’s initial successes, it was shut down in 1929 by U.S. Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson, who defended his decision by stating: “Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail”.[21]

World War II and its aftermath

During World War II, the Signal Security Agency (SSA) was created to intercept and decipher the communications of the Axis powers.[25] When the war ended, the SSA was reorganized as the Army Security Agency (ASA), and it was placed under the leadership of the Director of Military Intelligence.[25]

On May 20, 1949, all cryptologic activities were centralized under a national organization called the Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA).[25]This organization was originally established within the U.S. Department of Defense under the command of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[26] The AFSA was tasked to direct Department of Defense communications and electronic intelligence activities, except those of U.S. military intelligence units.[26] However, the AFSA was unable to centralize communications intelligence and failed to coordinate with civilian agencies that shared its interests such as the Department of State, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).[26] In December 1951, President Harry S. Truman ordered a panel to investigate how AFSA had failed to achieve its goals. The results of the investigation led to improvements and its redesignation as the National Security Agency.[27]

The agency was formally established by Truman in a memorandum of October 24, 1952, that revised National Security Council Intelligence Directive (NSCID) 9.[28] Since President Truman’s memo was a classified document,[28] the existence of the NSA was not known to the public at that time. Due to its ultra-secrecy the U.S. intelligence community referred to the NSA as “No Such Agency”.[29]

Vietnam War

In the 1960s, the NSA played a key role in expanding America’s commitment to the Vietnam War by providing evidence of a North Vietnamese attack on the American destroyer USS Maddox during the Gulf of Tonkin incident.[30]

A secret operation, code-named “MINARET“, was set up by the NSA to monitor the phone communications of Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker, as well as major civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr., and prominent U.S. journalists and athletes who criticized the Vietnam War.[31] However, the project turned out to be controversial, and an internal review by the NSA concluded that its Minaret program was “disreputable if not outright illegal”.[31]

The NSA mounted a major effort to secure tactical communications among U.S. forces during the war with mixed success. The NESTOR family of compatible secure voice systems it developed was widely deployed during the Vietnam War, with about 30,000 NESTOR sets produced. However a variety of technical and operational problems limited their use, allowing the North Vietnamese to exploit intercepted U.S. communications.[32]:Vol I, p.79

Church Committee hearings

Further information: Watergate scandal and Church Committee

In the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, a congressional hearing in 1975 led by Sen. Frank Church[33] revealed that the NSA, in collaboration with Britain’s SIGINT intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), had routinely intercepted the international communications of prominent anti-Vietnam war leaders such as Jane Fonda and Dr. Benjamin Spock.[34] Following the resignation of President Richard Nixon, there were several investigations of suspected misuse of FBI, CIA and NSA facilities.[35] Senator Frank Church uncovered previously unknown activity,[35]such as a CIA plot (ordered by the administration of President John F. Kennedy) to assassinate Fidel Castro.[36] The investigation also uncovered NSA’s wiretaps on targeted American citizens.[37]

After the Church Committee hearings, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 was passed into law. This was designed to limit the practice of mass surveillance in the United States.[35]

From 1980s to 1990s

In 1986, the NSA intercepted the communications of the Libyan government during the immediate aftermath of the Berlin discotheque bombing. The White House asserted that the NSA interception had provided “irrefutable” evidence that Libya was behind the bombing, which U.S. President Ronald Reagan cited as a justification for the 1986 United States bombing of Libya.[38][39]

In 1999, a multi-year investigation by the European Parliament highlighted the NSA’s role in economic espionage in a report entitled ‘Development of Surveillance Technology and Risk of Abuse of Economic Information’.[40] That year, the NSA founded the NSA Hall of Honor, a memorial at the National Cryptologic Museum in Fort Meade, Maryland.[41] The memorial is a, “tribute to the pioneers and heroes who have made significant and long-lasting contributions to American cryptology”.[41] NSA employees must be retired for more than fifteen years to qualify for the memorial.[41]

NSA’s infrastructure deteriorated in the 1990s as defense budget cuts resulted in maintenance deferrals. On January 24, 2000, NSA headquarters suffered a total network outage for three days caused by an overloaded network. Incoming traffic was successfully stored on agency servers, but it could not be directed and processed. The agency carried out emergency repairs at a cost of $3 million to get the system running again. (Some incoming traffic was also directed instead to Britain’s GCHQ for the time being.) Director Michael Hayden called the outage a “wake-up call” for the need to invest in the agency’s infrastructure.[42]

War on Terror

After Osama bin Laden moved to Afghanistan in the 1980s, the NSA recorded all of his phone calls via satellite, logging over 2,000 minutes of conversation[43]

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the NSA created new IT systems to deal with the flood of information from new technologies like the Internet and cellphones. ThinThread contained advanced data mining capabilities. It also had a “privacy mechanism”; surveillance was stored encrypted; decryption required a warrant. The research done under this program may have contributed to the technology used in later systems. ThinThread was cancelled when Michael Hayden chose Trailblazer, which did not include ThinThread’s privacy system.[44]

Trailblazer Project ramped up in 2002. SAIC, Boeing, CSC, IBM, and Litton worked on it. Some NSA whistleblowers complained internally about major problems surrounding Trailblazer. This led to investigations by Congress and the NSA and DoD Inspectors General. The project was cancelled in early 2004. Several whistleblowers were later arrested and charged with violating federal espionage laws.

Turbulence started in 2005. It was developed in small, inexpensive “test” pieces, rather than one grand plan like Trailblazer. It also included offensive cyber-warfare capabilities, like injecting malware into remote computers. Congress criticized Turbulence in 2007 for having similar bureaucratic problems as Trailblazer.[45] It was to be a realization of information processing at higher speeds in cyberspace.[46]

Global surveillance disclosures

The massive extent of the NSA’s spying, both foreign and domestic, was revealed to the public in a series of detailed disclosures of internal NSA documents beginning in June 2013. Most of the disclosures were leaked by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden.

Scope of surveillance

It was revealed that the NSA intercepts telephone and Internet communications of over a billion people worldwide, seeking information on terrorism as well as foreign politics, economics[47] and “commercial secrets”.[48] In a declassified document it was revealed that 17,835 phone lines were on an improperly permitted “alert list” from 2006 to 2009 in breach of compliance, which tagged these phone lines for daily monitoring.[49][50][51] Eleven percent of these monitored phone lines met the agency’s legal standard for “reasonably articulable suspicion” (RAS).[49][52]

A dedicated unit of the NSA locates targets for the CIA for extrajudicial assassination in the Middle East.[53] The NSA has also spied extensively on the European Union, the United Nations and numerous governments including allies and trading partners in Europe, South America and Asia.[54][55]

The NSA tracks the locations of hundreds of millions of cellphones per day, allowing it to map people’s movements and relationships in detail.[56]It reportedly has access to all communications made via Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, YouTube, AOL, Skype, Apple and Paltalk,[57] and collects hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal email and instant messaging accounts each year.[58] It has also managed to weaken much of the encryption used on the Internet (by collaborating with, coercing or otherwise infiltrating numerous technology companies), so that the majority of Internet privacy is now vulnerable to the NSA and other attackers.[59][60]

Domestically, the NSA collects and stores metadata records of phone calls,[61] including over 120 million US Verizon subscribers,[62] as well as Internet communications,[57] relying on a secret interpretation of the Patriot Act whereby the entirety of US communications may be considered “relevant” to a terrorism investigation if it is expected that even a tiny minority may relate to terrorism.[63] The NSA supplies foreign intercepts to the DEA, IRS and other law enforcement agencies, who use these to initiate criminal investigations. Federal agents are then instructed to “recreate” the investigative trail via parallel construction.[64]

The NSA also spies on influential Muslims to obtain information that could be used to discredit them, such as their use of pornography. The targets, both domestic and abroad, are not suspected of any crime but hold religious or political views deemed “radical” by the NSA.[65]

Although NSA’s surveillance activities are controversial, government agencies and private enterprises have common needs, and sometimes cooperate at subtle and complex technical levels. Big data is becoming more advantageous, justifying the cost of required computer hardware, and social media lead the trend. The interests of NSA and Silicon Valley began to converge as advances in computer storage technology drastically reduced the costs of storing enormous amounts of data and at the same time the value of the data for use in consumer marketing began to rise. On the other hand, social media sites are growing as voluntary data mining operations on a scale that rivals or exceeds anything the government could attempt on its own.[66]

According to a report in The Washington Post in July 2014, relying on information provided by Snowden, 90% of those placed under surveillance in the U.S. are ordinary Americans, and are not the intended targets. The newspaper said it had examined documents including emails, text messages, and online accounts that support the claim.[67]

Legal accountability

Despite President Obama’s claims that these programs have congressional oversight, members of Congress were unaware of the existence of these NSA programs or the secret interpretation of the Patriot Act, and have consistently been denied access to basic information about them.[68] Obama has also claimed that there are legal checks in place to prevent inappropriate access of data and that there have been no examples of abuse;[69] however, the secret FISC court charged with regulating the NSA’s activities is, according to its chief judge, incapable of investigating or verifying how often the NSA breaks even its own secret rules.[70] It has since been reported that the NSA violated its own rules on data access thousands of times a year, many of these violations involving large-scale data interceptions;[71] and that NSA officers have even used data intercepts to spy on love interests.[72] The NSA has “generally disregarded the special rules for disseminating United States person information” by illegally sharing its intercepts with other law enforcement agencies.[73] A March 2009 opinion of the FISC court, released by court order, states that protocols restricting data queries had been “so frequently and systemically violated that it can be fairly said that this critical element of the overall … regime has never functioned effectively.”[74][75] In 2011 the same court noted that the “volume and nature” of the NSA’s bulk foreign Internet intercepts was “fundamentally different from what the court had been led to believe”.[73] Email contact lists (including those of US citizens) are collected at numerous foreign locations to work around the illegality of doing so on US soil.[58]

Legal opinions on the NSA’s bulk collection program have differed. In mid-December 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon ruled that the “almost-Orwellian” program likely violates the Constitution, and wrote, “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval. Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment. Indeed, I have little doubt that the author of our Constitution, James Madison, who cautioned us to beware ‘the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power,’ would be aghast.”[76]

Later that month, U.S. District Judge William Pauley ruled that the NSA’s collection of telephone records is legal and valuable in the fight against terrorism. In his opinion, he wrote, “a bulk telephony metadata collection program [is] a wide net that could find and isolate gossamer contacts among suspected terrorists in an ocean of seemingly disconnected data” and noted that a similar collection of data prior to 9/11 might have prevented the attack.[77]

An October 2014 United Nations report condemned mass surveillance by the United States and other countries as violating multiple international treaties and conventions that guarantee core privacy rights.[78]

Official responses

On March 20, 2013 the Director of National Intelligence, Lieutenant General James Clapper, testified before Congress that the NSA does not wittingly collect any kind of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans, but he retracted this in June after details of the PRISM program were published, and stated instead that meta-data of phone and Internet traffic are collected, but no actual message contents.[79] This was corroborated by the NSA Director, General Keith Alexander, before it was revealed that the XKeyscore program collects the contents of millions of emails from US citizens without warrant, as well as “nearly everything a user does on the Internet”. Alexander later admitted that “content” is collected, but stated that it is simply stored and never analyzed or searched unless there is “a nexus to al-Qaida or other terrorist groups”.[69]

Regarding the necessity of these NSA programs, Alexander stated on June 27 that the NSA’s bulk phone and Internet intercepts had been instrumental in preventing 54 terrorist “events”, including 13 in the US, and in all but one of these cases had provided the initial tip to “unravel the threat stream”.[80] On July 31 NSA Deputy Director John Inglis conceded to the Senate that these intercepts had not been vital in stopping any terrorist attacks, but were “close” to vital in identifying and convicting four San Diego men for sending US$8,930 to Al-Shabaab, a militia that conducts terrorism in Somalia.[81][82][83]

The U.S. government has aggressively sought to dismiss and challenge Fourth Amendment cases raised against it, and has granted retroactive immunity to ISPs and telecoms participating in domestic surveillance.[84][85] The U.S. military has acknowledged blocking access to parts of The Guardian website for thousands of defense personnel across the country,[86][87] and blocking the entire Guardian website for personnel stationed throughout Afghanistan, the Middle East, and South Asia.[88]

Organizational structure

Michael S. Rogers, the director of the NSA.

The NSA is led by the Director of the National Security Agency (DIRNSA), who also serves as Chief of the Central Security Service (CHCSS) and Commander of the United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) and is the highest-ranking military official of these organizations. He is assisted by a Deputy Director, who is the highest-ranking civilian within the NSA/CSS.

NSA also has an Inspector General, head of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), a General Counsel, head of the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) and a Director of Compliance, who is head of the Office of the Director of Compliance (ODOC).[89]

Unlike other intelligence organizations such as CIA or DIA, NSA has always been particularly reticent concerning its internal organizational structure.

As of the mid-1990s, the National Security Agency was organized into five Directorates:

  • The Operations Directorate, which was responsible for SIGINT collection and processing.
  • The Technology and Systems Directorate, which develops new technologies for SIGINT collection and processing.
  • The Information Systems Security Directorate, which was responsible for NSA’s communications and information security missions.
  • The Plans, Policy and Programs Directorate, which provided staff support and general direction for the Agency.
  • The Support Services Directorate, which provided logistical and administrative support activities.[90]

Each of these directorates consisted of several groups or elements, designated by a letter. There were for example the A Group, which was responsible for all SIGINT operations against the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and G Group, which was responsible for SIGINT related to all non-communist countries. These groups were divided in units designated by an additional number, like unit A5 for breaking Soviet codes, and G6, being the office for the Middle East, North Africa, Cuba, Central and South America.[91][92]


As of 2013, NSA has about a dozen directorates, which are designated by a letter, although not all of them are publicly known. The directorates are divided in divisions and units starting with the letter of the parent directorate, followed by a number for the division, the sub-unit or a sub-sub-unit.

The main elements of the organizational structure of the NSA are:[93]

  • F – Directorate only known from unit F6, the Special Collection Service (SCS), which is a joint program created by CIA and NSA in 1978 to facilitate clandestine activities such as bugging computers throughout the world, using the expertise of both agencies.[94]
  • G – Directorate only known from unit G112, the office that manages the Senior Span platform, attached to the U2 spy planes.[95]
  • I – Information Assurance Directorate (IAD), which ensures availability, integrity, authentication, confidentiality, and non-repudiation of national security and telecommunications and information systems (national security systems).
  • J – Directorate only known from unit J2, the Cryptologic Intelligence Unit
  • L – Installation and Logistics
  • M – Human Resources
  • Q – Security and Counterintelligence
  • R – Research Directorate, which conducts research on signals intelligence and on information assurance for the U.S. Government.[96]
  • S – Signals Intelligence Directorate (SID), which is responsible for the collection, analysis, production and dissemination of signals intelligence. This directorate is led by a director and a deputy director. The SID consists of the following divisions:
    • S1 – Customer Relations
    • S2 – Analysis and Production Centers, with the following so-called Product Lines:
      • S2A: South Asia, S2B: China and Korea, S2C: International Security, S2E: Middle East/Asia, S2F: International Crime, S2G: Counter-proliferation, S2H: Russia, S2I: Counter-terrorism, S2J: Weapons and Space, S2T: Current Threats
    • S3 – Data Acquisition, with these divisions for the main collection programs:
      • S31 – Cryptanalysis and Exploitation Services (CES)
      • S32 – Tailored Access Operations (TAO), which hacks into foreign computers to conduct cyber-espionage and reportedly is “the largest and arguably the most important component of the NSA’s huge Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) Directorate, consisting of over 1,000 military and civilian computer hackers, intelligence analysts, targeting specialists, computer hardware and software designers, and electrical engineers.”[97]
      • S33 – Global Access Operations (GAO), which is responsible for intercepts from satellites and other international SIGINT platforms.[98] A tool which details and maps the information collected by this unit is code-named Boundless Informant.
      • S34 – Collections Strategies and Requirements Center
      • S35 – Special Source Operations (SSO), which is responsible for domestic and compartmented collection programs, like for example the PRISM program.[98] Special Source Operations is also mentioned in connection to the FAIRVIEW collection program.[99]
  • T – Technical Directorate (TD)
  • Directorate for Education and Training
  • Directorate for Corporate Leadership
  • Foreign Affairs Directorate, which acts as liaison with foreign intelligence services, counter-intelligence centers and the UKUSA-partners.
  • Acquisitions and Procurement Directorate
  • Information Sharing Services (ISS), led by a chief and a deputy chief.[100]

In the year 2000, a leadership team was formed, consisting of the Director, the Deputy Director and the Directors of the Signals Intelligence (SID), the Information Assurance (IAD) and the Technical Directorate (TD). The chiefs of other main NSA divisions became associate directors of the senior leadership team.[101]

After president George W. Bush initiated the President’s Surveillance Program (PSP) in 2001, the NSA created a 24-hour Metadata Analysis Center (MAC), followed in 2004 by the Advanced Analysis Division (AAD), with the mission of analyzing content, Internet metadata and telephone metadata. Both units were part of the Signals Intelligence Directorate.[102]

A 2016 proposal would combine the Signals Intelligence Directorate with the Information Assurance Directorate into a Directorate of Operations.[103]

Watch centers

The NSA maintains at least two watch centers:

  • National Security Operations Center (NSOC), which is the NSA’s current operations center and focal point for time-sensitive SIGINT reporting for the United States SIGINT System (USSS). This center was established in 1968 as the National SIGINT Watch Center (NSWC) and renamed into National SIGINT Operations Center (NSOC) in 1973. This “nerve center of the NSA” got its current name in 1996.[104]
  • NSA/CSS Threat Operations Center (NTOC), which is the primary NSA/CSS partner for Department of Homeland Security response to cyber incidents. The NTOC establishes real-time network awareness and threat characterization capabilities to forecast, alert, and attribute malicious activity and enable the coordination of Computer Network Operations. The NTOC was established in 2004 as a joint Information Assurance and Signals Intelligence project.[105]


The number of NSA employees is officially classified[4] but there are several sources providing estimates. In 1961, NSA had 59,000 military and civilian employees, which grew to 93,067 in 1969, of which 19,300 worked at the headquarters at Fort Meade. In the early 1980s NSA had roughly 50,000 military and civilian personnel. By 1989 this number had grown again to 75,000, of which 25,000 worked at the NSA headquarters. Between 1990 and 1995 the NSA’s budget and workforce were cut by one third, which led to a substantial loss of experience.[106]

In 2012, the NSA said more than 30,000 employees worked at Fort Meade and other facilities.[2] In 2012, John C. Inglis, the deputy director, said that the total number of NSA employees is “somewhere between 37,000 and one billion” as a joke,[4] and stated that the agency is “probably the biggest employer of introverts.”[4] In 2013 Der Spiegel stated that the NSA had 40,000 employees.[5] More widely, it has been described as the world’s largest single employer of mathematicians.[107] Some NSA employees form part of the workforce of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the agency that provides the NSA with satellite signals intelligence.

As of 2013 about 1,000 system administrators work for the NSA.[108]

Security issues

The NSA received criticism early on in 1960 after two agents had defected to the Soviet Union. Investigations by the House Un-American Activities Committee and a special subcommittee of the United States House Committee on Armed Services revealed severe cases of ignorance in personnel security regulations, prompting the former personnel director and the director of security to step down and leading to the adoption of stricter security practices.[109] Nonetheless, security breaches reoccurred only a year later when in an issue of Izvestia of July 23, 1963, a former NSA employee published several cryptologic secrets.

The very same day, an NSA clerk-messenger committed suicide as ongoing investigations disclosed that he had sold secret information to the Soviets on a regular basis. The reluctance of Congressional houses to look into these affairs had prompted a journalist to write, “If a similar series of tragic blunders occurred in any ordinary agency of Government an aroused public would insist that those responsible be officially censured, demoted, or fired.” David Kahn criticized the NSA’s tactics of concealing its doings as smug and the Congress’ blind faith in the agency’s right-doing as shortsighted, and pointed out the necessity of surveillance by the Congress to prevent abuse of power.[109]

Edward Snowden‘s leaking of the existence of PRISM in 2013 caused the NSA to institute a “two-man rule“, where two system administrators are required to be present when one accesses certain sensitive information.[108] Snowden claims he suggested such a rule in 2009.[110]


Defense Security Service (DSS) polygraph brochure given to NSA applicants

The NSA conducts polygraph tests of employees. For new employees, the tests are meant to discover enemy spies who are applying to the NSA and to uncover any information that could make an applicant pliant to coercion.[111] As part of the latter, historically EPQs or “embarrassing personal questions” about sexual behavior had been included in the NSA polygraph.[111] The NSA also conducts five-year periodic reinvestigation polygraphs of employees, focusing on counterintelligence programs. In addition the NSA conducts periodic polygraph investigations in order to find spies and leakers; those who refuse to take them may receive “termination of employment”, according to a 1982 memorandum from the director of the NSA.[112]


NSA-produced video on the polygraph process

There are also “special access examination” polygraphs for employees who wish to work in highly sensitive areas, and those polygraphs cover counterintelligence questions and some questions about behavior.[112] NSA’s brochure states that the average test length is between two and four hours.[113] A 1983 report of the Office of Technology Assessment stated that “It appears that the NSA [National Security Agency] (and possibly CIA) use the polygraph not to determine deception or truthfulness per se, but as a technique of interrogation to encourage admissions.”[114]Sometimes applicants in the polygraph process confess to committing felonies such as murder, rape, and selling of illegal drugs. Between 1974 and 1979, of the 20,511 job applicants who took polygraph tests, 695 (3.4%) confessed to previous felony crimes; almost all of those crimes had been undetected.[111]

In 2010 the NSA produced a video explaining its polygraph process.[115] The video, ten minutes long, is titled “The Truth About the Polygraph” and was posted to the Web site of the Defense Security Service. Jeff Stein of The Washington Post said that the video portrays “various applicants, or actors playing them — it’s not clear — describing everything bad they had heard about the test, the implication being that none of it is true.”[116] argues that the NSA-produced video omits some information about the polygraph process; it produced a video responding to the NSA video.[115] George Maschke, the founder of the Web site, accused the NSA polygraph video of being “Orwellian“.[116]

After Edward Snowden revealed his identity in 2013, the NSA began requiring polygraphing of employees once per quarter.[117]

Arbitrary firing

The number of exemptions from legal requirements has been criticized. When in 1964 the Congress was hearing a bill giving the director of the NSA the power to fire at will any employee,The Washington Post wrote: “This is the very definition of arbitrariness. It means that an employee could be discharged and disgraced on the basis of anonymous allegations without the slightest opportunity to defend himself.” Yet, the bill was accepted by an overwhelming majority.[109]

Insignia and memorials

Seal of the U.S. National Security Agency.svg

The heraldic insignia of NSA consists of an eagle inside a circle, grasping a key in its talons.[118] The eagle represents the agency’s national mission.[118] Its breast features a shield with bands of red and white, taken from the Great Seal of the United States and representing Congress.[118] The key is taken from the emblem of Saint Peter and represents security.[118]

When the NSA was created, the agency had no emblem and used that of the Department of Defense.[119] The agency adopted its first of two emblems in 1963.[119] The current NSA insignia has been in use since 1965, when then-Director, LTG Marshall S. Carter (USA) ordered the creation of a device to represent the agency.[120]

The NSA’s flag consists of the agency’s seal on a light blue background.

National Cryptologic Memorial

Crews associated with NSA missions have been involved in a number of dangerous and deadly situations.[121] The USS Liberty incident in 1967 and USS Pueblo incident in 1968 are examples of the losses endured during the Cold War.[121]

The National Security Agency/Central Security Service Cryptologic Memorial honors and remembers the fallen personnel, both military and civilian, of these intelligence missions.[122] It is made of black granite, and has 171 names carved into it, as of 2013 .[122] It is located at NSA headquarters. A tradition of declassifying the stories of the fallen was begun in 2001.[122]

NSANet (NSA’s intranet)

Behind the Green Door – Secure communications room with separate computer terminals for access to SIPRNET, GWAN, NSANET, and JWICS

NSANet stands for National Security Agency Network and is the official NSA intranet.[123] It is a classified network,[124] for information up to the level of TS/SCI[125] to support the use and sharing of intelligence data between NSA and the signals intelligence agencies of the four other nations of the Five Eyes partnership. The management of NSANet has been delegated to the Central Security Service Texas (CSSTEXAS).[126]

NSANet is a highly secured computer network consisting of fiber-optic and satellite communication channels which are almost completely separated from the public Internet. The network allows NSA personnel and civilian and military intelligence analysts anywhere in the world to have access to the agency’s systems and databases. This access is tightly controlled and monitored. For example, every keystroke is logged, activities are audited at random and downloading and printing of documents from NSANet are recorded.[127]

In 1998, NSANet, along with NIPRNET and SIPRNET, had “significant problems with poor search capabilities, unorganized data and old information”.[128] In 2004, the network was reported to have used over twenty commercial off-the-shelf operating systems.[129] Some universities that do highly sensitive research are allowed to connect to it.[130]

The thousands of Top Secret internal NSA documents that were taken by Edward Snowden in 2013 were stored in “a file-sharing location on the NSA’s intranet site” so they could easily be read online by NSA personnel. Everyone with a TS/SCI-clearance had access to these documents and as a system administrator, Snowden was responsible for moving accidentally misplaced highly sensitive documents to more secure storage locations.[131]

National Computer Security Center

The DoD Computer Security Center was founded in 1981 and renamed the National Computer Security Center (NCSC) in 1985. NCSC was responsible for computer security throughout the federal government.[132] NCSC was part of NSA,[133] and during the late 1980s and the 1990s, NSA and NCSC published Trusted Computer System Evaluation Criteria in a six-foot high Rainbow Series of books that detailed trusted computing and network platform specifications.[134] The Rainbow books were replaced by the Common Criteria, however, in the early 2000s.[134]



National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, 2013

Headquarters for the National Security Agency is located at 39°6′32″N 76°46′17″W in Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, although it is separate from other compounds and agencies that are based within this same military installation. Ft. Meade is about 20 mi (32 km) southwest of Baltimore,[135] and 25 mi (40 km) northeast of Washington, DC.[136] The NSA has its own exit off Maryland Route 295 South labeled “NSA Employees Only”.[137][138] The exit may only be used by people with the proper clearances, and security vehicles parked along the road guard the entrance.[139]

NSA is the largest employer in the U.S. state of Maryland, and two-thirds of its personnel work at Ft. Meade.[140] Built on 350 acres (140 ha; 0.55 sq mi)[141] of Ft. Meade’s 5,000 acres (2,000 ha; 7.8 sq mi),[142] the site has 1,300 buildings and an estimated 18,000 parking spaces.[136][143]

NSA headquarters building in Fort Meade (left), NSOC (right)

The main NSA headquarters and operations building is what James Bamford, author of Body of Secrets, describes as “a modern boxy structure” that appears similar to “any stylish office building.”[144] The building is covered with one-way dark glass, which is lined with copper shielding in order to prevent espionage by trapping in signals and sounds.[144] It contains 3,000,000 square feet (280,000 m2), or more than 68 acres (28 ha), of floor space; Bamford said that the U.S. Capitol “could easily fit inside it four times over.”[144]

The facility has over 100 watchposts,[145] one of them being the visitor control center, a two-story area that serves as the entrance.[144] At the entrance, a white pentagonal structure,[146] visitor badges are issued to visitors and security clearances of employees are checked.[147] The visitor center includes a painting of the NSA seal.[146]

The OPS2A building, the tallest building in the NSA complex and the location of much of the agency’s operations directorate, is accessible from the visitor center. Bamford described it as a “dark glass Rubik’s Cube“.[148] The facility’s “red corridor” houses non-security operations such as concessions and the drug store. The name refers to the “red badge” which is worn by someone without a security clearance. The NSA headquarters includes a cafeteria, a credit union, ticket counters for airlines and entertainment, a barbershop, and a bank.[146] NSA headquarters has its own post office, fire department, and police force.[149][150][151]

The employees at the NSA headquarters reside in various places in the Baltimore-Washington area, including Annapolis, Baltimore, and Columbia in Maryland and the District of Columbia, including the Georgetown community.[152]

Power consumption

Due to massive amounts of data processing, NSA is the largest electricity consumer in Maryland.[140]

Following a major power outage in 2000, in 2003 and in follow-ups through 2007, The Baltimore Sun reported that the NSA was at risk of electrical overload because of insufficient internal electrical infrastructure at Fort Meade to support the amount of equipment being installed. This problem was apparently recognized in the 1990s but not made a priority, and “now the agency’s ability to keep its operations going is threatened.”[153]

Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE, now Constellation Energy) provided NSA with 65 to 75 megawatts at Ft. Meade in 2007, and expected that an increase of 10 to 15 megawatts would be needed later that year.[154] In 2011, NSA at Ft. Meade was Maryland’s largest consumer of power.[140] In 2007, as BGE’s largest customer, NSA bought as much electricity as Annapolis, the capital city of Maryland.[153]

One estimate put the potential for power consumption by the new Utah Data Center at US$40 million per year.[155]

History of headquarters

Headquarters at Fort Meade circa 1950s

When the agency was established, its headquarters and cryptographic center were in the Naval Security Station in Washington, D.C. The COMINT functions were located in Arlington Hall in Northern Virginia, which served as the headquarters of the U.S. Army‘s cryptographic operations.[156]Because the Soviet Union had detonated a nuclear bomb and because the facilities were crowded, the federal government wanted to move several agencies, including the AFSA/NSA. A planning committee considered Fort Knox, but Fort Meade, Maryland, was ultimately chosen as NSA headquarters because it was far enough away from Washington, D.C. in case of a nuclear strike and was close enough so its employees would not have to move their families.[157]

Construction of additional buildings began after the agency occupied buildings at Ft. Meade in the late 1950s, which they soon outgrew.[157] In 1963 the new headquarters building, nine stories tall, opened. NSA workers referred to the building as the “Headquarters Building” and since the NSA management occupied the top floor, workers used “Ninth Floor” to refer to their leaders.[158] COMSEC remained in Washington, D.C., until its new building was completed in 1968.[157] In September 1986, the Operations 2A and 2B buildings, both copper-shielded to prevent eavesdropping, opened with a dedication by President Ronald Reagan.[159] The four NSA buildings became known as the “Big Four.”[159] The NSA director moved to 2B when it opened.[159]

Fort Meade shooting[edit]

On March 30, 2015, shortly before 9 am, a stolen sports utility vehicle approached an NSA police vehicle blocking the road near the gate of Fort Meade, after it was told to leave the area. NSA officers fired on the SUV, killing the 27-year-old driver, Ricky Hall (a transgender person also known as Mya), and seriously injuring his 20-year-old male passenger. An NSA officer’s arm was injured when Hall subsequently crashed into his vehicle.[160][161]

The two, dressed in women’s clothing after a night of partying at a motel with the man they’d stolen the SUV from that morning, “attempted to drive a vehicle into the National Security Agency portion of the installation without authorization”, according to an NSA statement.[162] FBI spokeswoman Amy Thoreson said the incident is not believed to be related to terrorism.[163]In June 2015 the FBI closed its investigation into the incident and federal prosecutors have declined to bring charges against anyone involved.[164]

An anonymous police official told The Washington Post, “This was not a deliberate attempt to breach the security of NSA. This was not a planned attack.” The two are believed to have made a wrong turn off the highway, while fleeing from the motel after stealing the vehicle. A small amount of cocaine was found in the SUV. A local CBS reporter initially said a gun was found,[165]but her later revision does not.[166] Dozens of journalists were corralled into a parking lot blocks away from the scene, and were barred from photographing the area.[167]


In 1995, The Baltimore Sun reported that the NSA is the owner of the single largest group of supercomputers.[168]

NSA held a groundbreaking ceremony at Ft. Meade in May 2013 for its High Performance Computing Center 2, expected to open in 2016.[169] Called Site M, the center has a 150 megawatt power substation, 14 administrative buildings and 10 parking garages.[149] It cost $3.2 billion and covers 227 acres (92 ha; 0.355 sq mi).[149] The center is 1,800,000 square feet (17 ha; 0.065 sq mi)[149] and initially uses 60 megawatts of electricity.[170]

Increments II and III are expected to be completed by 2030, and would quadruple the space, covering 5,800,000 square feet (54 ha; 0.21 sq mi) with 60 buildings and 40 parking garages.[149] Defense contractors are also establishing or expanding cybersecurity facilities near the NSA and around the Washington metropolitan area.[149]

Other U.S. facilities

Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado

Utah Data Center

As of 2012, NSA collected intelligence from four geostationary satellites.[155] Satellite receivers were at Roaring Creek Station in Catawissa, Pennsylvania and Salt Creek Station in Arbuckle, California.[155] It operated ten to twenty taps on U.S. telecom switches. NSA had installations in several U.S. states and from them observed intercepts from Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America, and Asia.[155]

NSA had facilities at Friendship Annex (FANX) in Linthicum, Maryland, which is a 20 to 25-minute drive from Ft. Meade;[171] the Aerospace Data Facility at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora outside Denver, Colorado; NSA Texas in the Texas Cryptology Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas; NSA Georgia at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia; NSA Hawaii in Honolulu; the Multiprogram Research Facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and elsewhere.[152][155]

On January 6, 2011 a groundbreaking ceremony was held to begin construction on NSA’s first Comprehensive National Cyber-security Initiative (CNCI) Data Center, known as the “Utah Data Center” for short. The $1.5B data center is being built at Camp Williams, Utah, located 25 miles (40 km) south of Salt Lake City, and will help support the agency’s National Cyber-security Initiative.[172] It is expected to be operational by September 2013.[155]

In 2009, to protect its assets and to access more electricity, NSA sought to decentralize and expand its existing facilities in Ft. Meade and Menwith Hill,[173] the latter expansion expected to be completed by 2015.[174]

The Yakima Herald-Republic cited Bamford, saying that many of NSA’s bases for its Echelon program were a legacy system, using outdated, 1990s technology.[175] In 2004, NSA closed its operations at Bad Aibling Station (Field Station 81) in Bad Aibling, Germany.[176] In 2012, NSA began to move some of its operations at Yakima Research Station, Yakima Training Center, in Washington state to Colorado, planning to leave Yakima closed.[177] As of 2013, NSA also intended to close operations at Sugar Grove, West Virginia.[175]

International stations

RAF Menwith Hill has the largest NSA presence in the United Kingdom.[174]

Following the signing in 1946–1956[178] of the UKUSA Agreement between the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, who then cooperated on signals intelligence and ECHELON,[179] NSA stations were built at GCHQ Bude in Morwenstow, United Kingdom; Geraldton, Pine Gap and Shoal Bay, Australia; Leitrim and Ottawa, Canada; Misawa, Japan; and Waihopai and Tangimoana,[180] New Zealand.[181]

NSA operates RAF Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom, which was, according to BBC News in 2007, the largest electronic monitoring station in the world.[182] Planned in 1954, and opened in 1960, the base covered 562 acres (227 ha; 0.878 sq mi) in 1999.[183]

The agency’s European Cryptologic Center (ECC), with 240 employees in 2011, is headquartered at a US military compound in Griesheim, near Frankfurt in Germany. A 2011 NSA report indicates that the ECC is responsible for the “largest analysis and productivity in Europe” and focusses on various priorities, including Africa, Europe, the Middle East and counterterrorism operations.[184]

In 2013, a new Consolidated Intelligence Center, also to be used by NSA, is being built at the headquarters of the United States Army Europe in Wiesbaden, Germany.[185] NSA’s partnership with Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), the German foreign intelligence service, was confirmed by BND president Gerhard Schindler.[185]


Thailand is a “3rd party partner” of the NSA along with nine other nations.[186] These are non-English-speaking countries that have made security agreements for the exchange of SIGINT raw material and end product reports.

Thailand is the site of at least two US SIGINT collection stations. One is at the US Embassy in Bangkok, a joint NSA-CIA Special Collection Service (SCS) unit. It presumably eavesdrops on foreign embassies, governmental communications, and other targets of opportunity.[187]

The second installation is a FORNSAT (foreign satellite interception) station in the Thai city of Khon Kaen. It is codenamed INDRA, but has also been referred to as LEMONWOOD.[187] The station is approximately 40 ha (100 acres) in size and consists of a large 3,700–4,600 m2 (40,000–50,000 ft2) operations building on the west side of the ops compound and four radome-enclosed parabolic antennas. Possibly two of the radome-enclosed antennas are used for SATCOM intercept and two antennas used for relaying the intercepted material back to NSA. There is also a PUSHER-type circularly-disposed antenna array (CDAA) array just north of the ops compound.[188][189]

NSA activated Khon Kaen in October 1979. Its mission was to eavesdrop on the radio traffic of Chinese army and air force units in southern China, especially in and around the city of Kunming in Yunnan Province. Back in the late 1970s the base consisted only of a small CDAA antenna array that was remote-controlled via satellite from the NSA listening post at Kunia, Hawaii, and a small force of civilian contractors from Bendix Field Engineering Corp. whose job it was to keep the antenna array and satellite relay facilities up and running 24/7.[188]

According to the papers of the late General William Odom, the INDRA facility was upgraded in 1986 with a new British-made PUSHER CDAA antenna as part of an overall upgrade of NSA and Thai SIGINT facilities whose objective was to spy on the neighboring communist nations of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.[188]

The base apparently fell into disrepair in the 1990s as China and Vietnam became more friendly towards the US, and by 2002 archived satellite imagery showed that the PUSHER CDAA antenna had been torn down, perhaps indicating that the base had been closed. At some point in the period since 9/11, the Khon Kaen base was reactivated and expanded to include a sizeable SATCOM intercept mission. It is likely that the NSA presence at Khon Kaen is relatively small, and that most of the work is done by civilian contractors.[188]


NSA’s eavesdropping mission includes radio broadcasting, both from various organizations and individuals, the Internet, telephone calls, and other intercepted forms of communication. Its secure communications mission includes military, diplomatic, and all other sensitive, confidential or secret government communications.[190]

According to the Washington Post, “[e]very day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications. The NSA sorts a fraction of those into 70 separate databases.”[191]

Because of its listening task, NSA/CSS has been heavily involved in cryptanalytic research, continuing the work of predecessor agencies which had broken many World War II codes and ciphers (see, for instance, Purple, Venona project, and JN-25).

In 2004, NSA Central Security Service and the National Cyber Security Division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agreed to expand NSA Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education Program.[192]

As part of the National Security Presidential Directive 54/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 23 (NSPD 54), signed on January 8, 2008 by President Bush, the NSA became the lead agency to monitor and protect all of the federal government’s computer networks from cyber-terrorism.[9]


Operations by the National Security Agency can be divided in three types:

  • Collection overseas, which falls under the responsibility of the Global Access Operations (GAO) division.
  • Domestic collection, which falls under the responsibility of the Special Source Operations (SSO) division.
  • Hacking operations, which falls under the responsibility of the Tailored Access Operations (TAO) division.

Collection overseas


Main article: ECHELON

Echelon was created in the incubator of the Cold War.[193] Today it is a legacy system, and several NSA stations are closing.[175]

NSA/CSS, in combination with the equivalent agencies in the United Kingdom (Government Communications Headquarters), Canada (Communications Security Establishment), Australia (Defence Signals Directorate), and New Zealand (Government Communications Security Bureau), otherwise known as the UKUSA group,[194] was reported to be in command of the operation of the so-called ECHELON system. Its capabilities were suspected to include the ability to monitor a large proportion of the world’s transmitted civilian telephone, fax and data traffic.[195]

During the early 1970s, the first of what became more than eight large satellite communications dishes were installed at Menwith Hill.[196] Investigative journalist Duncan Campbell reported in 1988 on the ECHELON surveillance program, an extension of the UKUSA Agreement on global signals intelligence SIGINT, and detailed how the eavesdropping operations worked.[197] In November 3, 1999 the BBC reported that they had confirmation from the Australian Government of the existence of a powerful “global spying network” code-named Echelon, that could “eavesdrop on every single phone call, fax or e-mail, anywhere on the planet” with Britain and the United States as the chief protagonists. They confirmed that Menwith Hill was “linked directly to the headquarters of the US National Security Agency (NSA) at Fort Meade in Maryland”.[198]

NSA’s United States Signals Intelligence Directive 18 (USSID 18) strictly prohibited the interception or collection of information about “… U.S. persons, entities, corporations or organizations….” without explicit written legal permission from the United States Attorney General when the subject is located abroad, or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court when within U.S. borders. Alleged Echelon-related activities, including its use for motives other than national security, including political and industrial espionage, received criticism from countries outside the UKUSA alliance.[199][200]

Protesters against NSA data mining in Berlin wearing Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden masks.

Other SIGINT operations overseas

The NSA is also involved in planning to blackmail people with “SEXINT“, intelligence gained about a potential target’s sexual activity and preferences. Those targeted had not committed any apparent crime nor were charged with one.[201]

In order to support its facial recognition program, the NSA is intercepting “millions of images per day”.[202]

The Real Time Regional Gateway is a data collection program introduced in 2005 in Iraq by NSA during the Iraq War that consisted of gathering all electronic communication, storing it, then searching and otherwise analyzing it. It was effective in providing information about Iraqi insurgents who had eluded less comprehensive techniques.[203] This “collect it all” strategy introduced by NSA director, Keith B. Alexander, is believed by Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian to be the model for the comprehensive worldwide mass archiving of communications which NSA is engaged in as of 2013.[204]


Edward Snowden revealed in June 2013 that between February 8 and March 8, 2013, the NSA collected about 124.8 billion telephone data items and 97.1 billion computer data items throughout the world, as was displayed in charts from an internal NSA tool codenamed Boundless Informant. It was reported that some of these data reflected eavesdropping on citizens in countries like Germany, Spain and France.[205]

BoundlessInformant employs big data databases, cloud computing technology, and Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) to analyze data collected worldwide by the NSA.[206]

Bypassing encryption

In 2013, reporters uncovered a secret memo that claims the NSA created and pushed for the adoption of the Dual_EC_DRBG encryption standard that contained built-in vulnerabilities in 2006 to the United States National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the International Organization for Standardization (aka ISO).[207][208] This memo appears to give credence to previous speculation by cryptographers at Microsoft Research.[209] Edward Snowden claims that the NSA often bypasses encryption altogether by lifting information before it is encrypted or after it is decrypted.[208]

XKeyscore rules (as specified in a file xkeyscorerules100.txt, sourced by German TV stations NDR and WDR, who claim to have excerpts from its source code) reveal that the NSA tracks users of privacy-enhancing software tools, including Tor; an anonymous email service provided by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and readers of the Linux Journal.[210][211]

Domestic activity

NSA’s mission, as set forth in Executive Order 12333 in 1981, is to collect information that constitutes “foreign intelligence or counterintelligence” while not “acquiring information concerning the domestic activities of United States persons”. NSA has declared that it relies on the FBI to collect information on foreign intelligence activities within the borders of the United States, while confining its own activities within the United States to the embassies and missions of foreign nations.[212] The appearance of a ‘Domestic Surveillance Directorate’ of the NSA was soon exposed as a hoax in 2013.[213][214]

NSA’s domestic surveillance activities are limited by the requirements imposed by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for example held in October 2011, citing multiple Supreme Court precedents, that the Fourth Amendment prohibitions against unreasonable searches and seizures applies to the contents of all communications, whatever the means, because “a person’s private communications are akin to personal papers.”[215] However, these protections do not apply to non-U.S. persons located outside of U.S. borders, so the NSA’s foreign surveillance efforts are subject to far fewer limitations under U.S. law.[216] The specific requirements for domestic surveillance operations are contained in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA), which does not extend protection to non-U.S. citizens located outside of U.S. territory.[216]

George W. Bush administration

George W. Bush, president during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, approved the Patriot Act shortly after the attacks to take anti-terrorist security measures. Title 1, 2, and 9 specifically authorized measures that would be taken by the NSA. These titles granted enhanced domestic security against terrorism, surveillance procedures, and improved intelligence, respectively. On March 10, 2004, there was a debate between President Bush and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General John Ashcroft, and Acting Attorney General James Comey. The Attorney Generals were unsure if the NSA’s programs could be considered constitutional. They threatened to resign over the matter, but ultimately the NSA’s programs continued.[217] On March 11, 2004, President Bush signed a new authorization for mass surveillance of Internet records, in addition to the surveillance of phone records.This allowed the president to be able to override laws such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which protected civilians from mass surveillance. In addition to this, President Bush also signed that the measures of mass surveillance were also retroactively in place.[218]

Warrantless wiretaps

On December 16, 2005, The New York Times reported that, under White House pressure and with an executive order from President George W. Bush, the National Security Agency, in an attempt to thwart terrorism, had been tapping phone calls made to persons outside the country, without obtaining warrants from the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a secret court created for that purpose under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).[219]

One such surveillance program, authorized by the U.S. Signals Intelligence Directive 18 of President George Bush, was the Highlander Project undertaken for the National Security Agency by the U.S. Army 513th Military Intelligence Brigade. NSA relayed telephone (including cell phone) conversations obtained from ground, airborne, and satellite monitoring stations to various U.S. Army Signal Intelligence Officers, including the 201st Military Intelligence Battalion. Conversations of citizens of the U.S. were intercepted, along with those of other nations.[220]

Proponents of the surveillance program claim that the President has executive authority to order such action, arguing that laws such as FISA are overridden by the President’s Constitutional powers. In addition, some argued that FISA was implicitly overridden by a subsequent statute, the Authorization for Use of Military Force, although the Supreme Court’s ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld deprecates this view. In the August 2006 case ACLU v. NSA, U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor concluded that NSA’s warrantless surveillance program was both illegal and unconstitutional. On July 6, 2007 the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the decision on the grounds that the ACLU lacked standing to bring the suit.[221]

On January 17, 2006, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a lawsuit, CCR v. Bush, against the George W. Bush Presidency. The lawsuit challenged the National Security Agency’s (NSA’s) surveillance of people within the U.S., including the interception of CCR emails without securing a warrant first.[222][223]

In September 2008, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class action lawsuit against the NSA and several high-ranking officials of the Bush administration,[224] charging an “illegal and unconstitutional program of dragnet communications surveillance,”[225] based on documentation provided by former AT&T technician Mark Klein.[226]

As a result of the USA Freedom Act passed by Congress in June 2015, the NSA had to shut down its bulk phone surveillance program on November 29 of the same year. The USA Freedom Act forbids the NSA to collect metadata and content of phone calls unless it has a warrant for terrorism investigation. In that case the agency has to ask the telecom companies for the record, which will only be kept for six months.

AT&T Internet monitoring

In May 2006, Mark Klein, a former AT&T employee, alleged that his company had cooperated with NSA in installing Narus hardware to replace the FBI Carnivore program, to monitor network communications including traffic between American citizens.[227]

Data mining

NSA was reported in 2008 to use its computing capability to analyze “transactional” data that it regularly acquires from other government agencies, which gather it under their own jurisdictional authorities. As part of this effort, NSA now monitors huge volumes of records of domestic email data, web addresses from Internet searches, bank transfers, credit-card transactions, travel records, and telephone data, according to current and former intelligence officials interviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The sender, recipient, and subject line of emails can be included, but the content of the messages or of phone calls are not.[228]

A 2013 advisory group for the Obama administration, seeking to reform NSA spying programs following the revelations of documents released by Edward J. Snowden.[229] mentioned in ‘Recommendation 30’ on page 37, “…that the National Security Council staff should manage an interagency process to review on a regular basis the activities of the US Government regarding attacks that exploit a previously unknown vulnerability in a computer application.” Retired cyber security expert Richard A. Clarke was a group member and stated on April 11 that NSA had no advance knowledge of Heartbleed.[230]

Illegally obtained evidence

In August 2013 it was revealed that a 2005 IRS training document showed that NSA intelligence intercepts and wiretaps, both foreign and domestic, were being supplied to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and were illegally used to launch criminal investigations of US citizens. Law enforcement agents were directed to conceal how the investigations began and recreate an apparently legal investigative trail by re-obtaining the same evidence by other means.[231][232]

Barack Obama administration

In the months leading to April 2009, the NSA intercepted the communications of American citizens, including a Congressman, although the Justice Department believed that the interception was unintentional. The Justice Department then took action to correct the issues and bring the program into compliance with existing laws.[233] United States Attorney General Eric Holder resumed the program according to his understanding of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act amendment of 2008, without explaining what had occurred.[234]

Polls conducted in June 2013 found divided results among Americans regarding NSA’s secret data collection.[235] Rasmussen Reports found that 59% of Americans disapprove,[236] Gallup found that 53% disapprove,[237] and Pew found that 56% are in favor of NSA data collection.[238]

Section 215 metadata collection

On April 25, 2013, the NSA obtained a court order requiring Verizon‘s Business Network Services to provide metadata on all calls in its system to the NSA “on an ongoing daily basis” for a three-month period, as reported by The Guardian on June 6, 2013. This information includes “the numbers of both parties on a call … location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls” but not “[t]he contents of the conversation itself”. The order relies on the so-called “business records” provision of the Patriot Act.[239][240]

In August 2013, following the Snowden leaks, new details about the NSA’s data mining activity were revealed. Reportedly, the majority of emails into or out of the United States are captured at “selected communications links” and automatically analyzed for keywords or other “selectors”. Emails that do not match are deleted.[241]

The utility of such a massive metadata collection in preventing terrorist attacks is disputed. Many studies reveal the dragnet like system to be ineffective. One such report, released by the New America Foundation concluded that after an analysis of 225 terrorism cases, the NSA “had no discernible impact on preventing acts of terrorism.”[242]

Defenders of the program say that while metadata alone can’t provide all the information necessary to prevent an attack, it assures the ability to “connect the dots”[243] between suspect foreign numbers and domestic numbers with a speed only the NSA’s software is capable of. One benefit of this is quickly being able to determine the difference between suspicious activity and real threats.[citation needed] As an example, NSA director General Keith Alexander mentioned at the annual Cybersecurity Summit in 2013, that metadata analysis of domestic phone call records after the Boston Marathon bombing helped determine that[clarification needed] another attack in New York was baseless.[243]

In addition to doubts about its effectiveness, many people argue that the collection of metadata is an unconstitutional invasion of privacy. As of 2015, the collection process remains legal and grounded in the ruling from Smith v. Maryland (1979). A prominent opponent of the data collection and its legality is U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon, who issued a report in 2013[244] in which he stated: “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval…Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment”.

The PRISM program[edit]

PRISM: a clandestine surveillance program under which the NSA collects user data from companies like Microsoft and Facebook.

Under the PRISM program, which started in 2007,[245][246] NSA gathers Internet communications from foreign targets from nine major U.S. Internet-based communication service providers: Microsoft,[247] Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple. Data gathered include email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, VoIP chats such as Skype, and file transfers.

June 2015 – WikiLeaks: Industrial espionage

In June 2015, Wikileaks published documents, which showed that NSA spied on French companies.[248]

July 2015 – WikiLeaks: Espionage against German federal ministries[edit]

In July 2015, WikiLeaks published documents, which showed that NSA spied on federal German ministries since 1990s.[249][250] Even Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s cellphones and phone of her predecessors had been intercepted.[251]

Claims of prevented terrorist attacks

Former NSA director General Keith Alexander claimed that in September 2009 the NSA prevented Najibullah Zazi and his friends from carrying out a terrorist attack.[252] However, this claim has been debunked and no evidence has been presented demonstrating that the NSA has ever been instrumental in preventing a terrorist attack.[253][254][255][256]

Hacking operations

Besides the more traditional ways of eavesdropping in order to collect signals intelligence, NSA is also engaged in hacking computers, smartphones and their networks. These operations are conducted by the Tailored Access Operations (TAO) division.

NSA’s China hacking group

According to the Foreign Policy magazine, “… the Office of Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, has successfully penetrated Chinese computer and telecommunications systems for almost 15 years, generating some of the best and most reliable intelligence information about what is going on inside the People’s Republic of China.”[257][258]

Syrian internet blackout

In an interview with Wired magazine, Edward Snowden said the Tailored Access Operations division accidentally caused Syria‘s internet blackout in 2012.[259]

Suspected responsibility for hacking operations by the Equation Group[edit]

The espionage group named the Equation Group, described by discoverers Kaspersky Labs as one of the most advanced (if not the most advanced) in the world as of 2015,[260]:31 and connected to over 500 malware infections in at least 42 countries over many years, is suspected of being a part of NSA.[261][262] The group’s known espionage methods have been documented to include interdiction (interception of legitimate CDs sent by a scientific conference organizer by mail),[260]:15 and the “unprecedented” ability to infect and be transmitted through the hard drive firmware of several of the major hard drive manufacturers, and create and use hidden disk areas and virtual disk systems for its purposes, a feat demanding access to the manufacturer’s source code of each to achieve.[260]:16–18 The methods used to deploy the tools demonstrated “surgical precision”, going so far as to exclude specific countries by IP and allow targeting of specific usernames on discussion forums.[260]:23–26 The techniques and knowledge used by the Equation Group are considered in summary to be “out of the reach of most advanced threat groups in the world except [this group].[260]:31

Software backdoors

Linux kerne

Linus Torvalds, the founder of Linux kernel, joked during a LinuxCon keynote on September 18, 2013 that the NSA, who are the founder of SELinux, wanted a backdoor in the kernel.[263]However, later, Linus’ father, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), revealed that the NSA actually did this.[264]

When my oldest son [Linus Torvalds] was asked the same question: “Has he been approached by the NSA about backdoors?” he said “No”, but at the same time he nodded. Then he was sort of in the legal free. He had given the right answer, [but] everybody understood that the NSA had approached him.

— Nils Torvalds, LIBE Committee Inquiry on Electronic Mass Surveillance of EU Citizens – 11th Hearing, 11 November 2013[265]
Microsoft Windows
Main article: _NSAKEY

_NSAKEY was a variable name discovered in Microsoft‘s Windows NT 4 Service Pack 5 (which had been released unstripped of its symbolic debugging data) in August 1999 by Andrew D. Fernandes of Cryptonym Corporation. That variable contained a 1024-bit public key.

IBM Notes

IBM Notes was the first widely adopted software product to use public key cryptography for client–server and server–server authentication and for encryption of data. Until US laws regulating encryption were changed in 2000, IBM and Lotus were prohibited from exporting versions of Notes that supported symmetric encryption keys that were longer than 40 bits. In 1997, Lotus negotiated an agreement with the NSA that allowed export of a version that supported stronger keys with 64 bits, but 24 of the bits were encrypted with a special key and included in the message to provide a “workload reduction factor” for the NSA. This strengthened the protection for users of Notes outside the US against private-sector industrial espionage, but not against spying by the US government.[266][267]

Boomerang routing

While it is assumed that foreign transmissions terminating in the U.S. (such as a non-U.S. citizen accessing a U.S. website) subject non-U.S. citizens to NSA surveillance, recent research into boomerang routing has raised new concerns about the NSA’s ability to surveil the domestic Internet traffic of foreign countries.[18] Boomerang routing occurs when an Internet transmission that originates and terminates in a single country transits another. Research at the University of Toronto has suggested that approximately 25% of Canadian domestic traffic may be subject to NSA surveillance activities as a result of the boomerang routing of Canadian Internet service providers.[18]

Hardware implanting

Intercepted packages are opened carefully by NSA employees
A “load station” implanting a beacon

A document included in NSA files released with Glenn Greenwald‘s book No Place to Hide details how the agency’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) and other NSA units gain access to hardware. They intercept routers, servers and other network hardware being shipped to organizations targeted for surveillance and install covert implant firmware onto them before they are delivered. This was described by an NSA manager as “some of the most productive operations in TAO because they preposition access points into hard target networks around the world.”[268]

Computers seized by the NSA due to interdiction are often modified with a physical device known as Cottonmouth.[269]Cottonmouth is a device that can be inserted in the USB port of a computer in order to establish remote access to the targeted machine. According to NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group implant catalog, after implanting Cottonmouth, the NSA can establish Bridging (networking) “that allows the NSA to load exploit software onto modified computers as well as allowing the NSA to relay commands and data between hardware and software implants.”[270]

Role in scientific research and development[

NSA has been involved in debates about public policy, both indirectly as a behind-the-scenes adviser to other departments, and directly during and after Vice Admiral Bobby Ray Inman‘s directorship. NSA was a major player in the debates of the 1990s regarding the export of cryptography in the United States. Restrictions on export were reduced but not eliminated in 1996.

Its secure government communications work has involved the NSA in numerous technology areas, including the design of specialized communications hardware and software, production of dedicated semiconductors (at the Ft. Meade chip fabrication plant), and advanced cryptography research. For 50 years, NSA designed and built most of its computer equipment in-house, but from the 1990s until about 2003 (when the U.S. Congress curtailed the practice), the agency contracted with the private sector in the fields of research and equipment.[271]

Data Encryption Standard

FROSTBURG was the NSA’s first supercomputer, used from 1991 to 1997

NSA was embroiled in some minor controversy concerning its involvement in the creation of the Data Encryption Standard (DES), a standard and public block cipher algorithm used by the U.S. government and banking community. During the development of DES by IBM in the 1970s, NSA recommended changes to some details of the design. There was suspicion that these changes had weakened the algorithm sufficiently to enable the agency to eavesdrop if required, including speculation that a critical component—the so-called S-boxes—had been altered to insert a “backdoor” and that the reduction in key length might have made it feasible for NSA to discover DES keys using massive computing power. It has since been observed that the S-boxes in DES are particularly resilient against differential cryptanalysis, a technique which was not publicly discovered until the late 1980s, but which was known to the IBM DES team.

The United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence reviewed NSA’s involvement, and concluded that while the agency had provided some assistance, it had not tampered with the design.[272][273] In late 2009 NSA declassified information stating that “NSA worked closely with IBM to strengthen the algorithm against all except brute force attacks and to strengthen substitution tables, called S-boxes. Conversely, NSA tried to convince IBM to reduce the length of the key from 64 to 48 bits. Ultimately they compromised on a 56-bit key.”[274][275]

Advanced Encryption Standard

The involvement of NSA in the selection of a successor to Data Encryption Standard (DES), the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), was limited to hardware performance testing (see AES competition).[276] NSA has subsequently certified AES for protection of classified information (for at most two levels, e.g. SECRET information in an unclassified environment[clarification needed]) when used in NSA-approved systems.[277]

NSA encryption systems

STU-III secure telephones on display at the National Cryptologic Museum

The NSA is responsible for the encryption-related components in these legacy systems:

  • FNBDT Future Narrow Band Digital Terminal[278]
  • KL-7 ADONIS off-line rotor encryption machine (post-WWII – 1980s)[279][280]
  • KW-26 ROMULUS electronic in-line teletypewriter encryptor (1960s–1980s)[281]
  • KW-37 JASON fleet broadcast encryptor (1960s–1990s)[280]
  • KY-57 VINSON tactical radio voice encryptor[281]
  • KG-84 Dedicated Data Encryption/Decryption[281]
  • STU-III secure telephone unit,[281] phased out by the STE[282]

The NSA oversees encryption in following systems which are in use today:

The NSA has specified Suite A and Suite B cryptographic algorithm suites to be used in U.S. government systems; the Suite B algorithms are a subset of those previously specified by NIST and are expected to serve for most information protection purposes, while the Suite A algorithms are secret and are intended for especially high levels of protection.[277]


The widely used SHA-1 and SHA-2 hash functions were designed by NSA. SHA-1 is a slight modification of the weaker SHA-0 algorithm, also designed by NSA in 1993. This small modification was suggested by NSA two years later, with no justification other than the fact that it provides additional security. An attack for SHA-0 that does not apply to the revised algorithm was indeed found between 1998 and 2005 by academic cryptographers. Because of weaknesses and key length restrictions in SHA-1, NIST deprecates its use for digital signatures, and approves only the newer SHA-2 algorithms for such applications from 2013 on.[287]

A new hash standard, SHA-3, has recently been selected through the competition concluded October 2, 2012 with the selection of Keccak as the algorithm. The process to select SHA-3 was similar to the one held in choosing the AES, but some doubts have been cast over it,[288][289] since fundamental modifications have been made to Keccak in order to turn it into a standard.[290] These changes potentially undermine the cryptanalysis performed during the competition and reduce the security levels of the algorithm.[288]

Dual_EC_DRBG random number generator

Main article: Dual_EC_DRBG

NSA promoted the inclusion of a random number generator called Dual_EC_DRBG in the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology‘s 2007 guidelines. This led to speculation of a backdoor which would allow NSA access to data encrypted by systems using that pseudo random number generator.[291]

This is now deemed to be plausible based on the fact that the output of the next iterations of the PRNG can provably be determined if the relation between two internal elliptic curve points is known.[292][293] Both NIST and RSA are now officially recommending against the use of this PRNG.[294][295]

Clipper chip

Main article: Clipper chip

Because of concerns that widespread use of strong cryptography would hamper government use of wiretaps, NSA proposed the concept of key escrow in 1993 and introduced the Clipper chip that would offer stronger protection than DES but would allow access to encrypted data by authorized law enforcement officials.[296] The proposal was strongly opposed and key escrow requirements ultimately went nowhere.[297] However, NSA’s Fortezza hardware-based encryption cards, created for the Clipper project, are still used within government, and NSA ultimately declassified and published the design of the Skipjack cipher used on the cards.[298][299]

Perfect Citizen

Main article: Perfect Citizen

Perfect Citizen is a program to perform vulnerability assessment by the NSA on U.S. critical infrastructure.[300][301] It was originally reported to be a program to develop a system of sensors to detect cyber attacks on critical infrastructure computer networks in both the private and public sector through a network monitoring system named Einstein.[302][303] It is funded by the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative and thus far Raytheon has received a contract for up to $100 million for the initial stage.

Academic research

NSA has invested many millions of dollars in academic research under grant code prefix MDA904, resulting in over 3,000 papers (as of 2007-10-11). NSA/CSS has, at times, attempted to restrict the publication of academic research into cryptography; for example, the Khufu and Khafre block ciphers were voluntarily withheld in response to an NSA request to do so. In response to a FOIA lawsuit, in 2013 the NSA released the 643-page research paper titled, “Untangling the Web: A Guide to Internet Research,[304] ” written and compiled by NSA employees to assist other NSA workers in searching for information of interest to the agency on the public Internet.[305]


NSA has the ability to file for a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office under gag order. Unlike normal patents, these are not revealed to the public and do not expire. However, if the Patent Office receives an application for an identical patent from a third party, they will reveal NSA’s patent and officially grant it to NSA for the full term on that date.[306]

One of NSA’s published patents describes a method of geographically locating an individual computer site in an Internet-like network, based on the latency of multiple network connections.[307] Although no public patent exists, NSA is reported to have used a similar locating technology called trilateralization that allows real-time tracking of an individual’s location, including altitude from ground level, using data obtained from cellphone towers.[308]


File:Ron Wyden and James Clapper - 12 March 2013.webm

Excerpt of James Clapper‘s false testimony to Congress on NSA surveillance programs

In the United States, at least since 2001,[309] there has been legal controversy over what signal intelligence can be used for and how much freedom the National Security Agency has to use signal intelligence.[310] The government has made, in 2015, slight changes in how it uses and collects certain types of data,[311] specifically phone records. President Barack Obama has asked lawyers and his national security team to look at the tactics that are being used by the NSA. President Obama made a speech on January 17, 2014 where he defended the national security measures, including the NSA, and their intentions for keeping the country safe through surveillance. He said that it is difficult to determine where the line should be drawn between what is too much surveillance and how much is needed for national security because technology is ever changing and evolving. Therefore, the laws cannot keep up with the rapid advancements.

President Obama did make some changes to national security regulations and how much data can be collected and surveyed.[citation needed] The first thing he added, was more presidential directive and oversight so that privacy and basic rights are not violated. The president would look over requests on behalf of American citizens to make sure that their personal privacy is not violated by the data that is being requested. Secondly, surveillance tactics and procedures are becoming more public, including over 40 rulings of the FISC that have been declassified.[citation needed] Thirdly, further protections are being placed on activities that are justified under Section 702, such as the ability to retain, search and use data collected in investigations, which allows the NSA to monitor and intercept interaction of targets overseas. Finally, national security letters, which are secret requests for information that the FBI uses in their investigations, are becoming less secretive. The secrecy of the information requested will not be indefinite and will terminate after a set time if future secrecy is not required.[citation needed] Concerning the bulk surveillance of American’s phone records, President Obama also ordered a transition from bulk surveillance under Section 215 to a new policy that will eliminate unnecessary bulk collection of metadata.

As of May 7, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the interpretation of Section 215 of the Patriot Act was wrong and that the NSA program that has been collecting Americans’ phone records in bulk is illegal.[312] It stated that Section 215 cannot be clearly interpreted to allow government to collect national phone data and, as a result, expired on June 1, 2015. This ruling “is the first time a higher-level court in the regular judicial system has reviewed the N.S.A. phone records program.” [313] The new bill getting passed later in May taking its place is known as the U.S.A. Freedom Act, which will enable the NSA to continue hunting for terrorists by analyzing telephone links between callers but “keep the bulk phone records in the hands of phone companies.”[313] This would give phone companies the freedom to dispose the records in an 18-month period. The White House argued that this new ruling validated President Obama’s support of the government being extracted from bulk data collection and giving power to the telecommunications companies.

Previously, the NSA paid billions of dollars to telecommunications companies in order to collect data from them.[314] While companies such as Google and Yahoo! claim that they do not provide “direct access” from their servers to the NSA unless under a court order,[315] the NSA had access to emails, phone calls and cellular data users.[316] With this new ruling, telecommunications companies would not provide the NSA with bulk information. The companies would allow the disposal of data in every 18 months,[313] which is arguably putting the telecommunications companies at a higher advantage.

This ruling made the collecting of phone records illegal, but it did not rule on Section 215’s constitutionality. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already put forth a new bill to re-authorize the Patriot Act.[317] Defenders of this surveillance program are claiming that judges who sit on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) had ruled 37 times that this kind of collection of data is, in fact, lawful.[317] The FISC is the court specifically mandated to grant surveillance orders in the name of foreign intelligence. The new ruling made by the Second District Court of Appeals now retroactively dismisses the findings of the FISC on this program.

See also


Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Non-accelarating Inflation Rate of Unemployment (NAIRU) — Phillips Curve — Money and Inflation — No Real Tradeoff Between Price Increases and Unemployment Rate In The Long Run — States and Nations Cutting Taxes Resulted In Higher Growth and Lower Unemployment — Videos

Posted on March 14, 2017. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Books, Business, College, Communications, Congress, conservatives, Constitution, Corruption, Documentary, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Faith, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Freedom, government, High School, history, History of Economic Thought, Inflation, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Money, Money, Newspapers, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Political Correctness, Politics, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Taxation, Taxes, Tutorials, Unemployment, Video, Wealth, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Image result for us history nairu

Image result for value of us dollar 1913 through 1916

Image result for cartoons non-accelerating inflation rate of unemploymentImage result for phillips curve

Image result for non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment

Image result for phillips curve

Image result for phillips curve

NAIRU: What it is and why it matters


The Phillips Curve – 60 Second Adventures in Economics (3/6)

The Phillips Curve (Macro Review) Macro 3.4

Phillips Curve

Phillips curve | Inflation – measuring the cost of living | Macroeconomics | Khan Academy

Image result for milton friedman nobel prize

Image result for milton friedman

Milton Friedman – Money and Inflation

Milton Friedman: Inflation vs Unemployment

Milton Friedman – Stimulus and Inflation

Milton Friedman – Money and Inflation (Q&A)

TAKE IT TO THE LIMITS: Milton Friedman on Libertarianism

Milton Friedman: There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

The Power of Choice: The Life and Ideas of Milton Friedman

Milton Friedman: Why soaking the rich won’t work.

Milton Friedman – Redistribution of Wealth

Milton Friedman – Socialism is Force

Why Free Markets Work: Milton Friedman on Political Economy (1996)

Image result for robert a mundell economist quotesImage result for robert a mundell

[2013 Shanghai Forum] Robert Mundell “Monetary Unions Free Trade Areas in the World Economy”

Supply-Side Economics: From the Reagan Era to Today. Part 3 – with Paul Gigot and Robert Mundell

‘Europe was always plagued with debt, even before euro’

Robert Mundell Says Italy is Biggest Threat to Euro: Video

Robert Mundell Ph.D – 01=22-86

The Father of Reaganomics and the Euro…

Nobel Prize in Economic 1999 Robert A Mundell

Arthur B. Laffer 2014 ALEC Annual Meeting

Lower Taxes, Higher Revenue

Do the Rich Pay Their Fair Share?


Stephen Moore 2014 ALEC Annual Meeting


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

NAIRU is an acronym for non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment,[1] and refers to a level of unemployment below which inflation rises. It was first introduced as NIRU (non-inflationary rate of unemployment) by Franco Modigliani and Lucas Papademos in 1975, as an improvement over the “natural rate of unemployment” concept,[2][3][4] which was proposed earlier by Milton Friedman.[5]

Monetary policy conducted under the assumption of a NAIRU involves allowing just enough unemployment in the economy to prevent inflation rising above a given target figure. Prices are allowed to increase gradually and some unemployment is tolerated.




An early form of NAIRU is found in the work of Abba P. Lerner (Lerner 1951, Chapter 14), who referred to it as “low full employment” attained via the expansion of aggregate demand, in contrast with the “high full employment” which adds incomes policies (wage and price controls) to demand stimulation.

The concept arose in the wake of the popularity of the Phillips curve which summarized the observed negative correlation between the rate of unemployment and the rate of inflation (measured as annual nominal wage growth of employees) for number of industrialised countries with more or less mixed economies. This correlation (previously seen for the U.S. by Irving Fisher) persuaded some analysts that it was impossible for governments simultaneously to target both arbitrarily low unemployment and price stability, and that, therefore, it was government’s role to seek a point on the trade-off between unemployment and inflation which matched a domestic social consensus.

During the 1970s in the United States and several other industrialized countries, Phillips curve analysis became less popular, because inflation rose at the same time that unemployment rose (see stagflation).

Worse, as far as many economists were concerned, was that the Phillips curve had little or no theoretical basis. Critics of this analysis (such as Milton Friedman and Edmund Phelps) argued that the Phillips curve could not be a fundamental characteristic of economic general equilibrium because it showed a correlation between a real economic variable (the unemployment rate) and a nominal economic variable (the inflation rate). Their counter-analysis was that government macroeconomic policy (primarily monetary policy) was being driven by a low unemployment target and that this caused expectations of inflation to change, so that steadily accelerating inflation rather than reduced unemployment was the result. The resulting prescription was that government economic policy (or at least monetary policy) should not be influenced by any level of unemployment below a critical level – the “natural rate” or NAIRU.[6]

The natural rate hypothesis

The idea behind the natural rate hypothesis put forward by Friedman was that any given labor market structure must involve a certain amount of unemployment, including frictional unemployment associated with individuals changing jobs and possibly classical unemployment arising from real wages being held above the market-clearing level by minimum wage laws, trade unions or other labour market institutions. Unexpected inflation might allow unemployment to fall below the natural rate by temporarily depressing real wages, but this effect would dissipate once expectations about inflation were corrected. Only with continuously accelerating inflation could rates of unemployment below the natural rate be maintained.

The analysis supporting the natural rate hypothesis was controversial, and empirical evidence suggested that the natural rate varied over time in ways that could not easily be explained by changes in labor market structures. As a result, the “natural rate” terminology was largely supplanted by that of the NAIRU, which referred to a rate of unemployment below which inflation would accelerate, but did not imply a commitment to any particular theoretical explanation, or a prediction that the rate would be stable over time.


If {\displaystyle U*}U* is the NAIRU and {\displaystyle U}U is the actual unemployment rate, the theory says that:

if {\displaystyle U<U*}U<U* for a few years, inflationary expectations rise, so that the inflation rate tends to increase;
if {\displaystyle U>U*}U>U* for a few years, inflationary expectations fall, so that the inflation rate tends to slow (there is disinflation); and
if {\displaystyle U=U*}U=U*, the inflation rate tends to stay the same, unless there is an exogenous shock.

Okun’s law can be stated as saying that for every one percentage point by which the actual unemployment rate exceeds the so-called “natural” rate of unemployment, real gross domestic product is reduced by 2% to 3%.


The NAIRU analysis assumes that if inflation increases, workers and employers can create contracts that take into account expectations of higher inflation and agree on a level of wage inflation that matches the expected level of price inflation to maintain constant real wages. Therefore, the analysis requires inflation to accelerate to maintain low unemployment. However, this argument implicitly assumes that workers and employers cannot contract to incorporate accelerating inflation into wage expectations, but there is no clear justification for assuming that expectations or contract structures are limited in this way aside from the fact that such wage arrangements are not commonly observed.

The NAIRU analysis is especially problematic if the Phillips curve displays hysteresis, that is, if episodes of high unemployment raise the NAIRU.[7] This could happen, for example, if unemployed workers lose skills so that employers prefer to bid up of the wages of existing workers when demand increases, rather than hiring the unemployed.

Others, such as Abba Lerner (1951, 1967) and Hyman Minsky (1965) have argued that a similar effect can be achieved without the human costs of unemployment via a job guarantee, where rather than being unemployed, those who cannot find work in the private sector should be employed by the government. This theory, and the policy of the job guarantee replaces the NAIRU with the NAIBER (non-accelerating-inflation-buffer employment ratio).[8]

Relationship to other economic theories

Most economists do not see the NAIRU theory as explaining all inflation. Instead, it is possible to move along a short run Phillips Curve (even though the NAIRU theory says that this curve shifts in the longer run) so that unemployment can rise or fall due to changes in inflation. Exogenous supply-shock inflation is also possible, as with the “energy crises” of the 1970s or the credit crunch of the early 21st century.

The NAIRU theory was mainly intended as an argument against active Keynesian demand management and in favor of free markets (at least on the macroeconomic level). There is, for instance, no theoretical basis for predicting the NAIRU. Monetarists instead support the generalized assertion that the correct approach to unemployment is through microeconomic measures (to lower the NAIRU whatever its exact level), rather than macroeconomic activity based on an estimate of the NAIRU in relation to the actual level of unemployment. Monetary policy, they maintain, should aim instead at stabilizing the inflation rate.


The NAIRU, non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment, is actually misnamed. It is the price level that is accelerating (or decelerating), not the inflation rate. The inflation rate is just changing, not accelerating.[9]

See also


  1. Jump up^ Coe, David T, Nominal Wages. The NAIRU and Wage Flexibility. (PDF), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  2. Jump up^ Modigliani, Franco; Papademos, Lucas (1975). “Targets for Monetary Policy in the Coming Year”. Brookings Papers on Economic Activity. The Brookings Institution. 1975 (1): 141–165. doi:10.2307/2534063. JSTOR 2534063.
  3. Jump up^ Robert M. Solow, Modigliani and Monetarism, p. 6.
  4. Jump up^ Snowdon, Brian; Vane, Howard R. (2005). Modern Macroeconomics: Its Origins, Development and Current State. Cheltenham: E. Elgar. p. 187. ISBN 1-84376-394-X.
  5. Jump up^ Friedman, Milton (1968). “The Role of Monetary Policy”. American Economic Review. 58 (1): 1–17. JSTOR 1831652.
  6. Jump up^ Hoover, Kevin D, “Phillips Curve”, The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, The Library of Economics and Liberty, retrieved 16 July 2007
  7. Jump up^ Ball, Laurence (2009), Hysteresis in Unemployment: Old and New Evidence (PDF)
  8. Jump up^ William Mitchell, J. Muysken (2008), Full employment abandoned: shifting sands and policy failures, Edward Elgar Publishing, ISBN 1-85898-507-2
  9. Jump up^ Case, K.E. and Fair, R.C. and Oster, S.M. (2016). Principles of Macroeconomics. Pearson. ISBN 9780133023671.

Further reading

External links

Phillips curve

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the Phillips curve in supernova astrophysics, see Phillips relationship.

The Phillips curve is a single-equation empirical model, named after A. W. Phillips, describing a historical inverse relationship between rates of unemployment and corresponding rates of inflation that result within an economy. Stated simply, decreased unemployment, (i.e., increased levels of employment) in an economy will correlate with higher rates of inflation.

While there is a short run tradeoff between unemployment and inflation, it has not been observed in the long run.[1] In 1968, Milton Friedman asserted that the Phillips curve was only applicable in the short-run and that in the long-run, inflationary policies will not decrease unemployment.[2][3] Friedman then correctly predicted that, in the 1973–75 recession, both inflation and unemployment would increase.[3] The long-run Phillips curve is now seen as a vertical line at the natural rate of unemployment, where the rate of inflation has no effect on unemployment.[4] Accordingly, the Phillips curve is now seen as too simplistic, with the unemployment rate supplanted by more accurate predictors of inflation based on velocity of moneysupply measures such as the MZM (“money zero maturity”) velocity,[5] which is affected by unemployment in the short but not the long term.[6]




Rate of Change of Wages against Unemployment, United Kingdom 1913–1948 from Phillips (1958)

William Phillips, a New Zealand born economist, wrote a paper in 1958 titled The Relation between Unemployment and the Rate of Change of Money Wage Rates in the United Kingdom, 1861-1957, which was published in the quarterly journal Economica.[7] In the paper Phillips describes how he observed an inverse relationship between money wage changes and unemployment in the British economy over the period examined. Similar patterns were found in other countries and in 1960 Paul Samuelson and Robert Solow took Phillips’ work and made explicit the link between inflation and unemployment: when inflation was high, unemployment was low, and vice versa.[8]

In the 1920s, an American economist Irving Fisher noted this kind of Phillips curve relationship. However, Phillips’ original curve described the behavior of money wages.[9]

In the years following Phillips’ 1958 paper, many economists in the advanced industrial countries believed that his results showed that there was a permanently stable relationship between inflation and unemployment.[citation needed] One implication of this for government policy was that governments could control unemployment and inflation with a Keynesian policy. They could tolerate a reasonably high rate of inflation as this would lead to lower unemployment – there would be a trade-off between inflation and unemployment. For example, monetary policy and/or fiscal policy could be used to stimulate the economy, raising gross domestic product and lowering the unemployment rate. Moving along the Phillips curve, this would lead to a higher inflation rate, the cost of enjoying lower unemployment rates.[citation needed] Economist James Forder argues that this view is historically false and that neither economists nor governments took that view and that the ‘Phillips curve myth’ was an invention of the 1970s.[10]

Since 1974, seven Nobel Prizes have been given to economists for, among other things, work critical of some variations of the Phillips curve. Some of this criticism is based on the United States’ experience during the 1970s, which had periods of high unemployment and high inflation at the same time. The authors receiving those prizes include Thomas Sargent, Christopher Sims, Edmund Phelps, Edward Prescott, Robert A. Mundell, Robert E. Lucas, Milton Friedman, and F.A. Hayek.[11]


In the 1970s, many countries experienced high levels of both inflation and unemployment also known as stagflation. Theories based on the Phillips curve suggested that this could not happen, and the curve came under a concerted attack from a group of economists headed by Milton Friedman.[citation needed] Friedman argued that the Phillips curve relationship was only a short-run phenomenon. In this he followed eight years after Samuelson and Solow [1960] who wrote ” All of our discussion has been phrased in short-run terms, dealing with what might happen in the next few years. It would be wrong, though, to think that our Figure 2 menu that related obtainable price and unemployment behavior will maintain its same shape in the longer run. What we do in a policy way during the next few years might cause it to shift in a definite way.”[8] As Samuelson and Solow had argued 8 years earlier, he argued that in the long run, workers and employers will take inflation into account, resulting in employment contracts that increase pay at rates near anticipated inflation. Unemployment would then begin to rise back to its previous level, but now with higher inflation rates. This result implies that over the longer-run there is no trade-off between inflation and unemployment. This implication is significant for practical reasons because it implies that central banks should not set employment targets above the natural rate.[1]

More recent research has shown that there is a moderate trade-off between low-levels of inflation and unemployment. Work by George Akerlof, William Dickens, and George Perry,[12]implies that if inflation is reduced from two to zero percent, unemployment will be permanently increased by 1.5 percent. This is because workers generally have a higher tolerance for real wage cuts than nominal ones. For example, a worker will more likely accept a wage increase of two percent when inflation is three percent, than a wage cut of one percent when the inflation rate is zero.


U.S. Inflation and Unemployment 1/2000 to 4/2013

Most economists no longer use the Phillips curve in its original form because it was shown to be too simplistic.[6] This can be seen in a cursory analysis of US inflation and unemployment data from 1953–92. There is no single curve that will fit the data, but there are three rough aggregations—1955–71, 1974–84, and 1985–92—each of which shows a general, downwards slope, but at three very different levels with the shifts occurring abruptly. The data for 1953–54 and 1972–73 do not group easily, and a more formal analysis posits up to five groups/curves over the period.[1]

But still today, modified forms of the Phillips Curve that take inflationary expectations into account remain influential. The theory goes under several names, with some variation in its details, but all modern versions distinguish between short-run and long-run effects on unemployment. Modern Phillips curve models include both a short-run Phillips Curve and a long-run Phillips Curve. This is because in the short run, there is generally an inverse relationship between inflation and the unemployment rate; as illustrated in the downward sloping short-run Phillips curve. In the long run, that relationship breaks down and the economy eventually returns to the natural rate of unemployment regardless of the inflation rate.[13]

The “short-run Phillips curve” is also called the “expectations-augmented Phillips curve”, since it shifts up when inflationary expectations rise, Edmund Phelps and Milton Friedman argued. In the long run, this implies that monetary policy cannot affect unemployment, which adjusts back to its “natural rate“, also called the “NAIRU” or “long-run Phillips curve”. However, this long-run “neutrality” of monetary policy does allow for short run fluctuations and the ability of the monetary authority to temporarily decrease unemployment by increasing permanent inflation, and vice versa. The popular textbook of Blanchard gives a textbook presentation of the expectations-augmented Phillips curve.[14]

An equation like the expectations-augmented Phillips curve also appears in many recent New Keynesiandynamic stochastic general equilibrium models. In these macroeconomic models with sticky prices, there is a positive relation between the rate of inflation and the level of demand, and therefore a negative relation between the rate of inflation and the rate of unemployment. This relationship is often called the “New Keynesian Phillips curve.” Like the expectations-augmented Phillips curve, the New Keynesian Phillips curve implies that increased inflation can lower unemployment temporarily, but cannot lower it permanently. Two influential papers that incorporate a New Keynesian Phillips curve are Clarida, Galí, and Gertler (1999),[15] and Blanchard and Galí (2007).[16]


There are at least two different mathematical derivations of the Phillips curve. First, there is the traditional or Keynesian version. Then, there is the new Classical version associated with Robert E. Lucas, Jr.

The traditional Phillips curve

The original Phillips curve literature was not based on the unaided application of economic theory. Instead, it was based on empirical generalizations. After that, economists tried to develop theories that fit the data.

Money wage determination

The traditional Phillips curve story starts with a wage Phillips Curve, of the sort described by A.W. Phillips himself. This describes the rate of growth of money wages (gW). Here and below, the operator g is the equivalent of “the percentage rate of growth of” the variable that follows.

{\displaystyle gW=gW^{T}-f(U)}gW=gW^{{T}}-f(U)

The “money wage rate” (W) is shorthand for total money wage costs per production employee, including benefits and payroll taxes. The focus is on only production workers’ money wages, because (as discussed below) these costs are crucial to pricing decisions by the firms.

This equation tells us that the growth of money wages rises with the trend rate of growth of money wages (indicated by the superscript “T”) and falls with the unemployment rate (U). The function f() is assumed to be monotonically increasing with U so that the dampening of money-wage increases by unemployment is shown by the negative sign in the equation above.

There are several possible stories behind this equation. A major one is that money wages are set by bilateral negotiations under partial bilateral monopoly: as the unemployment rate rises, all else constant worker bargaining power falls, so that workers are less able to increase their wages in the face of employer resistance.

During the 1970s, this story had to be modified, because (as the late Abba Lerner had suggested in the 1940s) workers try to keep up with inflation. Since the 1970s, the equation has been changed to introduce the role of inflationary expectations (or the expected inflation rate, gPex). This produces the expectations-augmented wage Phillips curve:

{\displaystyle gW=gW^{T}-f(U)+\lambda .gP^{ex}.}gW=gW^{{T}}-f(U)+\lambda .gP^{{ex}}.

The introduction of inflationary expectations into the equation implies that actual inflation can feed back into inflationary expectations and thus cause further inflation. The late economist James Tobin dubbed the last term “inflationary inertia,” because in the current period, inflation exists which represents an inflationary impulse left over from the past.

It also involved much more than expectations, including the price-wage spiral. In this spiral, employers try to protect profits by raising their prices and employees try to keep up with inflation to protect their real wages. This process can feed on itself, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The parameter λ (which is presumed constant during any time period) represents the degree to which employees can gain money wage increases to keep up with expected inflation, preventing a fall in expected real wages. It is usually assumed that this parameter equals unity in the long run.

In addition, the function f() was modified to introduce the idea of the Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment (NAIRU) or what’s sometimes called the “natural” rate of unemployment or the inflation-threshold unemployment rate:

[1] gW = gWTf(UU*) + λ·gPex.

Here, U* is the NAIRU. As discussed below, if U < U*, inflation tends to accelerate. Similarly, if U > U*, inflation tends to slow. It is assumed that f(0) = 0, so that when U = U*, the f term drops out of the equation.

In equation [1], the roles of gWT and gPex seem to be redundant, playing much the same role. However, assuming that λ is equal to unity, it can be seen that they are not. If the trend rate of growth of money wages equals zero, then the case where U equals U* implies that gW equals expected inflation. That is, expected real wages are constant.

In any reasonable economy, however, having constant expected real wages could only be consistent with actual real wages that are constant over the long haul. This does not fit with economic experience in the U.S. or any other major industrial country. Even though real wages have not risen much in recent years, there have been important increases over the decades.

An alternative is to assume that the trend rate of growth of money wages equals the trend rate of growth of average labor productivity (Z). That is:

[2] gWT = gZT.

Under assumption [2], when U equals U* and λ equals unity, expected real wages would increase with labor productivity. This would be consistent with an economy in which actual real wages increase with labor productivity. Deviations of real-wage trends from those of labor productivity might be explained by reference to other variables in the model.

Pricing decisions

Next, there is price behavior. The standard assumption is that markets are imperfectly competitive, where most businesses have some power to set prices. So the model assumes that the average business sets a unit price (P) as a mark-up (M) over the unit labor cost in production measured at a standard rate of capacity utilization (say, at 90 percent use of plant and equipment) and then adds in the unit materials cost.

The standardization involves later ignoring deviations from the trend in labor productivity. For example, assume that the growth of labor productivity is the same as that in the trend and that current productivity equals its trend value:

gZ = gZT and Z = ZT.

The markup reflects both the firm’s degree of market power and the extent to which overhead costs have to be paid. Put another way, all else equal, M rises with the firm’s power to set prices or with a rise of overhead costs relative to total costs.

So pricing follows this equation:

P = M × (unit labor cost) + (unit materials cost)
= M × (total production employment cost)/(quantity of output) + UMC.

UMC is unit raw materials cost (total raw materials costs divided by total output). So the equation can be restated as:

P = M × (production employment cost per worker)/(output per production employee) + UMC.

This equation can again be stated as:

P = M×(average money wage)/(production labor productivity) + UMC
= M×(W/Z) + UMC.

Now, assume that both the average price/cost mark-up (M) and UMC are constant. On the other hand, labor productivity grows, as before. Thus, an equation determining the price inflation rate (gP) is:

gP = gWgZT.


Then, combined with the wage Phillips curve [equation 1] and the assumption made above about the trend behavior of money wages [equation 2], this price-inflation equation gives us a simple expectations-augmented price Phillips curve:

gP = −f(UU*) + λ·gPex.

Some assume that we can simply add in gUMC, the rate of growth of UMC, in order to represent the role of supply shocks (of the sort that plagued the U.S. during the 1970s). This produces a standard short-term Phillips curve:

gP = −f(UU*) + λ·gPex + gUMC.

Economist Robert J. Gordon has called this the “Triangle Model” because it explains short-run inflationary behavior by three factors: demand inflation (due to low unemployment), supply-shock inflation (gUMC), and inflationary expectations or inertial inflation.

In the long run, it is assumed, inflationary expectations catch up with and equal actual inflation so that gP = gPex. This represents the long-term equilibrium of expectations adjustment. Part of this adjustment may involve the adaptation of expectations to the experience with actual inflation. Another might involve guesses made by people in the economy based on other evidence. (The latter idea gave us the notion of so-called rational expectations.)

Expectational equilibrium gives us the long-term Phillips curve. First, with λ less than unity:

gP = [1/(1 − λ)]·(−f(UU*) + gUMC).

This is nothing but a steeper version of the short-run Phillips curve above. Inflation rises as unemployment falls, while this connection is stronger. That is, a low unemployment rate (less than U*) will be associated with a higher inflation rate in the long run than in the short run. This occurs because the actual higher-inflation situation seen in the short run feeds back to raise inflationary expectations, which in turn raises the inflation rate further. Similarly, at high unemployment rates (greater than U*) lead to low inflation rates. These in turn encourage lower inflationary expectations, so that inflation itself drops again.

This logic goes further if λ is equal to unity, i.e., if workers are able to protect their wages completely from expected inflation, even in the short run. Now, the Triangle Model equation becomes:

f(UU*) = gUMC.

If we further assume (as seems reasonable) that there are no long-term supply shocks, this can be simplified to become:

f(UU*) = 0 which implies that U = U*.

All of the assumptions imply that in the long run, there is only one possible unemployment rate, U* at any one time. This uniqueness explains why some call this unemployment rate “natural.”

To truly understand and criticize the uniqueness of U*, a more sophisticated and realistic model is needed. For example, we might introduce the idea that workers in different sectors push for money wage increases that are similar to those in other sectors. Or we might make the model even more realistic. One important place to look is at the determination of the mark-up, M.

New classical version

The Phillips curve equation can be derived from the (short-run) Lucas aggregate supply function. The Lucas approach is very different from that the traditional view. Instead of starting with empirical data, he started with a classical economic model following very simple economic principles.

Start with the aggregate supply function:

{\displaystyle Y=Y_{n}+a(P-P_{e})\,}Y=Y_{n}+a(P-P_{e})\,

where Y is log value of the actual output, Yn is log value of the “natural” level of output, a is a positive constant, P is log value of the actual price level, and Pe is log value of the expected price level. Lucas assumes that Yn has a unique value.

Note that this equation indicates that when expectations of future inflation (or, more correctly, the future price level) are totally accurate, the last term drops out, so that actual output equals the so-called “natural” level of real GDP. This means that in the Lucas aggregate supply curve, the only reason why actual real GDP should deviate from potential—and the actual unemployment rate should deviate from the “natural” rate—is because of incorrect expectations of what is going to happen with prices in the future. (The idea has been expressed first by Keynes, General Theory, Chapter 20 section III paragraph 4).

This differs from other views of the Phillips curve, in which the failure to attain the “natural” level of output can be due to the imperfection or incompleteness of markets, the stickiness of prices, and the like. In the non-Lucas view, incorrect expectations can contribute to aggregate demand failure, but they are not the only cause. To the “new Classical” followers of Lucas, markets are presumed to be perfect and always attain equilibrium (given inflationary expectations).

We re-arrange the equation into:

{\displaystyle P=P_{e}+{\frac {Y-Y_{n}}{a}}}P=P_{e}+{\frac {Y-Y_{n}}{a}}

Next we add unexpected exogenous shocks to the world supply v:

{\displaystyle P=P_{e}+{\frac {Y-Y_{n}}{a}}+v}P=P_{e}+{\frac {Y-Y_{n}}{a}}+v

Subtracting last year’s price levels P−1 will give us inflation rates, because

{\displaystyle P-P_{-1}\ \approx \pi }P-P_{{-1}}\ \approx \pi


{\displaystyle P_{e}-P_{-1}\ \approx \pi _{e}}P_{e}-P_{{-1}}\ \approx \pi _{e}

where π and πe are the inflation and expected inflation respectively.

There is also a negative relationship between output and unemployment (as expressed by Okun’s law). Therefore, using

{\displaystyle {\frac {Y-Y_{n}}{a}}=-b(U-U_{n})}{\frac {Y-Y_{n}}{a}}=-b(U-U_{n})

where b is a positive constant, U is unemployment, and Un is the natural rate of unemployment or NAIRU, we arrive at the final form of the short-run Phillips curve:

{\displaystyle \pi =\pi _{e}-b(U-U_{n})+v\,}\pi =\pi _{e}-b(U-U_{n})+v\,

This equation, plotting inflation rate π against unemployment U gives the downward-sloping curve in the diagram that characterises the Phillips curve.

New Keynesian version

The New Keynesian Phillips curve was originally derived by Roberts in 1995,[17] and since been used in most state-of-the-art New Keynesian DSGE models like the one of Clarida, Galí, and Gertler (2000).[18][19]

{\displaystyle \pi _{t}=\beta E_{t}[\pi _{t+1}]+\kappa y_{t}}\pi _{{t}}=\beta E_{{t}}[\pi _{{t+1}}]+\kappa y_{{t}}

where {\displaystyle \kappa ={\frac {\alpha [1-(1-\alpha )\beta ]\phi }{1-\alpha }}}\kappa ={\frac {\alpha [1-(1-\alpha )\beta ]\phi }{1-\alpha }}. The current expectations of next period’s inflation are incorporated as {\displaystyle \beta E_{t}[\pi _{t+1}]}\beta E_{{t}}[\pi _{{t+1}}]

NAIRU and rational expectations

Short-Run Phillips Curve before and after Expansionary Policy, with Long-Run Phillips Curve (NAIRU)

In the 1970s, new theories, such as rational expectations and the NAIRU (non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment) arose to explain how stagflation could occur. The latter theory, also known as the “natural rate of unemployment“, distinguished between the “short-term” Phillips curve and the “long-term” one. The short-term Phillips Curve looked like a normal Phillips Curve, but shifted in the long run as expectations changed. In the long run, only a single rate of unemployment (the NAIRU or “natural” rate) was consistent with a stable inflation rate. The long-run Phillips Curve was thus vertical, so there was no trade-off between inflation and unemployment. Edmund Phelps won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2006 in part for this. However, the expectations argument was in fact very widely understood before his work on it.[20]

In the diagram, the long-run Phillips curve is the vertical red line. The NAIRU theory says that when unemployment is at the rate defined by this line, inflation will be stable. However, in the short-run policymakers will face an inflation-unemployment rate tradeoff marked by the “Initial Short-Run Phillips Curve” in the graph. Policymakers can therefore reduce the unemployment rate temporarily, moving from point A to point B through expansionary policy. However, according to the NAIRU, exploiting this short-run tradeoff will raise inflation expectations, shifting the short-run curve rightward to the “New Short-Run Phillips Curve” and moving the point of equilibrium from B to C. Thus the reduction in unemployment below the “Natural Rate” will be temporary, and lead only to higher inflation in the long run.

Since the short-run curve shifts outward due to the attempt to reduce unemployment, the expansionary policy ultimately worsens the exploitable tradeoff between unemployment and inflation. That is, it results in more inflation at each short-run unemployment rate. The name “NAIRU” arises because with actual unemployment below it, inflation accelerates, while with unemployment above it, inflation decelerates. With the actual rate equal to it, inflation is stable, neither accelerating nor decelerating. One practical use of this model was to provide an explanation for stagflation, which confounded the traditional Phillips curve.

The rational expectations theory said that expectations of inflation were equal to what actually happened, with some minor and temporary errors. This in turn suggested that the short-run period was so short that it was non-existent: any effort to reduce unemployment below the NAIRU, for example, would immediately cause inflationary expectations to rise and thus imply that the policy would fail. Unemployment would never deviate from the NAIRU except due to random and transitory mistakes in developing expectations about future inflation rates. In this perspective, any deviation of the actual unemployment rate from the NAIRU was an illusion.

However, in the 1990s in the U.S., it became increasingly clear that the NAIRU did not have a unique equilibrium and could change in unpredictable ways. In the late 1990s, the actual unemployment rate fell below 4% of the labor force, much lower than almost all estimates of the NAIRU. But inflation stayed very moderate rather than accelerating. So, just as the Phillips curve had become a subject of debate, so did the NAIRU.

Furthermore, the concept of rational expectations had become subject to much doubt when it became clear that the main assumption of models based on it was that there exists a single (unique) equilibrium in the economy that is set ahead of time, determined independently of demand conditions. The experience of the 1990s suggests that this assumption cannot be sustained.

Theoretical questions

The Phillips curve started as an empirical observation in search of a theoretical explanation.[citation needed] Specifically, the Phillips curve tried to determine whether the inflation-unemployment link was causal or simply correlational. There are several major explanations of the short-term Phillips curve regularity.

To Milton Friedman there is a short-term correlation between inflation shocks and employment. When an inflationary surprise occurs, workers are fooled into accepting lower pay because they do not see the fall in real wages right away. Firms hire them because they see the inflation as allowing higher profits for given nominal wages. This is a movement along the Phillips curve as with change A. Eventually, workers discover that real wages have fallen, so they push for higher money wages. This causes the Phillips curve to shift upward and to the right, as with B. Some research underlines that some implicit and serious assumptions are actually in the background of the Friedmanian Phillips curve. This information asymmetry and a special pattern of flexibility of prices and wages are both necessary if one wants to maintain the mechanism told by Friedman. However, as it is argued, these presumptions remain completely unrevealed and theoretically ungrounded by Friedman.[21]

Economists such as Milton Friedman and Edmund Phelps reject this theory because it implies that workers suffer from money illusion. According to them, rational workers would only react to real wages, that is, inflation adjusted wages. However, one of the characteristics of a modern industrial economy is that workers do not encounter their employers in an atomized and perfect market. They operate in a complex combination of imperfect markets, monopolies, monopsonies, labor unions, and other institutions. In many cases, they may lack the bargaining power to act on their expectations, no matter how rational they are, or their perceptions, no matter how free of money illusion they are. It is not that high inflation causes low unemployment (as in Milton Friedman’s theory) as much as vice versa: Low unemployment raises worker bargaining power, allowing them to successfully push for higher nominal wages. To protect profits, employers raise prices.

Similarly, built-in inflation is not simply a matter of subjective “inflationary expectations” but also reflects the fact that high inflation can gather momentum and continue beyond the time when it was started, due to the objective price/wage spiral.

However, other economists, like Jeffrey Herbener, argue that price is market-determined and competitive firms cannot simply raise prices.[citation needed] They reject the Phillips curve entirely, concluding that unemployment’s influence is only a small portion of a much larger inflation picture that includes prices of raw materials, intermediate goods, cost of raising capital, worker productivity, land, and other factors.

Gordon’s triangle model

Robert J. Gordon of Northwestern University has analyzed the Phillips curve to produce what he calls the triangle model, in which the actual inflation rate is determined by the sum of

  1. demand pull or short-term Phillips curve inflation,
  2. cost push or supply shocks, and
  3. built-in inflation.

The last reflects inflationary expectations and the price/wage spiral. Supply shocks and changes in built-in inflation are the main factors shifting the short-run Phillips Curve and changing the trade-off. In this theory, it is not only inflationary expectations that can cause stagflation. For example, the steep climb of oil prices during the 1970s could have this result.

Changes in built-in inflation follow the partial-adjustment logic behind most theories of the NAIRU:

  1. Low unemployment encourages high inflation, as with the simple Phillips curve. But if unemployment stays low and inflation stays high for a long time, as in the late 1960s in the U.S., both inflationary expectations and the price/wage spiral accelerate. This shifts the short-run Phillips curve upward and rightward, so that more inflation is seen at any given unemployment rate. (This is with shift B in the diagram.)
  2. High unemployment encourages low inflation, again as with a simple Phillips curve. But if unemployment stays high and inflation stays low for a long time, as in the early 1980s in the U.S., both inflationary expectations and the price/wage spiral slow. This shifts the short-run Phillips curve downward and leftward, so that less inflation is seen at each unemployment rate.

In between these two lies the NAIRU, where the Phillips curve does not have any inherent tendency to shift, so that the inflation rate is stable. However, there seems to be a range in the middle between “high” and “low” where built-in inflation stays stable. The ends of this “non-accelerating inflation range of unemployment rates” change over time.

Joke article

In 2008, Gregor Smith published a joke article in the prestigious Journal of Money, Credit and Banking titled “Japan’s Phillips Curve Looks Like Japan”. This article points out the uncanny resemblance between Japan’s Phillips curve and the country’s geographic shape.[22]

See also


  1. ^ Jump up to:a b c Chang, R. (1997) “Is Low Unemployment Inflationary?” Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Economic Review 1Q97:4-13
  2. Jump up^ Friedman, Milton (1968). “The role of monetary policy”. American Economic Review. 68 (1): 1–17. JSTOR 1831652.
  3. ^ Jump up to:a b Phelan, John (23 October 2012). “Milton Friedman and the rise and fall of the Phillips Curve”. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
  4. Jump up^ “Phillips Curve: The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics – Library of Economics and Liberty”.
  5. Jump up^ “Velocity of MZM Money Stock”. 22 December 2016.
  6. ^ Jump up to:a b Oliver Hossfeld (2010) “US Money Demand, Monetary Overhang, and Inflation Prediction” International Network for Economic Research working paper no. 2010.4
  7. Jump up^ Phillips, A. W. (1958). “The Relationship between Unemployment and the Rate of Change of Money Wages in the United Kingdom 1861-1957”. Economica. 25 (100): 283–299. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0335.1958.tb00003.x.
  8. ^ Jump up to:a b Samuelson, Paul A.; Solow, Robert M. (1960). “Analytical Aspects of Anti-Inflation Policy”. American Economic Review. 50 (2): 177–194. JSTOR 1815021.
  9. Jump up^ Fisher, Irving (1973). “I discovered the Phillips curve: ‘A statistical relation between unemployment and price changes'”. Journal of Political Economy. The University of Chicago Press. 81 (2): 496–502. doi:10.1086/260048. JSTOR 1830534. Reprinted from 1926 edition of International Labour Review.
  10. Jump up^ Forder, James (2014). Macroeconomics and the Phillips Curve Myth. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-968365-9.
  11. Jump up^ Domitrovic, Brain (10 October 2011). “The Economics Nobel Goes to Sargent & Sims: Attackers of the Phillips Curve”. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
  12. Jump up^ Akerlof, George A.; Dickens, William T.; Perry, George L. (2000). “Near-Rational Wage and Price Setting and the Long-Run Phillips Curve”. Brookings Papers on Economic Activity. 2000 (1): 1–60.
  13. Jump up^ Jacob, Reed (2016). “AP Macroeconomics Review: Phillips Curve”.
  14. Jump up^ Blanchard, Olivier (2000). Macroeconomics (Second ed.). Prentice Hall. pp. 149–55. ISBN 0-13-013306-X.
  15. Jump up^ Clarida, Richard; Galí, Jordi; Gertler, Mark (1999). “The science of monetary policy: a New-Keynesian perspective”. Journal of Economic Literature. American Economic Association. 37 (4): 1661–1707. doi:10.1257/jel.37.4.1661. JSTOR 2565488.
  16. Jump up^ Blanchard, Olivier; Galí, Jordi (2007). “Real Wage Rigidities and the New Keynesian Model”. Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking. 39 (s1): 35–65. doi:10.1111/j.1538-4616.2007.00015.x.
  17. Jump up^ Roberts, John M. (1995). “New Keynesian Economics and the Phillips Curve”. Journal of Money, Credit and Banking. 27 (4): 975–984. JSTOR 2077783.
  18. Jump up^ Clarida, Richard; Galí, Jordi; Gertler, Mark (2000). “Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory”. The Quarterly Journal of Economics. 115 (1): 147–180. doi:10.1162/003355300554692.
  19. Jump up^ Romer, David (2012). “Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Models of Fluctuation”. Advanced Macroeconomics. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin. pp. 312–364. ISBN 978-0-07-351137-5.
  20. Jump up^ Forder, James (2010). “The historical place of the ‘Friedman-Phelps’ expectations critique”. European Journal of the History of Economic Thought. 17 (3): 493–511. doi:10.1080/09672560903114875.
  21. Jump up^ Galbács, Peter (2015). The Theory of New Classical Macroeconomics. A Positive Critique. Heidelberg/New York/Dordrecht/London: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-17578-2. ISBN 978-3-319-17578-2.
  22. Jump up^ Smith, Gregor W. (1 September 2008). “Japan’s Phillips Curve Looks Like Japan”. 40 (6): 1325–1326. doi:10.1111/j.1538-4616.2008.00160.x – via Wiley Online Library.

Further reading

External links

Milton Friedman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Milton friedman)
Milton Friedman
Portrait of Milton Friedman.jpg

Friedman in 2004
Born July 31, 1912
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Died November 16, 2006 (aged 94)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Spouse(s) Rose Friedman
School or
Chicago School
Alma mater
Simon Kuznets
Phillip Cagan
Harry Markowitz
Lester G. Telser[1]
David I. Meiselman
Neil Wallace
Miguel Sidrauski
Information at IDEAS / RePEc
Milton friedman signature.svg

Milton Friedman (July 31, 1912 – November 16, 2006) was an American economist who received the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his research on consumption analysis, monetary history and theory, and the complexity of stabilization policy.[4] With George Stigler and others, Friedman was among the intellectual leaders of the second generation of Chicago price theory, a methodological movement at the University of Chicago’s Department of Economics, Law School, and Graduate School of Business from the 1940s onward. Several students and young professors that were recruited or mentored by Friedman at Chicago went on to become leading economists; they include Gary Becker, Robert Fogel, Thomas Sowell,[5] and Robert Lucas, Jr.[6]

Friedman’s challenges to what he later called “naive Keynesian” theory[7] began with his 1950s reinterpretation of the consumption function. In the 1960s, he became the main advocate opposing Keynesian government policies,[8] and described his approach (along with mainstream economics) as using “Keynesian language and apparatus” yet rejecting its “initial” conclusions.[9] He theorized that there existed a “natural” rate of unemployment, and argued that employment above this rate would cause inflation to accelerate.[10] He argued that the Phillips curve was, in the long run, vertical at the “natural rate” and predicted what would come to be known as stagflation.[11] Friedman promoted an alternative macroeconomic viewpoint known as “monetarism“, and argued that a steady, small expansion of the money supply was the preferred policy.[12] His ideas concerning monetary policy, taxation, privatization and deregulation influenced government policies, especially during the 1980s. His monetary theory influenced the Federal Reserve’s response to the global financial crisis of 2007–08.[13]

Friedman was an advisor to Republican U.S. President Ronald Reagan[14] and Conservative British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.[15] His political philosophy extolled the virtues of a free market economic system with minimal intervention. He once stated that his role in eliminating U.S. conscription was his proudest accomplishment. In his 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom, Friedman advocated policies such as a volunteer military, freely floating exchange rates, abolition of medical licenses, a negative income tax, and school vouchers.[16] His support for school choice led him to found the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, later renamed EdChoice.[17]

Milton Friedman’s works include many monographs, books, scholarly articles, papers, magazine columns, television programs, and lectures, and cover a broad range of economic topics and public policy issues. His books and essays have had an international influence, including in former communist states.[18][19][20][21] A survey of economists ranked Friedman as the second-most popular economist of the twentieth century after John Maynard Keynes,[22] and The Economist described him as “the most influential economist of the second half of the 20th century … possibly of all of it”.[23]



Early life

Friedman was born in Brooklyn, New York on July 31, 1912. His parents, Sára Ethel (née Landau) and Jenő Saul Friedman,[24] were Jewish immigrants from Beregszász in Carpathian Ruthenia, Kingdom of Hungary (now Berehove in Ukraine). They both worked as dry goods merchants. Shortly after Milton’s birth, the family relocated to Rahway, New Jersey. In his early teens, Friedman was injured in a car accident, which scarred his upper lip.[25] A talented student, Friedman graduated from Rahway High School in 1928, just before his 16th birthday.[26][27]

In 1932, Friedman graduated from Rutgers University, where he specialized in mathematics and economics and initially intended to become an actuary. During his time at Rutgers, Friedman became influenced by two economics professors, Arthur F. Burns and Homer Jones, who convinced him that modern economics could help end the Great Depression.

After graduating from Rutgers, Friedman was offered two scholarships to do graduate work—one in mathematics at Brown University and the other in economics at the University of Chicago.[28] Friedman chose the latter, thus earning a Master of Arts degree in 1933. He was strongly influenced by Jacob Viner, Frank Knight, and Henry Simons. It was at Chicago that Friedman met his future wife, economist Rose Director. During the 1933–1934 academic year he had a fellowship at Columbia University, where he studied statistics with renowned statistician and economist Harold Hotelling. He was back in Chicago for the 1934–1935 academic year, working as a research assistant for Henry Schultz, who was then working on Theory and Measurement of Demand. That year, Friedman formed what would prove to be lifelong friendships with George Stigler and W. Allen Wallis.[29]

Public service

Friedman was initially unable to find academic employment, so in 1935 he followed his friend W. Allen Wallis to Washington, where Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s New Deal was “a lifesaver” for many young economists.[30] At this stage, Friedman said that he and his wife “regarded the job-creation programs such as the WPA, CCC, and PWA appropriate responses to the critical situation,” but not “the price- and wage-fixing measures of the National Recovery Administration and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration.”[31] Foreshadowing his later ideas, he believed price controls interfered with an essential signaling mechanism to help resources be used where they were most valued. Indeed, Friedman later concluded that all government intervention associated with the New Deal was “the wrong cure for the wrong disease,” arguing that the money supply should simply have been expanded, instead of contracted.[32] Later, Friedman and his colleague Anna Schwartz wrote A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960, which argued that the Great Depression was caused by a severe monetary contraction due to banking crises and poor policy on the part of the Federal Reserve.[33]

During 1935, he began work for the National Resources Committee, which was then working on a large consumer budget survey. Ideas from this project later became a part of his Theory of the Consumption Function. Friedman began employment with the National Bureau of Economic Research during autumn 1937 to assist Simon Kuznets in his work on professional income. This work resulted in their jointly authored publication Incomes from Independent Professional Practice, which introduced the concepts of permanent and transitory income, a major component of the Permanent Income Hypothesis that Friedman worked out in greater detail in the 1950s. The book hypothesizes that professional licensing artificially restricts the supply of services and raises prices.

During 1940, Friedman was appointed an assistant professor teaching Economics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, but encountered antisemitism in the Economics department and decided to return to government service.[34][35] From 1941 to 1943 Friedman worked on wartime tax policy for the Federal Government, as an advisor to senior officials of the United States Department of the Treasury. As a Treasury spokesman during 1942 he advocated a Keynesian policy of taxation. He helped to invent the payroll withholding tax system, since the federal government badly needed money in order to fight the war.[36] He later said, “I have no apologies for it, but I really wish we hadn’t found it necessary and I wish there were some way of abolishing withholding now.”[37]

Academic career

Early years

In 1940, Friedman accepted a position at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, but left because of differences with faculty regarding United States involvement in World War II. Friedman believed the United States should enter the war.[38] In 1943, Friedman joined the Division of War Research at Columbia University (headed by W. Allen Wallis and Harold Hotelling), where he spent the rest of World War II working as a mathematical statistician, focusing on problems of weapons design, military tactics, and metallurgical experiments.[38][39]

In 1945, Friedman submitted Incomes from Independent Professional Practice (co-authored with Kuznets and completed during 1940) to Columbia as his doctoral dissertation. The university awarded him a PhD in 1946. Friedman spent the 1945–1946 academic year teaching at the University of Minnesota (where his friend George Stigler was employed). On February 12, 1945, his son, David D. Friedman was born.

University of Chicago

In 1946, Friedman accepted an offer to teach economic theory at the University of Chicago (a position opened by departure of his former professor Jacob Viner to Princeton University). Friedman would work for the University of Chicago for the next 30 years. There he contributed to the establishment of an intellectual community that produced a number of Nobel Prize winners, known collectively as the Chicago school of economics.

At that time, Arthur F. Burns, who was then the head of the National Bureau of Economic Research, asked Friedman to rejoin the Bureau’s staff. He accepted the invitation, and assumed responsibility for the Bureau’s inquiry into the role of money in the business cycle. As a result, he initiated the “Workshop in Money and Banking” (the “Chicago Workshop”), which promoted a revival of monetary studies. During the latter half of the 1940s, Friedman began a collaboration with Anna Schwartz, an economic historian at the Bureau, that would ultimately result in the 1963 publication of a book co-authored by Friedman and Schwartz, A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960.

Friedman spent the 1954–1955 academic year as a Fulbright Visiting Fellow at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. At the time, the Cambridge economics faculty was divided into a Keynesian majority (including Joan Robinson and Richard Kahn) and an anti-Keynesian minority (headed by Dennis Robertson). Friedman speculated that he was invited to the fellowship, because his views were unacceptable to both of the Cambridge factions. Later his weekly columns for Newsweek magazine (1966–84) were well read and increasingly influential among political and business people.[40] From 1968 to 1978, he and Paul Samuelson participated in the Economics Cassette Series, a biweekly subscription series where the economist would discuss the days’ issues for about a half-hour at a time.[41][42]

Friedman was an economic adviser to Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater during 1964.

Personal life


In 1977, at the age of 65, Friedman retired from the University of Chicago after teaching there for 30 years. He and his wife moved to San Francisco where he became a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. From 1977 on, he was affiliated with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. During the same year, Friedman was approached by the Free To Choose Network and asked to create a television program presenting his economic and social philosophy.

The Friedmans worked on this project for the next three years, and during 1980, the ten-part series, titled Free to Choose, was broadcast by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). The companion book to the series (co-authored by Milton and his wife, Rose Friedman), also titled Free To Choose, was the bestselling nonfiction book of 1980 and has since been translated into 14 foreign languages.

Friedman served as an unofficial adviser to Ronald Reagan during his 1980 presidential campaign, and then served on the President’s Economic Policy Advisory Board for the rest of the Reagan Administration. Ebenstein says Friedman was “the ‘guru’ of the Reagan administration.”[43] In 1988 he received the National Medal of Science and Reagan honored him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Milton Friedman is known now as one of the most influential economists of the 20th century.[44][45] Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Friedman continued to write editorials and appear on television. He made several visits to Eastern Europe and to China, where he also advised governments. He was also for many years a Trustee of the Philadelphia Society.[46][47][48]

Later life

According to a 2007 article in Commentary magazine, his “parents were moderately observant [Jews], but Friedman, after an intense burst of childhood piety, rejected religion altogether.”[49] He described himself as an agnostic.[50] Friedman wrote extensively of his life and experiences, especially in 1998 in his memoirs with his wife Rose, titled Two Lucky People.


Friedman died of heart failure at the age of 94 years in San Francisco on November 16, 2006.[51] He was still a working economist performing original economic research; his last column was published in The Wall Street Journal the day after his death.[52] He was survived by his wife (who died on August 18, 2009) and their two children, David, known for the anarcho-capitalist book The Machinery of Freedom, and Janet.

Scholarly contributions


Friedman was best known for reviving interest in the money supply as a determinant of the nominal value of output, that is, the quantity theory of money. Monetarism is the set of views associated with modern quantity theory. Its origins can be traced back to the 16th-century School of Salamanca or even further; however, Friedman’s contribution is largely responsible for its modern popularization. He co-authored, with Anna Schwartz, A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960 (1963), which was an examination of the role of the money supply and economic activity in the U.S. history. A striking conclusion of their research regarded the way in which money supply fluctuations contribute to economic fluctuations. Several regression studies with David Meiselman during the 1960s suggested the primacy of the money supply over investment and government spending in determining consumption and output. These challenged a prevailing, but largely untested, view on their relative importance. Friedman’s empirical research and some theory supported the conclusion that the short-run effect of a change of the money supply was primarily on output but that the longer-run effect was primarily on the price level.

Friedman was the main proponent of the monetarist school of economics. He maintained that there is a close and stable association between inflation and the money supply, mainly that inflation could be avoided with proper regulation of the monetary base’s growth rate. He famously used the analogy of “dropping money out of a helicopter.”,[53] in order to avoid dealing with money injection mechanisms and other factors that would overcomplicate his models.

Friedman’s arguments were designed to counter the popular concept of cost-push inflation, that the increased general price level at the time was the result of increases in the price of oil, or increases in wages; as he wrote,

Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.

— Milton Friedman, 1963.[54]

Friedman rejected the use of fiscal policy as a tool of demand management; and he held that the government’s role in the guidance of the economy should be restricted severely. Friedman wrote extensively on the Great Depression, which he termed the Great Contraction, arguing that it had been caused by an ordinary financial shock whose duration and seriousness were greatly increased by the subsequent contraction of the money supply caused by the misguided policies of the directors of the Federal Reserve.

The Fed was largely responsible for converting what might have been a garden-variety recession, although perhaps a fairly severe one, into a major catastrophe. Instead of using its powers to offset the depression, it presided over a decline in the quantity of money by one-third from 1929 to 1933 … Far from the depression being a failure of the free-enterprise system, it was a tragic failure of government.

— Milton Friedman, Two Lucky People, 233[55]

Friedman also argued for the cessation of government intervention in currency markets, thereby spawning an enormous literature on the subject, as well as promoting the practice of freely floating exchange rates. His close friend George Stigler explained, “As is customary in science, he did not win a full victory, in part because research was directed along different lines by the theory of rational expectations, a newer approach developed by Robert Lucas, also at the University of Chicago.”[56] The relationship between Friedman and Lucas, or new classical macroeconomics as a whole, was highly complex. The Friedmanian Phillips curve was an interesting starting point for Lucas, but he soon realized that the solution provided by Friedman was not quite satisfactory. Lucas elaborated a new approach in which rational expectations were presumed instead of the Friedmanian adaptive expectations. Due to this reformulation, the story in which the theory of the new classical Phillips curve was embedded radically changed. This modification, however, had a significant effect on Friedman’s own approach, so, as a result, the theory of the Friedmanian Phillips curve also changed.[57] Moreover, new classical Neil Wallace, who was a graduate student at the University of Chicago between 1960 and 1963, regarded Friedman’s theoretical courses as a mess.[58] This evaluation clearly indicates the broken relationship between Friedmanian monetarism and new classical macroeconomics.

Friedman was also known for his work on the consumption function, the permanent income hypothesis (1957), which Friedman himself referred to as his best scientific work.[59] This work contended that rational consumers would spend a proportional amount of what they perceived to be their permanent income. Windfall gains would mostly be saved. Tax reductions likewise, as rational consumers would predict that taxes would have to increase later to balance public finances. Other important contributions include his critique of the Phillips curve and the concept of the natural rate of unemployment (1968). This critique associated his name, together with that of Edmund Phelps, with the insight that a government that brings about greater inflation cannot permanently reduce unemployment by doing so. Unemployment may be temporarily lower, if the inflation is a surprise, but in the long run unemployment will be determined by the frictions and imperfections of the labor market.

Friedman’s essay “The Methodology of Positive Economics” (1953) provided the epistemological pattern for his own subsequent research and to a degree that of the Chicago School. There he argued that economics as science should be free of value judgments for it to be objective. Moreover, a useful economic theory should be judged not by its descriptive realism but by its simplicity and fruitfulness as an engine of prediction. That is, students should measure the accuracy of its predictions, rather than the ‘soundness of its assumptions’. His argument was part of an ongoing debate among such statisticians as Jerzy Neyman, Leonard Savage, and Ronald Fisher.[60]


One of his most famous contributions to statistics is sequential sampling. Friedman did statistical work at the Division of War Research at Columbia, where he and his colleagues came up with the technique. It later became, in the words of The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, “the standard analysis of quality control inspection”. The dictionary adds, “Like many of Friedman’s contributions, in retrospect it seems remarkably simple and obvious to apply basic economic ideas to quality control; that however is a measure of his genius.”[61]

Public policy positions

Federal Reserve

Due to its poor performance,[62] Friedman believed that the Federal Reserve Board should be abolished.[63][64] Friedman was deeply critical about Federal Reserve policies, even during the so-called ‘Volcker shock’ that was labelled ‘monetarist.’[65] He further believed that if the money supply was to be centrally controlled (as by the Federal Reserve System) that the preferable way to do it would be with a mechanical system that would keep the quantity of money increasing at a steady rate.

Exchange rates

Friedman was a strong advocate for floating exchange rates throughout the entire Bretton-Woods period. He argued that a flexible exchange rate would make external adjustment possible and allow countries to avoid Balance of Payments crises. He saw fixed exchange rates as an undesirable form of government intervention. The case was articulated in an influential 1953 paper, “The Case for Flexible Exchange Rates”, at a time, when most commentators regarded the possibility of floating exchange rates as a fantasy.[66][67]

School choice

In his 1955 article “The Role of Government in Education”[68] Friedman proposed supplementing publicly operated schools with privately run but publicly funded schools through a system of school vouchers.[69] Reforms similar to those proposed in the article were implemented in, for example, Chile in 1981 and Sweden in 1992.[70] In 1996, Friedman, together with his wife, founded the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice to advocate school choice and vouchers. In 2016, the Friedman Foundation changed its name to EdChoice to honor the Friedmans’ desire to have the educational choice movement live on without their names attached to it after their deaths.[17]


While Walter Oi is credited with establishing the economic basis for a volunteer military, Milton Friedman was a proponent, stating that the draft was “inconsistent with a free society.”[71][72] In Capitalism and Freedom, he argued that conscription is inequitable and arbitrary, preventing young men from shaping their lives as they see fit.[73] During the Nixon administration he headed the committee to research a conversion to paid/volunteer armed force. He would later state that his role in eliminating the conscription in the United States was his proudest accomplishment.[12] Friedman did, however, believe a nation could compel military training as a reserve in case of war time.[73]

Foreign policy

Biographer Lanny Ebenstein noted a drift over time in Friedman’s views from an interventionist to a more cautious foreign policy.[74] He supported US involvement in the Second World War and initially supported a hard line against Communism, but moderated over time.[74] He opposed the Gulf War and the Iraq War.[74] In a spring 2006 interview, Friedman said that the USA’s stature in the world had been eroded by the Iraq War, but that it might be improved if Iraq were to become a peaceful independent country.[75]

Libertarianism and the Republican Party

He served as a member of President Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board starting at 1981. In 1988, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science. He said that he was a libertarian philosophically, but a member of the U.S. Republican Party for the sake of “expediency” (“I am a libertarian with a small ‘l’ and a Republican with a capital ‘R.’ And I am a Republican with a capital ‘R’ on grounds of expediency, not on principle.”) But, he said, “I think the term classical liberal is also equally applicable. I don’t really care very much what I’m called. I’m much more interested in having people thinking about the ideas, rather than the person.”[76]

Public goods and monopoly

Friedman was supportive of the state provision of some public goods that private businesses are not considered as being able to provide. However, he argued that many of the services performed by government could be performed better by the private sector. Above all, if some public goods are provided by the state, he believed that they should not be a legal monopoly where private competition is prohibited; for example, he wrote:

There is no way to justify our present public monopoly of the post office. It may be argued that the carrying of mail is a technical monopoly and that a government monopoly is the least of evils. Along these lines, one could perhaps justify a government post office, but not the present law, which makes it illegal for anybody else to carry the mail. If the delivery of mail is a technical monopoly, no one else will be able to succeed in competition with the government. If it is not, there is no reason why the government should be engaged in it. The only way to find out is to leave other people free to enter.

— Milton Friedman, Friedman, Milton & Rose D. Capitalism and Freedom, University of Chicago Press, 1982, p. 29

Social security, welfare programs, and negative income tax

After 1960 Friedman attacked Social Security from a free market view stating that it had created welfare dependency.[77]

Friedman proposed that if there had to be a welfare system of any kind, he would replace the existing U.S. welfare system with a negative income tax, a progressive tax system in which the poor receive a basic living income from the government.[78] According to the New York Times, Friedman’s views in this regard were grounded in a belief that while “market forces … accomplish wonderful things”, they “cannot ensure a distribution of income that enables all citizens to meet basic economic needs”.[78]

Drug policy

Friedman also supported libertarian policies such as legalization of drugs and prostitution. During 2005, Friedman and more than 500 other economists advocated discussions regarding the economic benefits of the legalization of marijuana.[79]

Gay rights

Friedman was also a supporter of gay rights.[80][81] He never specifically supported same-sex marriage, instead saying “I do not believe there should be any discrimination against gays.”[81]

Economic freedom

Michael Walker of the Fraser Institute and Friedman hosted a series of conferences from 1986 to 1994. The goal was to create a clear definition of economic freedom and a method for measuring it. Eventually this resulted in the first report on worldwide economic freedom, Economic Freedom in the World.[82] This annual report has since provided data for numerous peer-reviewed studies and has influenced policy in several nations.

Along with sixteen other distinguished economists he opposed the Copyright Term Extension Act and filed an amicus brief in Eldred v. Ashcroft.[83] He supported the inclusion of the word “no-brainer” in the brief.[84]

Friedman argued for stronger basic legal (constitutional) protection of economic rights and freedoms to further promote industrial-commercial growth and prosperity and buttress democracy and freedom and the rule of law generally in society.[85]

Honors, recognition, and influence

George H. Nash, a leading historian of American conservatism, says that by, “the end of the 1960s he was probably the most highly regarded and influential conservative scholar in the country, and one of the few with an international reputation.”[86] Friedman allowed the libertarian Cato Institute to use his name for its biannual Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty beginning in 2001. A Friedman Prize was given to the late British economist Peter Bauer in 2002, Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto in 2004, Mart Laar, former Estonian Prime Minister in 2006 and a young Venezuelan student Yon Goicoechea in 2008. His wife Rose, sister of Aaron Director, with whom he initiated the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, served on the international selection committee.[87][88] Friedman was also a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics.

Upon Friedman’s death, Harvard President Lawrence Summers called him “The Great Liberator” saying “… any honest Democrat will admit that we are now all Friedmanites.” He said Friedman’s great popular contribution was “in convincing people of the importance of allowing free markets to operate.”[89]

In 2013 Stephen Moore, a member of the editorial forward of the Wall Street Journal said, “Quoting the most-revered champion of free-market economics since Adam Smith has become a little like quoting the Bible.” He adds, “There are sometimes multiple and conflicting interpretations.”[90]

Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences

Friedman won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, the sole recipient for 1976, “for his achievements in the fields of consumption analysis, monetary history and theory and for his demonstration of the complexity of stabilization policy.”[4]

Hong Kong

Friedman once said, “If you want to see capitalism in action, go to Hong Kong.”[91] He wrote in 1990 that the Hong Kong economy was perhaps the best example of a free market economy.[92]

One month before his death, he wrote the article “Hong Kong Wrong – What would Cowperthwaite say?” in the Wall Street Journal, criticizing Donald Tsang, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, for abandoning “positive noninterventionism.”[93] Tsang later said he was merely changing the slogan to “big market, small government,” where small government is defined as less than 20% of GDP. In a debate between Tsang and his rival, Alan Leong, before the 2007 Chief Executive election, Leong introduced the topic and jokingly accused Tsang of angering Friedman to death.


Main articles: Miracle of Chile and Chicago Boys

During 1975, two years after the military coup that brought military dictator President Augusto Pinochet to power and ended the government of Salvador Allende, the economy of Chile experienced a severe crisis. Friedman and Arnold Harberger accepted an invitation of a private Chilean foundation to visit Chile and speak on principles of economic freedom.[94] He spent seven days in Chile giving a series of lectures at the Universidad Católica de Chile and the (National) University of Chile. One of the lectures was entitled “The Fragility of Freedom” and according to Friedman, “dealt with precisely the threat to freedom from a centralized military government.”[95]

In an April 21, 1975, letter to Pinochet, Friedman considered the “key economic problems of Chile are clearly … inflation and the promotion of a healthy social market economy“.[96] He stated that “There is only one way to end inflation: by drastically reducing the rate of increase of the quantity of money …” and that “… cutting government spending is by far and away the most desirable way to reduce the fiscal deficit, because it … strengthens the private sector thereby laying the foundations for healthy economic growth”.[96] As to how rapidly inflation should be ended, Friedman felt that “for Chile where inflation is raging at 10–20% a month … gradualism is not feasible. It would involve so painful an operation over so long a period that the patient would not survive.” Choosing “a brief period of higher unemployment…” was the lesser evil.. and that “the experience of Germany, … of Brazil …, of the post-war adjustment in the U.S. … all argue for shock treatment“. In the letter Friedman recommended to deliver the shock approach with “… a package to eliminate the surprise and to relieve acute distress” and “… for definiteness let me sketch the contents of a package proposal … to be taken as illustrative” although his knowledge of Chile was “too limited to enable [him] to be precise or comprehensive”. He listed a “sample proposal” of 8 monetary and fiscal measures including “the removal of as many as obstacles as possible that now hinder the private market. For example, suspend … the present law against discharging employees”. He closed, stating “Such a shock program could end inflation in months”. His letter suggested that cutting spending to reduce the fiscal deficit would result in less transitional unemployment than raising taxes.

Sergio de Castro, a Chilean Chicago School graduate, became the nation’s Minister of Finance in 1975. During his six-year tenure, foreign investment increased, restrictions were placed on striking and labor unions, and GDP rose yearly.[97] A foreign exchange program was created between the Catholic University of Chile and the University of Chicago. Many other Chicago School alumni were appointed government posts during and after the Pinochet years; others taught its economic doctrine at Chilean universities. They became known as the Chicago Boys.[98]

Friedman did not criticize Pinochet’s dictatorship at the time, nor the assassinations, illegal imprisonments, torture, or other atrocities that were well known by then.[99] In 1976 Friedman defended his unofficial adviser position with: “I do not consider it as evil for an economist to render technical economic advice to the Chilean Government, any more than I would regard it as evil for a physician to give technical medical advice to the Chilean Government to help end a medical plague.”[100]

Friedman defended his activity in Chile on the grounds that, in his opinion, the adoption of free market policies not only improved the economic situation of Chile but also contributed to the amelioration of Pinochet’s rule and to the eventual transition to a democratic government during 1990. That idea is included in Capitalism and Freedom, in which he declared that economic freedom is not only desirable in itself but is also a necessary condition for political freedom. In his 1980 documentary Free to Choose, he said the following: “Chile is not a politically free system, and I do not condone the system. But the people there are freer than the people in Communist societies because government plays a smaller role. … The conditions of the people in the past few years has been getting better and not worse. They would be still better to get rid of the junta and to be able to have a free democratic system.”[101][102] In 1984, Friedman stated that he has “never refrained from criticizing the political system in Chile.”[95] In 1991 he said: “I have nothing good to say about the political regime that Pinochet imposed. It was a terrible political regime. The real miracle of Chile is not how well it has done economically; the real miracle of Chile is that a military junta was willing to go against its principles and support a free market regime designed by principled believers in a free market. […] In Chile, the drive for political freedom, that was generated by economic freedom and the resulting economic success, ultimately resulted in a referendum that introduced political democracy. Now, at long last, Chile has all three things: political freedom, human freedom and economic freedom. Chile will continue to be an interesting experiment to watch to see whether it can keep all three or whether, now that it has political freedom,that political freedom will tend to be used to destroy or reduce economic freedom.”[103] He stressed that the lectures he gave in Chile were the same lectures he later gave in China and other socialist states.[104]

During the 2000 PBS documentary The Commanding Heights (based on the book), Friedman continued to argue that “free markets would undermine [Pinochet’s] political centralization and political control.”,[105][106] and that criticism over his role in Chile missed his main contention that freer markets resulted in freer people, and that Chile’s unfree economy had caused the military government. Friedman advocated for free markets which undermined “political centralization and political control”.[107]


Friedman visited Iceland during the autumn of 1984, met with important Icelanders and gave a lecture at the University of Iceland on the “tyranny of the status quo.” He participated in a lively television debate on August 31, 1984 with socialist intellectuals, including Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, who later became the president of Iceland.[108] When they complained that a fee was charged for attending his lecture at the University and that, hitherto, lectures by visiting scholars had been free-of-charge, Friedman replied that previous lectures had not been free-of-charge in a meaningful sense: lectures always have related costs. What mattered was whether attendees or non-attendees covered those costs. Friedman thought that it was fairer that only those who attended paid. In this discussion Friedman also stated that he did not receive any money for delivering that lecture.


Although Friedman never visited Estonia, his book Free to Choose exercised a great influence on that nation’s then 32-year-old prime minister, Mart Laar, who has claimed that it was the only book on economics he had read before taking office. Laar’s reforms are often credited with responsibility for transforming Estonia from an impoverished Soviet Republic to the “Baltic Tiger.” A prime element of Laar’s program was introduction of the flat tax. Laar won the 2006 Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty, awarded by the Cato Institute.[109]

United Kingdom

After 1950 Friedman was frequently invited to lecture in Britain, and by the 1970s his ideas had gained widespread attention in conservative circles. For example, he was a regular speaker at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), a libertarian think tank. Conservative politician Margaret Thatcher closely followed IEA programs and ideas, and met Friedman there in 1978. He also strongly influenced Keith Joseph, who became Thatcher’s senior advisor on economic affairs, as well as Alan Walters and Patrick Minford, two other key advisers. Major newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph, The Times, and The Financial Times all promulgated Friedman’s monetarist ideas to British decision-makers. Friedman’s ideas strongly influenced Thatcher and her allies when she became Prime Minister in 1979.[110][111]


Econometrician David Hendry criticized part of Friedman’s and Anna Schwartz’s 1982 Monetary Trends.[112] When asked about it during an interview with Icelandic TV in 1984,[113] Friedman said that the criticism referred to a different problem from that which he and Schwartz had tackled, and hence was irrelevant,[114] and pointed out the lack of consequential peer review amongst econometricians on Hendry’s work.[115] In 2006, Hendry said that Friedman was guilty of “serious errors” of misunderstanding that meant “the t-ratios he reported for UK money demand were overstated by nearly 100 per cent”, and said that, in a paper published in 1991 with Neil Ericsson,[116] he had refuted “almost every empirical claim […] made about UK money demand” by Friedman and Schwartz.[117] A 2004 paper updated and confirmed the validity of the Hendry–Ericsson findings through 2000.[118]

Although Keynesian Nobel laureate Paul Krugman praised Friedman as a “great economist and a great man” after Friedman’s death in 2006, and acknowledged his many, widely accepted contributions to empirical economics, Krugman had been, and remains, a prominent critic of Friedman. Krugman has written that “he slipped all too easily into claiming both that markets always work and that only markets work. It’s extremely hard to find cases in which Friedman acknowledged the possibility that markets could go wrong, or that government intervention could serve a useful purpose.”[119]

In her book The Shock Doctrine, author and social activist Naomi Klein criticized Friedman’s economic liberalism, identifying it with the principles that guided the economic restructuring that followed the military coups in countries such as Chile and Indonesia. Based on their assessments of the extent to which what she describes as neoliberal policies contributed to income disparities and inequality, both Klein and Noam Chomsky have suggested that the primary role of what they describe as neoliberalism was as an ideological cover for capital accumulation by multinational corporations.[120]

Visit to Chile

Because of his involvement with the Pinochet government, there were international protests when Friedman was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1976.[121] Friedman was accused of supporting the military dictatorship in Chile because of the relation of economists of the University of Chicago to Pinochet, and a controversial six-day trip[122] he took to Chile during March 1975 (less than two years after the coup that deposed President Salvador Allende). Friedman answered that he never was an adviser to the dictatorship, but only gave some lectures and seminars on inflation, and met with officials, including Augusto Pinochet, while in Chile.[123]

Chilean economist Orlando Letelier asserted that Pinochet’s dictatorship resorted to oppression because of popular opposition to Chicago School policies in Chile.[124] After a 1991 speech on drug legalisation, Friedman answered a question on his involvement with the Pinochet regime, saying that he was never an advisor to Pinochet (also mentioned in his 1984 Iceland interview[95]), but that a group of his students at the University of Chicago were involved in Chile’s economic reforms. Friedman credited these reforms with high levels of economic growth and with the establishment of democracy that has subsequently occurred in Chile.[125][126] In October 1988, after returning from a lecture tour of China during which he had met with Zhao Ziyang, Friedman wrote to The Stanford Daily asking if he should anticipate a similar “avalanche of protests for having been willing to give advice to so evil a government? And if not, why not?”[127]

Capitalism and Freedom

Capitalism and Freedom is a seminal work by Friedman. In the book, Friedman talks about the need to move to a classically liberal society, that free markets would help nations and individuals in the long-run and fix the efficiency problems currently faced by the United States and other major countries of the 1950s and 1960s. He goes through the chapters specifying a specific issue in each respective chapter from the role of government and money supply to social welfare programs to a special chapter on occupational licensure. Friedman concludes Capitalism and Freedom with his “classical liberal” stance, that government should stay out of matters that do not need and should only involve itself when absolutely necessary for the survival of its people and the country. He recounts how the best of a country’s abilities come from its free markets while its failures come from government intervention.[77]

Selected bibliography

  • A Theory of the Consumption Function (1957)
  • A Program for Monetary Stability (Fordham University Press, 1960) 110 pp. online version
  • Capitalism and Freedom (1962), highly influential series of essays that established Friedman’s position on major issues of public policy excerpts
  • A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960, with Anna J. Schwartz, 1963; part 3 reprinted as The Great Contraction
  • “The Role of Monetary Policy.” American Economic Review, Vol. 58, No. 1 (Mar., 1968), pp. 1–17 JSTOR presidential address to American Economics Association
  • “Inflation and Unemployment: Nobel lecture”, 1977, Journal of Political Economy. Vol. 85, pp. 451–72. JSTOR
  • Free to Choose: A personal statement, with Rose Friedman, (1980), highly influential restatement of policy views
  • The Essence of Friedman, essays edited by Kurt R. Leube, (1987) (ISBN 0-8179-8662-6)
  • Two Lucky People: Memoirs (with Rose Friedman) ISBN 0-226-26414-9 (1998) excerpt and text search
  • Milton Friedman on Economics: Selected Papers by Milton Friedman, edited by Gary S. Becker (2008)
  • An Interview with Milton Friedman, John B. Taylor (2001). Macroeconomic Dynamics, 5, pp 101–31

See also


  1. Jump up^ Ebenstein, Lanny (2007). Milton Friedman: A Biography. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 89.
  2. Jump up^ Charles Moore (2013). Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography, Volume One: Not For Turning. Penguin. pp. 576–77.
  3. Jump up^ Lanny Ebenstein (2007). Milton Friedman: A Biography. St. Martin’s Press. p. 208.
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b “Milton Friedman on”. Nobel Prize. 1976. Retrieved February 20, 2008.
  5. Jump up^ Thomas Sowell (2016-09-16). A Personal Odyssey. Free Press. p. 320. ISBN 0743215087.
  6. Jump up^ The Chicago School: How the University of Chicago Assembled the Thinkers Who Revolutionized Economics and Business
  7. Jump up^ “Milton Friedman”. Commanding Heights. PBS. October 1, 2000. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  8. Jump up^ Milton Friedman—Economist as Public Intellectual
  9. Jump up^ Mark Skousen (2009-02-28). The Making of Modern Economics: The Lives and Ideas of the Great Thinkers. M.E. Sharpe. p. 407. ISBN 0-7656-2227-0.
  10. Jump up^ Among macroeconomists, the “natural” rate has been increasingly replaced by James Tobin‘s NAIRU, the non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment, which is seen as having fewer normative connotations.
  11. Jump up^ Nobel prize winner Paul Krugman stated that, “In 1968 in one of the decisive intellectual achievements of postwar economics, Friedman not only showed why the apparent tradeoff embodied in the idea of the Phillips curve was wrong; he also predicted the emergence of combined inflation and high unemployment … dubbed ‘stagflation.” Paul Krugman, Peddling Prosperity: Economic Sense and Nonsense in an Age of Diminished Expectations (1995) p. 43 online
  12. ^ Jump up to:a b Doherty, Brian (June 1, 1995). “Best of Both Worlds”. Reason Magazine. Retrieved October 24, 2009
  13. Jump up^ Edward Nelson, “Friedman’s Monetary Economics in Practice,” Finance and Economics Discussion Series, Divisions of Research & Statistics and Monetary Affairs, Federal Reserve Board, April 13, 2011. Nelson stated, “in important respects, the overall monetary and financial policy response to the crisis can be viewed as Friedman’s monetary economics in practice.” and “Friedman’s recommendations for responding to a financial crisis largely lined up with the principal financial and monetary policy measures taken since 2007.” Nelson, “Review,” in Journal of Economic Literature (Dec, 2012) 50#4 pp. 1106–09
  14. Jump up^ Lanny Ebenstein (2007). Milton Friedman: A Biography. St. Martin’s Press. p. 208.
  15. Jump up^ Charles Moore (2013). Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography, Volume One: Not For Turning. Penguin. pp. 576–77.
  16. Jump up^ Milton Friedman (1912–2006)
  17. ^ Jump up to:a b Sullivan, Maureen (July 30, 2016). “Milton Friedman’s Name Disappears From Foundation, But His School-Choice Beliefs Live On”. Forbes. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  18. Jump up^ “Capitalism and Friedman” (editorial), The Wall Street Journal November 17, 2006
  19. Jump up^ Václav Klaus (January 29, 2007). “Remarks at Milton Friedman Memorial Service”. Retrieved August 22, 2008.
  20. Jump up^ Johan Norberg, Defaming Milton Friedman: Naomi Klein’s disastrous yet popular polemic against the great free market economist, Reason Magazine, Washington, D.C., Oct. 2008
  21. Jump up^ Friedman 1999, p. 506
  22. Jump up^ Davis, William L, Bob Figgins, David Hedengren, and Daniel B. Klein. “Economic Professors’ Favorite Economic Thinkers, Journals, and Blogs”, Econ Journal Watch 8(2): 126–46, May 2011.
  23. Jump up^ “Milton Friedman, a giant among economists”. The Economist. November 23, 2006. Retrieved February 20, 2008.
  24. Jump up^ “Who’s who in American Jewry”. 1980.
  25. Jump up^ Alan O. Ebenstein, Milton Friedman: a biography (2007) p. 10; Milton & Rose Friedman, Two Lucky People. Memoirs, Chicago 1998, p. 22.
  26. Jump up^ Eamonn Butler, Milton Friedman (2011) ch 1
  27. Jump up^ Alan O. Ebenstein, Milton Friedman: a biography (2007) pp. 5–12
  28. Jump up^ “Milton Friedman and his start in economics”. Young America’s Foundation. August 2006. Retrieved March 12, 2012.
  29. Jump up^ Ebenstein, Milton Friedman: a biography (2007) pp. 13–30
  30. Jump up^ Feeney, Mark (November 16, 2006). “Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman dies at 94”. The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 20, 2008.
  31. Jump up^ Friedman 1999, p. 59
  32. Jump up^ “Right from the Start? What Milton Friedman can teach progressives.” (PDF). J. Bradford DeLong. Retrieved February 20, 2008.
  33. Jump up^ Bernanke 2004, p. 7
  34. Jump up^ Friedman 1999, p. 42
  35. Jump up^ Friedman 1999, pp. 84–85
  36. Jump up^ Milton Friedman; Rose D. Friedman (1999). Two Lucky People: Memoirs. University of Chicago Press. pp. 122–23. ISBN 9780226264158.
  37. Jump up^ Doherty, Brian (June 1995). “Best of Both Worlds”. Reason. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  38. ^ Jump up to:a b “Milton Friedman Biography – Academy of Achievement”. Retrieved 2014-04-22.
  39. Jump up^ Philip Mirowski (2002). Machine Dreams: Economics Becomes a Cyborg Science. Cambridge University Press. pp. 202–03. ISBN 9780521775267.
  40. Jump up^ CATO, “Letter from Washington,” National Review, September 19, 1980, Vol. 32 Issue 19, p. 1119
  41. Jump up^ Rose and Milton Friedman
  42. Jump up^ Inventory of the Paul A. Samuelson Papers, 1933–2010 and undated | Finding Aids | Rubenstein Library
  43. Jump up^ Ebenstein (2007). Milton Friedman: A Biography. p. 208.
  44. Jump up^ “Milton Friedman: An enduring legacy”. The Economist. November 17, 2006. Retrieved February 20, 2008.
  45. Jump up^ Sullivan, Patricia (November 17, 2006). “Economist Touted Laissez-Faire Policy”. The Washington Post. Retrieved February 20, 2008.
  46. Jump up^ Milton Friedman – Biography | Cato Institute
  47. Jump up^ Trustees
  48. Jump up^ Milton Friedman
  49. Jump up^ Lanny Ebenstein, Milton Friedman, Commentary, May 2007, p. 286.
  50. Jump up^ Asman, David (November 16, 2006). “‘Your World’ Interview With Economist Milton Friedman”. Fox News. Retrieved August 2, 2011.
  51. Jump up^ Christie, Jim (November 16, 2006). “Free market economist Milton Friedman dead at 94”. Reuters. Retrieved February 20, 2008.
  52. Jump up^ Peter Robinson (2008-10-17). “What Would Milton Friedman Say?”. Retrieved 2014-12-13.
  53. Jump up^ Optimum Quantity of Money. Aldine Publishing Company. 1969. p. 4.
  54. Jump up^ Friedman, Milton. Inflation: Causes and Consequences. New York: Asia Publishing House.
  55. Jump up^ “Milton Friedman: END THE FED”. Retrieved 2014-04-22.
  56. Jump up^ Friedman, Milton (1969). Memoirs of an Unregulated Economist. Aldine Publishing Company. p. 4.
  57. Jump up^ Galbács, Peter (2015). The Theory of New Classical Macroeconomics. A Positive Critique. Heidelberg/New York/Dordrecht/London: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-17578-2. ISBN 978-3-319-17578-2.
  58. Jump up^ Kevin Hoover; Warren Young (2011). Rational Expectations – Retrospect and Prospect (PDF). Durham: Center for the History of Political Economy at Duke University.
  59. Jump up^ “Charlie Rose Show”. December 26, 2005. Missing or empty |series= (help)
  60. Jump up^ David Teira, “Milton Friedman, the Statistical Methodologist,” History of Political Economy (2007) 39#3 pp. 511–27,
  61. Jump up^ The Life and Times of Milton Friedman – Remembering the 20th century’s most influential libertarian
  62. Jump up^ “There in no institution in the US that has such a high public standing and such a poor record of performance” “It’s done more harm than good”
  63. Jump up^ “My first preference would be to abolish the Federal Reserve” on YouTube
  64. Jump up^ “I have long been in favor of abolishing it.”
  65. Jump up^ Reichart Alexandre & Abdelkader Slifi (2016). ‘The Influence of Monetarism on Federal Reserve Policy during the 1980s.’ Cahiers d’économie Politique/Papers in Political Economy, (1), pp. 107–50.
  66. Jump up^ [1]
  67. Jump up^ [2]
  68. Jump up^ Friedman, Milton (1955). Solo, Robert A., ed. “The Role of Government in Education,” as printed in the book Economics and the Public Interest (PDF). Rutgers University Press. pp. 123–144.
  69. Jump up^ Leonard Ross and Richard Zeckhauser (December 1970). “Review: Education Vouchers”. The Yale Law Journal. 80 (2): 451–61. doi:10.2307/795126. JSTOR 795126.
  70. Jump up^ Martin Carnoy (August 1998). “National Voucher Plans in Chile and Sweden: Did Privatization Reforms Make for Better Education?”. Comparative Education Review. 42 (3): 309–37. doi:10.1086/447510. JSTOR 1189163.
  71. Jump up^ Milton Friedman (1991). The War on Drugs. America’s Drug Forum.
  72. Jump up^ Rostker, Bernard (2006). I Want You!: The Evolution of the All-Volunteer Force. Rand Corporation. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-8330-3895-1.
  73. ^ Jump up to:a b Friedman, Milton (November 15, 2002). Capitalism and Freedom. University Of Chicago Press. p. 36.
  74. ^ Jump up to:a b c Ebenstein, Lanny (2007). Milton Friedman: a biography. New York: St. Martin’s Press. pp. 231–32. ISBN 978-0-230-60409-4.
  75. Jump up^ Ebenstein, Lanny (2007). Milton Friedman: a biography. New York: St. Martin’s Press. p. 243. ISBN 978-0-230-60409-4.
  76. Jump up^ Friedman and Freedom. Queen’s Journal. Archived from the original on August 11, 2006. Retrieved February 20, 2008., Interview with Peter Jaworski. The Journal, Queen’s University, March 15, 2002 – Issue 37, Volume 129
  77. ^ Jump up to:a b Milton Friedman; Rose D. Friedman (1962). Capitalism and Freedom: Fortieth Anniversary Edition. U. of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226264189.
  78. ^ Jump up to:a b Frank, Robert H (2006-11-23). “The Other Milton Friedman: A Conservative With a Social Welfare Program”. New York Times. The New York Times.
  79. Jump up^ “An open letter”. Prohibition Costs. Retrieved November 9, 2012.
  80. Jump up^ “Milton Friedman”. Liberal Democratic Party (Australia). Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  81. ^ Jump up to:a b Alan O. Ebenstein, Milton Friedman: A Biography (2007) p. 228
  82. Jump up^ “Economic Freedom of the World project”. Fraser Institute. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  83. Jump up^ “In the Supreme Court of the United States” (PDF). Harvard Law School. Retrieved February 20, 2008.
  84. Jump up^ Lessig, Lawrence (November 19, 2006). “only if the word ‘no-brainer’ appears in it somewhere: RIP Milton Friedman (Lessig Blog)”. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  85. Jump up^ “A New British Bill of Rights: The Case For”. ISR Online Guide. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  86. Jump up^ Lanny Ebenstein (2007). Milton Friedman: A Biography. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 260.
  87. Jump up^ Selection Committee Announced for the 2008 Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty,” Cato Institute, September 5, 2007. Accessed 4 January 2014.
  88. Jump up^ Milton Friedman Prize page at Cato Institute website. Accessed 5 January 2014.
  89. Jump up^ Summers, Larry (November 19, 2006). “The Great Liberator”. The New York Times.
  90. Jump up^ Stephen Moore, What Would Milton Friedman Say?” Wall Street Journal, May 30, 2013 p. A13
  91. Jump up^ Ingdahl, Waldemar (March 22, 2007). “Real Virtuality”. The American. Retrieved February 20, 2008.
  92. Jump up^ Friedman, Milton; Friedman, Rose (1990). Free to Choose: A Personal Statement. Harvest Books. p. 34. ISBN 0-15-633460-7.
  93. Jump up^ Friedman, Milton (October 6, 2006). “Dr. Milton Friedman”. Opinion Journal. Retrieved February 20, 2008.
  94. Jump up^ Letter from Arnold Harberger to Stig Ramel as reprinted in the Wall Street Journal 12/10/1976, and in Two Lucky People: Memoirs By Milton Friedman, Rose D. Friedman. Appendix A, pp. 598–99. Accessible at
  95. ^ Jump up to:a b c Milton Friedman (August 31, 1984). Iceland Television Debate (Flash Video) (Television production). Reykjavík: Icelandic State Television. Event occurs at 009:48:00. Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  96. ^ Jump up to:a b [http:// Two Lucky People: Memoirs By Milton Friedman, Rose D. Friedman. Appendix A, pp. 591–93. Letter from Friedman to Pinochet, April 21, 1975.]
  97. Jump up^ Mask II, William Ray (May 2013). The Great Chilean Recovery: Assigning Responsibility For The Chilean Miracle(s) (Thesis). California State University, Fresno.
  98. Jump up^ “Chile and the “Chicago Boys””. The Hoover Institution. Stanford University. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  99. Jump up^ O’Shaughnessy, Hugh (December 11, 2006). “General Augusto Pinochet”. The Independent. Retrieved February 20, 2008.
  100. Jump up^ Newsweek of June 14, 1976
  101. Jump up^ “Free to Choose Vol. 5”. Archived from the original on February 9, 2008. Retrieved February 20, 2008.
  102. Jump up^ Frances Fox Piven vs. Milton Friedman, Thomas Sowell, debate, 1980, YouTube.
  103. Jump up^ The Smith Center: Milton Friedman’s lecture, “Economic Freedom, Human Freedom, Political Freedom”, by Milton Friedman, delivered November 1, 1991.
  104. Jump up^ Friedman 1999, pp. 600–01
  105. Jump up^ “Interview with Jeffery Sachs on the “Miracle of Chile””. PBS. Retrieved February 20, 2008.
  106. Jump up^ “Commanding Heights: Milton Friedman”. PBS. Retrieved December 29, 2008.
  107. Jump up^ “Milton Friedman interview”. PBS. Retrieved February 20, 2008.
  108. Jump up^ Friedman, Milton; Grímsson, Ólafur Ragnar. Milton Friedman on Icelandic State Television in 1984.
  109. Jump up^ “Mart Laar”. Cato Institute. Retrieved February 20, 2008.
  110. Jump up^ John F. Lyons (2013). America in the British Imagination: 1945 to the Present. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 102.
  111. Jump up^ Subroto Roy & John Clarke, eds., Margaret Thatcher’s Revolution: How it Happened and What it Meant (Continuum 2005)
  112. Jump up^ David F. Hendry; Neil R. Ericsson (October 1983). “Assertion without Empirical Basis: An Econometric Appraisal of ‘Monetary Trends in … the United Kingdom’ by Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz,” in Monetary Trends in the United Kingdom, Bank of England Panel of Academic Consultants, Panel Paper No. 22, pp. 45–101.See also Federal Reserve International Finance Discussion Paper No. 270 (December 1985), which is a revised and shortened version of Hendry–Ericsson 1983.
  113. Jump up^ “M.Friedman – Iceland TV (1984)”. YouTube. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  114. Jump up^ van Steven Moore, CMA (1984-08-31). “Milton Friedman – Iceland 2 of 8”. YouTube. Retrieved 2014-04-22.
  115. Jump up^ J. Daniel Hammond (2005). Theory and Measurement: Causality Issues in Milton Friedman’s Monetary Economics. Cambridge U.P. pp. 193–99.
  116. Jump up^ David F. Hendry; Neil R. Ericsson (July 1989). “An Econometric Analysis of UK Money Demand in Monetary Trends in the United States and the United Kingdom by Milton Friedman and Anna J. Schwartz” (PDF). International Finance Discussion Papers: 355. Federal Reserve. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
  117. Jump up^ Hendry, David F. (25 April 2013). “Friedman’s t-ratios were overstated by nearly 100%”. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
  118. Jump up^ Escribano, Alvaro (2004). “Nonlinear error correction: The case of money demand in the United Kingdom (1878–2000)” (PDF). Macroeconomic Dynamics. 8 (1): 76–116. doi:10.1017/S1365100503030013.
    Escribano’s approach had already been recognized by Friedman, Schwartz, Hendry et al. (p. 14 of the pdf) as yielding significant improvements over previous money demand equations.
  119. Jump up^ The New York Review of Books, Who Was Milton Friedman?, February 15, 2007
  120. Jump up^ Noam Chomsky (1999). Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order. New York, NY: Seven Stories Press.
  121. Jump up^ Feldman, Burton (2000). “Chapter 9: The Economics Memorial Prize”. The Nobel Prize: A History of Genius, Controversy, and Prestige. New York: Arcade Publishing. p. 350. ISBN 1-55970-537-X.
  122. Jump up^ O’Shaughnessy, Hugh (11 December 2006). “General Augusto Pinochet”. The Independent.
  123. Jump up^ Friedman, Milton; Friedman, Rose D. “Two Lucky People: One Week in Stockholm”. Hoover Digest: Research and Opinion on Public Policy. 1998 (4).
  124. Jump up^ Orlando Letelier, “Economic Freedom’s Awful Toll”, The Nation, August 28, 1976.
  125. Jump up^ The Drug War as a Socialist Enterprise, Milton Friedman, From: Friedman & Szasz on Liberty and Drugs, edited and with a Preface by Arnold S. Trebach and Kevin B. Zeese. Washington, D.C.: The Drug Policy Foundation, 1992.
  126. Jump up^ YouTube clip: Milton Friedman – Pinochet and Chile
  127. Jump up^ Friedman, Milton; Friedman, Rose D. Two Lucky People: Memoirs. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226264158. Retrieved 18 October 2016.


  • Bernanke, Ben (2004). Essays on the Great Depression. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-11820-5
  • Butler, Eamonn (2011). Milton Friedman. Harriman Economic Essentials.
  • Ebenstein, Alan O. (2007). Milton Friedman: a biography.
  • Friedman, Milton (1999). Two Lucky People: Memoirs. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-26415-7.
  • Wood, John Cunningham, and Ronald N. Wood, ed. (1990), Milton Friedman: Critical Assessments, v. 3. Scroll to chapter-preview links. Routledge.

Further reading

External links

Free to Choose (original series)


Robert Mundell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Robert Mundell
Born October 24, 1932 (age 84)
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Institution Johns Hopkins University (1959–61, 1997–98, 2000–01)
University of Chicago (1965–72)
Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland (1965–75) [1]
University of Waterloo (1972–74)
McGill University (1989–1990)[2]
Columbia University (1974 – present)
Chinese University of Hong Kong (2009 – present)
Field Monetary economics
School or
Supply-side economics
Alma mater London School of Economics
UBC Vancouver School of Economics
University of Washington
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
University of Waterloo
Charles Kindleberger[3]
Jacob A. Frenkel
Rudi Dornbusch[4]
Carmen Reinhart[5]
Influences Ludwig Von Mises
Influenced Arthur Laffer
Jude Wanniski
Michael Mussa
Contributions Mundell–Fleming model
Optimum currency areas
Research on the gold standard
Awards Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics (1999)
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Robert Alexander Mundell, CC (born October 24, 1932) is a Nobel Prize-winning Canadian economist. Currently, he is a professor of economics at Columbia University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

He received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1999 for his pioneering work in monetary dynamics and optimum currency areas. Mundell is known as the “father”[6] of the Euro, as he laid the groundwork for its introduction through this work and helped to start the movement known as supply-side economics. Mundell is also known for the Mundell–Fleming model and Mundell–Tobin effect.


Mundell was born in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He earned his BA in Economics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and his MA at the University of Washington in Seattle. After studying at the University of British Columbia and at The London School of Economics in 1956,[7] he then attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he obtained his PhD in Economics in 1956. In 2006 Mundell earned an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Waterloo in Canada.[8] He was Professor of Economics and Editor of the Journal of Political Economy at the University of Chicago from 1965 to 1972, Chairman of the Department of Economics at the University of Waterloo 1972 to 1974 and since 1974 he was Professor of Economics at Columbia University.[9] He also held the post of Repap Professor of Economics at McGill University.[10][11]


Since 1974 he has been a professor in the Economics department at Columbia University; since 2001 he has held Columbia’s highest academic rank – University Professor. After completing his post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Chicago in 1957, he began teaching economics at Stanford University, and then Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University during 1959–1961.[2] In 1961, he went on to staff the International Monetary Fund. Mundell returned to academics as professor of economics at the University of Chicago from 1966 to 1971, and then served as professor during summers at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva until 1975. In 1989, he was appointed to the post of Repap Professor of Economics at McGill University.,[10][11] In the 1970s, he laid the groundwork for the introduction of the euro through his pioneering work in monetary dynamics and optimum currency forms for which he won the 1999 Nobel Prize in Economics. During this time he continued to serve as an economic adviser to the United Nations, the IMF, the World Bank, the European Commission, the Federal Reserve Board, the United States Department of Treasury and the governments of Canada and other countries. He is currently the Distinguished Professor-at-Large of The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Among his major contributions are:


Mundell was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1971 and the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1999. In 2002 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada.

In 1992, Mundell received the Docteur Honoris Causa from the University of Paris. Mundell’s honorary professorships and fellowships were from Brookings Institution, the University of Chicago, the University of Southern California, McGill University, the University of Pennsylvania, the Bologna Center and Renmin University of China. He became a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1998. In June 2005 he was awarded the Global Economics Prize World Economics Institute in Kiel, Germany and in September 2005 he was made a Cavaliere di Gran Croce del Reale Ordine del Merito sotto il Titolo di San Ludovico by Principe Don Carlo Ugo di Borbone Parma.

The Mundell International University of Entrepreneurship in the Zhongguancun district of Beijing, People’s Republic of China is named in his honor.

International monetary flows

Mundell is best known in politics for his support of tax cuts and supply-side economics; however, in economics it is for his work on currency areas[12] and international exchange rates[13] that he was awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel by the Bank of Sweden (Sveriges Riksbank). Nevertheless, supply-side economics featured prominently in his Bank of Sweden prize speech.

In the 1960s, Canada, of which Mundell is a native, floated its exchange: this caused Mundell to begin investigating the results of floating exchange rates, a phenomenon not widely seen since the 1930s “Stockholm School” successfully lobbied Sweden to leave the gold standard.

In 1962, along with Marcus Fleming, he co-authored the Mundell–Fleming model of exchange rates, and noted that it was impossible to have domestic autonomy, fixed exchange rates, and free capital flows: no more than two of those objectives could be met. The model is, in effect, an extension of the IS/LM model applied to currency rates.

According to Mundell’s analysis:

  • Discipline under the Bretton Woods system was more due to the US Federal Reserve than to the discipline of gold.
  • Demand side fiscal policy would be ineffective in restraining central banks under a floating exchange rate system.
  • Single currency zones relied, therefore, on similar levels of price stability, where a single monetary policy would suffice for all.

His analysis led to his conclusion that it was a disagreement between Europe and the United States over the rate of inflation, partially to finance the Vietnam War, and that Bretton Woods disintegrated because of the undervaluing of gold and the consequent monetary discipline breakdown. There is a famous point/counterpoint over this issue between Mundell and Milton Friedman.[14]

This work later led to the creation of the euro and his prediction that leaving the Bretton Woods system would lead to “stagflation” so long as highly progressive income tax rates applied. In 1974, he advocated a drastic tax reduction and a flattening of income tax rates.

Mundell, though lionized by some conservatives, has many of his harshest critics from the right: he denies the need for a fixed gold based currency or currency board[citation needed] (he still often recommends this as a policy in hyperinflationary environments) and he is both a fiscal and balance of payments deficit hawk. He is well known for stating that in a floating exchange rate system, expansion of the money supply can come about only by a positive balance of payments.

In 2000, he predicted that before 2010, the euro zone would expand to cover 50 countries, while the dollar would spread throughout Latin America, and much of Asia would look towards the yen.[15] Such predictions have proved highly inaccurate.

Nobel Prize winner

Mundell won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science in 1999 and gave as his prize lecture a speech titled “A Reconsideration of the Twentieth Century”. According to the Nobel Prize Committee, he got the honor for “his analysis of monetary and fiscal policy under different exchange rate regimes and his analysis of optimum currency areas”.

Mundell concluded in that lecture that “the international monetary system depends only on the power configuration of the countries that make it up”. He divided the entire twentieth century into three parts by different periods of time:

  • The first third of the century, from its beginning to the Great Depression of the 1930s, economics was dominated by the confrontation of the Federal Reserve System with the gold standard.
  • The second third of the century was from World War II to 1973, when the international monetary system was dominated by fixing the price of gold with the US dollar.
  • The last third of the century started with the destruction of the old monetary system due to the problem of inflation.

With the destruction of the old monetary system, a new international monetary system was finally founded. Controlling inflation by each country became a main topic during this era.

Television appearances

Mundell has appeared on CBS‘s Late Show with David Letterman. His first appearance was on October 17, 2002[16] where he gave The Top 10 List on “Ways My Life has Changed Since Winning the Nobel Prize.” In March 2004[17] he told “You might be a redneck” jokes followed in May 2004[18] with “Yo Mama” jokes. In September 2004[19] he appeared again, this time to read excerpts from Paris Hilton‘s memoir at random moments throughout the show. In November 2005[20] he told a series of Rodney Dangerfield‘s jokes. On February 7, 2006[21] he read Grammy Award nominated song lyrics, the night before CBS aired the 48th Grammy Awards.

Mundell also appeared on Bloomberg Television many times.

Mundell has also appeared on China Central Television‘s popular Lecture Room series. Professor Mundell was also a special guest making the ceremonial first move in Game Five of the 2010 World Chess Championship between Viswanathan Anand and Veselin Topalov.

Mundell started the Pearl Spring Chess Tournament, a double round robin tournament with six players. The first tournament in 2008 was won by the Bulgarian, Veselin Topalov. The next two: 2009–2010 was won by the Norwegian, Magnus Carlsen.

See also


  1. Jump up^
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b Nobel Prize Winners from Johns Hopkins University
  3. Jump up^ Essays in the theory of international capital movementspage 3. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  4. Jump up^ RUDI DORNBUSCH by Stanley Fischer – Project Syndicate
  5. Jump up^ Warsh, David (November 1, 2009). “What The Woman Lived”. Economic Principals. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  6. Jump up^ “Mr. Mundell, known as the father of the euro”[dead link]
  7. Jump up^ “Robert Mundell – Nobel Prize Winners – Key facts – About LSE – Home”. March 13, 2009. Retrieved January 1, 2012.
  8. Jump up^ [1]
  9. Jump up^
  10. ^ Jump up to:a b “Robert A. Mundell – Biography”. Retrieved January 1, 2012.
  11. ^ Jump up to:a b “Biography | The Works of Robert Mundell”. Retrieved January 1, 2012.
  12. Jump up^ A Theory of Optimum Currency Areas; The American Economic Review, Vol. 51, No. 4, pp. 657–665, 1961
  13. Jump up^ Capital Mobility, and Stabilization Policy under Fixed and Flexible Exchange Rates; Revue Canadienne d’Economique et de Science Politique, Vol. 29, No. 4, pp. 475–485, 1963
  14. Jump up^ “Mundell-Friedman debate” (PDF). Retrieved January 1, 2012.
  15. Jump up^ Mark Milner and Charlotte Denny (January 14, 2000). “The new endangered species | Business”. London: The Guardian. Retrieved January 1, 2012.
  16. Jump up^ show #1891 Archived August 15, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  17. Jump up^ show #2144 Archived October 17, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  18. Jump up^ show #2162 Archived May 16, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  19. Jump up^ show # 2238 Archived February 23, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  20. Jump up^ show #2466 Archived December 15, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
  21. Jump up^ show #2505 Archived May 16, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.

External links

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

The Rise and Fall of The Roman Empire — Videos

Posted on March 11, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, Constitution, Corruption, Crisis, Cult, Culture, Documentary, Economics, Elections, Employment, European History, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, government, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, People, Philosophy, Photos, Political Correctness, Politics, Psychology, Raves, Religious, Security, Speech, Strategy, Success, Torture, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weather, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , |

Will Durant — Why Rome Fell

The Truth About The Fall of Rome: Modern Parallels

Are We Rome? Ben Powell Compares the U.S. with the Roman Empire

Are We Rome

DECLINE of EMPIRES: The Signs of Decay

The Judge on the Decline and Fall of Roman Empire and Future of America

The 7 Signs Of An Empire In Decline

The Roman Empire – Episode 1: The Rise of the Roman Empire (History Documentary)

The Roman Empire – Episode 2: Legions of Conquest (History Documentary)

The Roman Empire – Episode 3: Seduction of Power (History Documentary)

The Roman Empire – Episode 4: Grasp Of An Empire (History Documentary)

The Roman Empire – Episode 5: Cult Of Order (History Documentary)

The Roman Empire – Episode 6: The Fall Of The Roman Empire (History Documentary)

The Roman Empire – Episode 7: Letters From The Roman Front (History Documentary)

Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire – Episode 8: Wrath of the Gods (Documentary)

Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire – Episode 9: The Soldier’s Emperor (Documentary)

Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire – Episode 10: Constantine the Great (Documentary)

Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire – Episode 11: The Barbarian General (Documentary)

Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire – Episode 12: The Puppet Master (Documentary)

Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire – Episode 13: The Last Emperor (Documentary)

[History] The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume 1, Part 1, Audiobook

[History] The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume 1, Part 2, Audiobook

[History Audiobook] The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 2, Part 1

[History Audiobook] The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 2, Part 2

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Rise and fall of rome)
This article is about the book. For the historical events, see History of the Roman Empire and Fall of the Western Roman Empire. For the historiography spawned by Gibbon’s theories, see Historiography of the fall of the Western Roman Empire. For publication details and chapter listings, see Outline of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Author Edward Gibbon
Country England
Language English
Subject History of the Roman Empire
Publisher Strahan & Cadell, London
Publication date
Media type Print
LC Class DG311

Edward Gibbon (1737–1794).

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire[1] is a book of history written by the English historian Edward Gibbon, which traces the trajectory of Western civilization (as well as the Islamic and Mongolian conquests) from the height of the Roman Empire to the fall of Byzantium. It was published in six volumes. Volume I was published in 1776 and went through six printings.[2] Volumes II and III were published in 1781;[3][4] volumes IV, V, and VI in 1788–89.[5][6][7] The original volumes were published in quarto sections, a common publishing practice of the time. The work covers the history, from 98 to 1590, of the Roman Empire, the history of early Christianity and then of the Roman State Church, and the history of Europe, and discusses the decline of the Roman Empire in the East and West. Because of its relative objectivity and heavy use of primary sources, unusual at the time, its methodology became a model for later historians. This led to Gibbon being called the first “modern historian of ancient Rome”.[8]



Gibbon offers an explanation for the fall of the Roman Empire, a task made difficult by a lack of comprehensive written sources, though he was not the only historian to attempt the task.[9]

According to Gibbon, the Roman Empire succumbed to barbarian invasions in large part due to the gradual loss of civic virtue among its citizens.[10] They had become weak, outsourcing their duty to defend their empire to barbarian mercenaries, who then became so numerous and ingrained that they were able to take over the Empire. Romans, he believed, were unwilling to live a tougher, military lifestyle. In addition, Gibbon argued that Christianity created a belief that a better life existed after death, which fostered an indifference to the present among Roman citizens, thus sapping their desire to sacrifice for a larger purpose. He also believed that Christianity’s comparative pacifism tended to hamper the traditional Roman martial spirit. Finally, like other Enlightenment thinkers and British citizens of the age steeped in institutional anti-Catholicism, Gibbon held in contempt the Middle Ages as a priest-ridden, superstitious Dark Age. It was not until his own era, the “Age of Reason,” with its emphasis on rational thought, it was believed, that human history could resume its progress.[11]

Gibbon saw the Praetorian Guard as the primary catalyst of the empire’s initial decay and eventual collapse, a seed planted by Augustus when the empire was established. His writings cite repeated examples of the Praetorian Guard abusing their power with calamitous results, including numerous instances of imperial assassination and incessant demands for increased pay.

He compared the reigns of Diocletian (284–305) and Charles V (1519–1556), noting superficial similarities. Both were plagued by continual war and compelled to excessive taxation to fund wars, both chose to abdicate as Emperors at roughly the same age, and both chose to lead a quiet life upon their retirement. However, Gibbon argues that these similarities are only superficial and that the underlying context and character of the two rulers is markedly different.


Gibbon’s style is frequently distinguished by an ironically detached and somewhat dispassionate yet critical tone. He occasionally lapsed into moralization and aphorism:

[A]s long as mankind shall continue to bestow more liberal applause on their destroyers than on their benefactors, the thirst of military glory will ever be the vice of the most exalted characters.

The influence of the clergy, in an age of superstition, might be usefully employed to assert the rights of mankind; but so intimate is the connection between the throne and the altar, that the banner of the church has very seldom been seen on the side of the people (Chapter Three p. 52).

History…is, indeed, little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortune of mankind (ibid. p. 69).

If we contrast the rapid progress of this mischievous discovery [of gunpowder] with the slow and laborious advances of reason, science, and the arts of peace, a philosopher, according to his temper, will laugh or weep at the folly of mankind (Chapter 65, p. 68).[Page numbers in which edition? clarification needed]

Citations and footnotesen humorous style, and have been called “Gibbon’s table talk.”[12] They provide an entertaining moral commentary on both ancient Rome and 18th-century Great Britain. This technique enabled Gibbon to compare ancient Rome to his own contemporary world. Gibbon’s work advocates a rationalist and progressive view of history.

Gibbon’s citations provide in-depth detail regarding his use of sources for his work, which included documents dating back to ancient Rome. The detail within his asides and his care in noting the importance of each document is a precursor to modern-day historical footnoting methodology.

The work is notable for its erratic but exhaustively documented notes and research. John Bury, following him 113 years later with his own History of the Later Roman Empire, commended the depth and accuracy of Gibbon’s work. Unusually for 18th century historians, Gibbon was not content with second-hand accounts when the primary sources were accessible. “I have always endeavoured”, Gibbon wrote, “to draw from the fountain-head; that my curiosity, as well as a sense of duty, has always urged me to study the originals; and that, if they have sometimes eluded my search, I have carefully marked the secondary evidence, on whose faith a passage or a fact were reduced to depend.”[13] The Decline and Fall is a literary monument and a massive step forward in historical method.[14]


Numerous tracts were published criticizing his work. In response, Gibbon defended his work with the 1779 publication of, A Vindication … of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.[15] His remarks on Christianity aroused particularly vigorous attacks, but in the mid-twentieth century, at least one author claimed that “church historians allow the substantial justness of [Gibbon’s] main positions.”[16]

Number of Christian martyrs

Gibbon challenged Church history by estimating far smaller numbers of Christian martyrs than had been traditionally accepted. The Church’s version of its early history had rarely been questioned before. Gibbon, however, knew Church writings were secondary sources, and he shunned them in favor of primary sources.

Christianity as a contributor to the fall and to stability: chapters XV, XVI

Volume I was originally published in sections, as was common for large works at the time. The first two were well received and widely praised. The last quarto in Volume I, especially Chapters XV and XVI, was highly controversial, and Gibbon was attacked as a “paganist“. Voltaire was deemed to have influenced Gibbon’s claiming that Christianity was a contributor to the fall of the Roman Empire. As one pro-Christian commenter put it in 1840:

As Christianity advances, disasters befall the [Roman] empire—arts, science, literature, decay—barbarism and all its revolting concomitants are made to seem the consequences of its decisive triumph—and the unwary reader is conducted, with matchless dexterity, to the desired conclusion—the abominable Manicheism of Candide, and, in fact, of all the productions of Voltaire’s historic school—viz., “that instead of being a merciful, ameliorating, and benignant visitation, the religion of Christians would rather seem to be a scourge sent on man by the author of all evil.”[17]

Gibbon thought that Christianity had hastened the Fall, but also ameliorated the results:

As the happiness of a future life is the great object of religion, we may hear without surprise or scandal that the introduction, or at least the abuse of Christianity, had some influence on the decline and fall of the Roman empire. The clergy successfully preached the doctrines of patience and pusillanimity; the active virtues of society were discouraged; and the last remains of military spirit were buried in the cloister: a large portion of public and private wealth was consecrated to the specious demands of charity and devotion; and the soldiers’ pay was lavished on the useless multitudes of both sexes who could only plead the merits of abstinence and chastity. Faith, zeal, curiosity, and more earthly passions of malice and ambition, kindled the flame of theological discord; the church, and even the state, were distracted by religious factions, whose conflicts were sometimes bloody and always implacable; the attention of the emperors was diverted from camps to synods; the Roman world was oppressed by a new species of tyranny; and the persecuted sects became the secret enemies of their country. Yet party-spirit, however pernicious or absurd, is a principle of union as well as of dissension. The bishops, from eighteen hundred pulpits, inculcated the duty of passive obedience to a lawful and orthodox sovereign; their frequent assemblies and perpetual correspondence maintained the communion of distant churches; and the benevolent temper of the Gospel was strengthened, though confirmed, by the spiritual alliance of the Catholics. The sacred indolence of the monks was devoutly embraced by a servile and effeminate age; but if superstition had not afforded a decent retreat, the same vices would have tempted the unworthy Romans to desert, from baser motives, the standard of the republic. Religious precepts are easily obeyed which indulge and sanctify the natural inclinations of their votaries; but the pure and genuine influence of Christianity may be traced in its beneficial, though imperfect, effects on the barbarian proselytes of the North. If the decline of the Roman empire was hastened by the conversion of Constantine, his victorious religion broke the violence of the fall, and mollified the ferocious temper of the conquerors (chap. 38).[18]

Tolerant paganismast 200 years, and whose most eminent representative is Gibbon. Gibbon had written:

The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosophers as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.

Drake counters:

With such deft strokes, Gibbon enters into a conspiracy with his readers: unlike the credulous masses, he and we are cosmopolitans who know the uses of religion as an instrument of social control. So doing, Gibbon skirts a serious problem: for three centuries prior to Constantine, the tolerant pagans who people the Decline and Fall were the authors of several major persecutions, in which Christians were the victims. …Gibbon covered this embarrassing hole in his argument with an elegant demur. Rather than deny the obvious, he adroitly masked the question by transforming his Roman magistrates into models of Enlightenment rulers — reluctant persecutors, too sophisticated to be themselves religious zealots.

Misinterpretation of Byzantium

Others such as John Julius Norwich, despite their admiration for his furthering of historical methodology, consider Gibbon’s hostile views on the Byzantine Empire flawed and blame him somewhat for the lack of interest shown in the subject throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.[19] This view might well be admitted by Gibbon himself: “But it is not my intention to expatiate with the same minuteness on the whole series of the Byzantine history.”[20] However the Russian historian George Ostrogorsky writes, “Gibbon and Lebeau were genuine historians — and Gibbon a very great one — and their works, in spite of factual inadequacy, rank high for their presentation of their material.”[21]

Gibbon’s reflections

Gibbon’s initial plan was to write a history “of the decline and fall of the city of Rome”, and only later expanded his scope to the whole Roman Empire.[22]

Although he published other books, Gibbon devoted much of his life to this one work (1772–89). His autobiography Memoirs of My Life and Writings is devoted largely to his reflections on how the book virtually became his life. He compared the publication of each succeeding volume to a newborn child.[23]


Gibbon continued to revise and change his work even after publication. The complexities of the problem are addressed in Womersley’s introduction and appendices to his complete edition.

  • In-print complete editions
    • J.B. Bury, ed., 7 volumes (London: Methuen, 1909–1914), currently reprinted (New York: AMS Press, 1974). ISBN 0-404-02820-9.
    • Hugh Trevor-Roper, ed., 6 volumes (New York: Everyman’s Library, 1993–1994). The text, including Gibbon’s notes, is from Bury but without his notes. ISBN 0-679-42308-7 (vols. 1–3); ISBN 0-679-43593-X (vols. 4–6).
    • David Womersley, ed., 3 volumes. hardback-(London: Allen Lane, 1994); paperback-(New York: Penguin Books, 2005;1994). Includes the original index, and the Vindication (1779), which Gibbon wrote in response to attacks on his caustic portrayal of Christianity. The 2005 print includes minor revisions and a new chronology. ISBN 0-7139-9124-0 (3360 p.); ISBN 0-14-043393-7 (v.1, 1232 p.); ISBN 0-14-043394-5 (v.2, 1024 pages); ISBN 0-14-043395-3 (v.3, 1360 pages)
  • In-print abridgements
    • David Womersley, ed., 1 volume (New York: Penguin Books, 2000). Includes all footnotes and seventeen of the original seventy-one chapters. ISBN 0-14-043764-9, 848 pages
    • Hans-Friedrich Mueller, ed., one volume abridgment (New York: Random House, 2003). Includes excerpts from all seventy-one chapters. It eliminates footnotes, geographic surveys, details of battle formations, long narratives of military campaigns, ethnographies and genealogies. Based on the Rev. H.H. [Dean] Milman edition of 1845 (see also Gutenberg etext edition). ISBN 0-375-75811-9, (trade paper, 1312 pages); ISBN 0-345-47884-3 (mass market paper, 1536 pages)


Many writers have used variations on the series title (including using “Rise and Fall” in place of “Decline and Fall”), especially when dealing with large nations or empires. Piers Brendon notes that Gibbon’s work, “became the essential guide for Britons anxious to plot their own imperial trajectory. They found the key to understanding the British Empire in the ruins of Rome.”[24]

and in film:

and in television:

The title and author are also cited in Noël Coward‘s comedic poem “I Went to a Marvellous Party“.[25] And in the poem “The Foundation of Science Fiction Success“, Isaac Asimov acknowledged that his Foundation series—an epic tale of the fall and rebuilding of a galactic empire—was written “with a tiny bit of cribbin’ / from the works of Edward Gibbon”.[26]

In 1995, an established journal of classical scholarship, Classics Ireland, published punk musician’s Iggy Pop‘s reflections on the applicability of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire to the modern world in a short article, Caesar Lives, (Vol. 2, 1995) in which he noted “America is Rome. Of course, why shouldn’t it be? We are all Roman children, for better or worse… I learn much about the way our society really works, because the system-origins – military, religious, political, colonial, agricultural, financial – are all there to be scrutinized in their infancy. I have gained perspective.” [27]

See also


  1. Jump up^ sometimes shortened to Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
  2. Jump up^ Edward Gibbon (1776). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. I. W. Strahan and T. Cadell.
  3. Jump up^ Edward Gibbon (1781). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. II.
  4. Jump up^ Edward Gibbon (1781). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. III.
  5. Jump up^ Edward Gibbon (1788). The History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire. IV. Strahan and Cadell.
  6. Jump up^ Edward Gibbon (1788). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. V. W. Strahan and T. Cadell.
  7. Jump up^ Edward Gibbon (1788). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. VI.
  8. Jump up^ David S. Potter (2006-05-22). A Companion to the Roman Empire. Wiley. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-631-22644-4.
  9. Jump up^ see for example Henri Pirenne’s (1862–1935) famous thesis published in the early 20th century. As for sources more recent than the ancients, Gibbon certainly drew on Montesquieu‘s short essay, Considérations sur les causes de la grandeur des Romains et de leur décadence, and on previous work published by Bossuet (1627-1704) in his Histoire universelle à Monseigneur le dauphin (1763). see Pocock, EEG. for Bousset, pp. 65, 145; for Montesquieu, pp. 85–88, 114, 223.
  10. Jump up^ J.G.A. Pocock, “Between Machiavelli and Hume: Gibbon as Civic Humanist and Philosophical Historian,” Daedalus 105,3(1976), 153–169; and in Further reading: Pocock, EEG, 303–304; FDF, 304–306.
  11. Jump up^ J.G.A. Pocock, “Between Machiavelli and Hume: Gibbon as Civic Humanist and Philosophical Historian,” Daedulus 105,3(1976), 153–169; and in Further reading: Pocock, EEG, 303–304; FDF, 304–306.
  12. Jump up^ Saunders, Dero A., ed. (1952). Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. New York: Penguin. p. 23 (Introduction).
  13. Jump up^ Preface to Gibbon’s Volume the Fourth in David Womersley ed., Edward Gibbon – The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 2 (New York: Penguin Books, 1994), p. 520.
  14. Jump up^ In the early 20th century, biographer Sir Leslie Stephen [“Gibbon, Edward (1737–1794),” Dictionary of National Biography, vol. 7, (Oxford, 1921), p. 1134.] summarized The History‘s reputation as a work of unmatched erudition, a degree of professional esteem which remains as strong today as it was then:

    The criticisms upon his book…are nearly unanimous. In accuracy, thoroughness, lucidity, and comprehensive grasp of a vast subject, the History is unsurpassable. It is the one English history which may be regarded as definitive. …Whatever its shortcomings, the book is artistically imposing as well as historically unimpeachable as a vast panorama of a great period.

  15. Jump up^ Edward Gibbon (1779). A vindication of some passages in the fifteenth and sixteenth chapters of The history of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire: By the author..Printed for W. Strahan; and T. Cadell, in the Strand.
  16. Jump up^ The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, vol. IV, eds. S.M. Jackson, et al. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1952), 483–484. online.
  17. Jump up^ Dublin review: a quarterly and critical journal. Burns, Oates and Washbourne. 1840. pp. 208–. JItKAAAAcAAJ. p. 208 image at Google Books
  18. Jump up^ General Observations On The Fall Of The Roman Empire In The West. Fall In The West — The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon. At Christian Classics Ethereal Library, Calvin College Computer Science.
  19. Jump up^ John Julius Norwich, Byzantium (New York: Knopf, 1989); Byzantium: the apogee (London and New York: Viking Press, 1991).
  20. Jump up^ Preface of 1782 online.
  21. Jump up^ Georgije Ostrogorski History of the Byzantine State(1986) p. 5 online
  22. Jump up^ Gibbon, Edward (1781). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. 3. chapter 36, footnote 43. If I prosecute this History, I shall not be unmindful of the decline and fall of the city of Rome; an interesting object, to which my plan was originally confined.
  23. Jump up^ Patricia B. Craddock, Edward Gibbon, Luminous Historian. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1989), 249–266.
  24. Jump up^ Piers Brendon, The Decline and Fall of the British Empire, 1781-1997 (2008) p. xv
  25. Jump up^ Link to notes on the poem here [1]. Excerpt: “If you have any mind at all, Gibbon’s divine Decline and Fall, Seems pretty flimsy, No more than a whimsy… .”
  26. Jump up^ Asimov, Isaac (October 1954). “The Foundation of S. F. Success”. The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. p. 69.
  27. Jump up^ “Classics Ireland”. Retrieved September 8, 2010.

Further readingnd Intertextuality in Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Newark: Associated University Presses, 1999); ISBN 0-87413-658-X.

  • Craddock, Patricia. “Historical Discovery and Literary Invention in Gibbon’s ‘Decline and Fall’,” Modern Philology 85,4(May 1988), 569–587.
  • Drake, H.A., “Lambs into Lions: explaining early Christian intolerance,” Past and Present 153(1996), 3–36. Oxford Journals
  • Furet, Francois. “Civilization and Barbarism in Gibbon’s History,” Daedalus 105,3(1976), 209–216.
  • Gay, Peter. Style in History (New York: Basic Books, 1974); ISBN 0-465-08304-8.
  • Ghosh, Peter R. “Gibbon’s Dark Ages: Some Remarks on the Genesis of the Decline and Fall,” Journal of Roman Studies 73(1983), 1–23.
  • Homer-Dixon, Thomas “The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity and the Renewal of Civilization”, 2007 ISBN 978-0-676-97723-3, Chapter 3 pp. 57–60
  • Kelly, Christopher. “A Grand Tour: Reading Gibbon’s ‘Decline and Fall’,” Greece & Rome 2nd ser., 44,1 (Apr. 1997), 39–58.
  • Momigliano, Arnaldo. “Eighteenth-Century Prelude to Mr. Gibbon,” in Pierre Ducrey et al., eds., Gibbon et Rome à la lumière de l’historiographie moderne (Geneva: Librairie Droz, 1977).
  • Momigliano, Arnaldo. “Gibbon from an Italian Point of View,” in G.W. Bowersock et al., eds., Edward Gibbon and the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1977).
  • Momigliano, Arnaldo. “Declines and Falls,” American Scholar 49(Winter 1979), 37–51.
  • Momigliano, Arnaldo. “After Gibbon’s Decline and Fall,” in Kurt Weitzmann, ed. Age of Spirituality : a symposium (Princeton: 1980); ISBN 0-89142-039-8.
  • Pocock, J.G.A. Barbarism and Religion, 4 vols. all Cambridge Univ. Press.
  • Roberts, Charlotte Edward Gibbon and the Shape of History. 2014 Oxford University Press 9780198704836
  • Trevor-Roper, H.R. “Gibbon and the Publication of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 1776–1976,” Journal of Law and Economics 19,3 (Oct. 1976), 489–505.
  • Womersley, David. The Transformation of ‘The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’ (Cambridge: 1988).
  • Womersley, David, ed. Religious Scepticism: Contemporary Responses to Gibbon (Bristol, England: Thoemmes Press, 1997).
  • Wootton, David. “Narrative, Irony, and Faith in Gibbon’s Decline and Fall,” History and Theory 33,4 (Dec., 1994), 77–105.

External links

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

George Orwell — Videos

Posted on March 7, 2017. Filed under: Blogroll, Books, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Computers, Education, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Fiction, Food, Freedom, government spending, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Love, media, Movies, Newspapers, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Political Correctness, Politics, Press, Programming, Psychology, Quotations, Radio, Rants, Raves, Religious, Security, Speech, Technology, Terrorism, Video, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, World War II, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Image result for george orwell quotesImage result for george orwell quotesImage result for george orwell quotesImage result for george orwell quotesImage result for george orwell quotesImage result for george orwell quotesImage result for george orwell quotesImage result for george orwell quotesImage result for george orwell quotesImage result for george orwell quotesImage result for george orwell quotesImage result for george orwell quotesImage result for george orwell quotesImage result for george orwell quotesImage result for george orwell quotesImage result for george orwell quotes

Image result for george orwell quotesImage result for george orwell quotes

Image result for george orwell quotesImage result for george orwell quotesImage result for george orwell quotesImage result for george orwell quotesImage result for george orwell quotesImage result for george orwell quotesImage result for george orwell quotesImage result for george orwell quotes

Image result for george orwell quotes

Image result for george orwellImage result for george orwell

Image result for george orwell 1984

Top 20 George Orwell Quotes (Author of 1984)

George Orwell 1984 Telescreen Exercise

Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984) – Last Scene

A Final Warning from George Orwell

George Orwell: A Life in Pictures Full Documentary (High Quality)

The Real George Orwell (1/6)

The Real George Orwell (2/6)

The Real George Orwell (3/6)

The Real George Orwell (4/6)

The Real George Orwell (5/6)

The Real George Orwell (6/6)

ANIMAL FARM – full movie

1984 George Orwell – Full Movie – Hollywood best Greatest blockbuster movie Film

Watch Nineteen Eighty Four Watch Movies Online Free

George Orwell’s 1984 ( MOVIE ) WAR is PEACE Freedom is Slavery Ignorance is Strength

1984 – George Orwell – FULL MOVIE – (TheLibertarianChannel)

Mind Control – George Orwell BBC 101 documentary

Orwell Rolls In His Grave – The One Thing The Media Doesn’t Like To Talk About

1984 – Abby Martin Explains George Orwell’s 1984

LITERATURE – George Orwell

1984 by George Orwell FULL Audiobook

Politics and the English Language, by George Orwell

Keep the Aspidistra Flying Audiobook – George Orwell

Homage to Catalonia Audiobook – George Orwell

George Orwell – The Road to Wigan Pier

George Orwell – Down and Out in Paris and London

George Orwell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
George Orwell
A photo showing the head and shoulders of a middle-aged man with black hair and a slim moustache.

Orwell’s press card portrait, 1943
Born Eric Arthur Blair
25 June 1903
Motihari, Bengal Presidency, British India
(now East Champaran, Bihar, India)
Died 21 January 1950 (aged 46)
University College Hospital, London, England, United Kingdom
Resting place Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom
Pen name George Orwell
Occupation Novelist, essayist, journalist, critic
Alma mater Eton College
Genre Dystopia, roman à clef, satire
Subject Anti-fascism, anti-Stalinism, democratic socialism, literary criticism, news, polemic
Notable works Animal Farm
Nineteen Eighty-Four
Years active 1928–1950
Spouse Eileen O’Shaughnessy
(m. 1935; her death 1945)
Sonia Brownell
(m. 1949; his death 1950)

Signature Eric Blair ("George Orwell")

Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950),[1] better known by the pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist, essayist, journalist, and critic. His work is marked by lucid prose, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and outspoken support of democratic socialism.[2][3]

Orwell wrote literary criticism, poetry, fiction, and polemical journalism. He is best known for the allegorical novella Animal Farm (1945) and the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). His non-fiction works, including The Road to Wigan Pier (1937), documenting his experience of working class life in the north of England, and Homage to Catalonia (1938), an account of his experiences in the Spanish Civil War, are widely acclaimed, as are his essays on politics, literature, language, and culture. In 2008, The Times ranked him second on a list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945”.[4]

Orwell’s work continues to influence popular and political culture, and the term Orwellian – descriptive of totalitarian or authoritarian social practices – has entered the language together with many of his neologisms, including cold war, Big Brother, Thought Police, Room 101, memory hole, newspeak, doublethink, and thoughtcrime.[5]




Early years

Blair family home at Shiplake, Oxfordshire

Eric Arthur Blair was born on 25 June 1903, in Motihari, Bengal Presidency (present-day Bihar), in British India.[6] His great-grandfather Charles Blair was a wealthy country gentleman in Dorset who married Lady Mary Fane, daughter of the Earl of Westmorland, and had income as an absentee landlord of plantations in Jamaica.[7] His grandfather, Thomas Richard Arthur Blair, was a clergyman.[8] Although the gentility passed down the generations, the prosperity did not; Eric Blair described his family as “lower-upper-middle class“.[9] His father, Richard Walmesley Blair, worked in the Opium Department of the Indian Civil Service.[10] His mother, Ida Mabel Blair (née Limouzin), grew up in Moulmein, Burma, where her French father was involved in speculative ventures.[7] Eric had two sisters: Marjorie, five years older, and Avril, five years younger. When Eric was one year old, his mother took him and his sister to England.[11][n 1] His birthplace and ancestral house in Motihari has been declared a protected monument of historical importance.[12]

In 1904, Ida Blair settled with her children at Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire. Eric was brought up in the company of his mother and sisters, and apart from a brief visit in mid-1907,[13] they did not see the husband and father Richard Blair until 1912.[8] His mother’s diary from 1905 describes a lively round of social activity and artistic interests.

Before the First World War, the family moved to Shiplake, Oxfordshire where Eric became friendly with the Buddicom family, especially their daughter Jacintha. When they first met, he was standing on his head in a field. On being asked why, he said, “You are noticed more if you stand on your head than if you are right way up.”[14] Jacintha and Eric read and wrote poetry, and dreamed of becoming famous writers. He said that he might write a book in the style of H. G. Wells‘s A Modern Utopia. During this period, he also enjoyed shooting, fishing and birdwatching with Jacintha’s brother and sister.[14]

Playing fields at St. Cyprian’s. Blair’s time at the school inspired his essay “Such, Such Were the Joys“.

At the age of five, Eric was sent as a day-boy to a convent school in Henley-on-Thames, which Marjorie also attended. It was a Roman Catholic convent run by French Ursuline nuns, who had been exiled from France after religious education was banned in 1903.[15] His mother wanted him to have a public school education, but his family could not afford the fees, and he needed to earn a scholarship. Ida Blair’s brother Charles Limouzin recommended St Cyprian’s School, Eastbourne, East Sussex.[8] Limouzin, who was a proficient golfer, knew of the school and its headmaster through the Royal Eastbourne Golf Club, where he won several competitions in 1903 and 1904.[16] The headmaster undertook to help Blair to win a scholarship, and made a private financial arrangement that allowed Blair’s parents to pay only half the normal fees. In September 1911 Eric arrived at St Cyprian’s. He boarded at the school for the next five years, returning home only for school holidays. He knew nothing of the reduced fees, although he “soon recognised that he was from a poorer home”.[17] Blair hated the school[18] and many years later wrote an essay “Such, Such Were the Joys“, published posthumously, based on his time there. At St. Cyprian’s, Blair first met Cyril Connolly, who became a writer. Many years later, as the editor of Horizon, Connolly published several of Orwell’s essays.

While at St Cyprian’s, Blair wrote two poems that were published in the Henley and South Oxfordshire Standard.[19][20] He came second to Connolly in the Harrow History Prize, had his work praised by the school’s external examiner, and earned scholarships to Wellington and Eton. But inclusion on the Eton scholarship roll did not guarantee a place, and none was immediately available for Blair. He chose to stay at St Cyprian’s until December 1916, in case a place at Eton became available.[8]

In January, Blair took up the place at Wellington, where he spent the Spring term. In May 1917 a place became available as a King’s Scholar at Eton. He remained at Eton until December 1921, when he left midway between his 18th and 19th birthday. Wellington was “beastly”, Orwell told his childhood friend Jacintha Buddicom, but he said he was “interested and happy” at Eton.[21] His principal tutor was A. S. F. Gow, Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, who also gave him advice later in his career.[8] Blair was briefly taught French by Aldous Huxley. Stephen Runciman, who was at Eton with Blair, noted that he and his contemporaries appreciated Huxley’s linguistic flair.[22] Cyril Connolly followed Blair to Eton, but because they were in separate years, they did not associate with each other.[23]

Blair’s academic performance reports suggest that he neglected his academic studies,[22] but during his time at Eton he worked with Roger Mynors to produce a College magazine, The Election Times, joined in the production of other publications – College Days and Bubble and Squeak – and participated in the Eton Wall Game. His parents could not afford to send him to a university without another scholarship, and they concluded from his poor results that he would not be able to win one. Runciman noted that he had a romantic idea about the East,[22] and the family decided that Blair should join the Imperial Police, the precursor of the Indian Police Service. For this he had to pass an entrance examination. His father had retired to Southwold, Suffolk, by this time; Blair was enrolled at a crammer there called Craighurst, and brushed up on his Classics, English, and History. He passed the entrance exam, coming seventh out of the 26 candidates who exceeded the pass mark.[8][24]

Policing in Burma

Blair pictured in a passport photo during his Burma years

Blair’s maternal grandmother lived at Moulmein, so he chose a posting in Burma. In October 1922 he sailed on board SS Herefordshire via the Suez Canal and Ceylon to join the Indian Imperial Police in Burma. A month later, he arrived at Rangoon and travelled to the police training school in Mandalay. After a short posting at Maymyo, Burma’s principal hill station, he was posted to the frontier outpost of Myaungmya in the Irrawaddy Delta at the beginning of 1924.

Working as an imperial policeman gave him considerable responsibility while most of his contemporaries were still at university in England. When he was posted farther east in the Delta to Twante as a sub-divisional officer, he was responsible for the security of some 200,000 people. At the end of 1924, he was promoted to Assistant District Superintendent and posted to Syriam, closer to Rangoon. Syriam had the refinery of the Burmah Oil Company, “the surrounding land a barren waste, all vegetation killed off by the fumes of sulphur dioxide pouring out day and night from the stacks of the refinery.” But the town was near Rangoon, a cosmopolitan seaport, and Blair went into the city as often as he could, “to browse in a bookshop; to eat well-cooked food; to get away from the boring routine of police life”.[25] In September 1925 he went to Insein, the home of Insein Prison, the second largest jail in Burma. In Insein, he had “long talks on every conceivable subject” with Elisa Maria Langford-Rae (who later married Kazi Lhendup Dorjee). She noted his “sense of utter fairness in minutest details”.[26]

British Club in Katha (in Orwell’s time, it occupied only the ground floor)

In April 1926 he moved to Moulmein, where his maternal grandmother lived. At the end of that year, he was assigned to Katha in Upper Burma, where he contracted dengue fever in 1927. Entitled to a leave in England that year, he was allowed to return in July due to his illness. While on leave in England and on holiday with his family in Cornwall in September 1927, he reappraised his life. Deciding against returning to Burma, he resigned from the Indian Imperial Police to become a writer. He drew on his experiences in the Burma police for the novel Burmese Days (1934) and the essays “A Hanging” (1931) and “Shooting an Elephant” (1936).

In Burma, Blair acquired a reputation as an outsider. He spent much of his time alone, reading or pursuing non-pukka activities, such as attending the churches of the Karen ethnic group. A colleague, Roger Beadon, recalled (in a 1969 recording for the BBC) that Blair was fast to learn the language and that before he left Burma, “was able to speak fluently with Burmese priests in ‘very high-flown Burmese.'”[27] Blair made changes to his appearance in Burma that remained for the rest of his life. “While in Burma, he acquired a moustache similar to those worn by officers of the British regiments stationed there. [He] also acquired some tattoos; on each knuckle he had a small untidy blue circle. Many Burmese living in rural areas still sport tattoos like this – they are believed to protect against bullets and snake bites.”[28] Later, he wrote that he felt guilty about his role in the work of empire and he “began to look more closely at his own country and saw that England also had its oppressed …”

London and Paris

Blair’s 1927 lodgings in Portobello Road, London

In England, he settled back in the family home at Southwold, renewing acquaintance with local friends and attending an Old Etonian dinner. He visited his old tutor Gow at Cambridge for advice on becoming a writer.[29] In 1927 he moved to London.[30] Ruth Pitter, a family acquaintance, helped him find lodgings, and by the end of 1927 he had moved into rooms in Portobello Road;[31] a blue plaque commemorates his residence there.[32] Pitter’s involvement in the move “would have lent it a reassuring respectability in Mrs Blair’s eyes.” Pitter had a sympathetic interest in Blair’s writing, pointed out weaknesses in his poetry, and advised him to write about what he knew. In fact he decided to write of “certain aspects of the present that he set out to know” and “ventured into the East End of London – the first of the occasional sorties he would make to discover for himself the world of poverty and the down-and-outers who inhabit it. He had found a subject. These sorties, explorations, expeditions, tours or immersions were made intermittently over a period of five years.”[33]

In imitation of Jack London, whose writing he admired (particularly The People of the Abyss), Blair started to explore the poorer parts of London. On his first outing he set out to Limehouse Causeway, spending his first night in a common lodging house, possibly George Levy’s ‘kip’. For a while he “went native” in his own country, dressing like a tramp, adopting the name P. S. Burton and making no concessions to middle-class mores and expectations; he recorded his experiences of the low life for use in “The Spike“, his first published essay in English, and in the second half of his first book, Down and Out in Paris and London (1933).

Rue du Pot de Fer, on the Left Bank, in the 5th arrondissement, where Blair lived in Paris

In early 1928 he moved to Paris. He lived in the rue du Pot de Fer, a working class district in the 5th Arrondissement.[8] His aunt Nellie Limouzin also lived in Paris and gave him social and, when necessary, financial support. He began to write novels, including an early version of Burmese Days, but nothing else survives from that period.[8] He was more successful as a journalist and published articles in Monde, a political/literary journal edited by Henri Barbusse (his first article as a professional writer, “La Censure en Angleterre”, appeared in that journal on 6 October 1928); G. K.’s Weekly, where his first article to appear in England, “A Farthing Newspaper”, was printed on 29 December 1928;[34] and Le Progrès Civique (founded by the left-wing coalition Le Cartel des Gauches). Three pieces appeared in successive weeks in Le Progrès Civique: discussing unemployment, a day in the life of a tramp, and the beggars of London, respectively. “In one or another of its destructive forms, poverty was to become his obsessive subject – at the heart of almost everything he wrote until Homage to Catalonia.”[35]

He fell seriously ill in February 1929 and was taken to the Hôpital Cochin in the 14th arrondissement, a free hospital where medical students were trained. His experiences there were the basis of his essay “How the Poor Die“, published in 1946. He chose not to identify the hospital, and indeed was deliberately misleading about its location. Shortly afterwards, he had all his money stolen from his lodging house. Whether through necessity or to collect material, he undertook menial jobs like dishwashing in a fashionable hotel on the rue de Rivoli, which he later described in Down and Out in Paris and London. In August 1929, he sent a copy of “The Spike” to John Middleton Murry‘s New Adelphi magazine in London. The magazine was edited by Max Plowman and Sir Richard Rees, and Plowman accepted the work for publication.


Southwold – North Parade

In December 1929, after nearly two years in Paris, Blair returned to England and went directly to his parents’ house in Southwold, which remained his base for the next five years. The family was well established in the town and his sister Avril was running a tea-house there. He became acquainted with many local people, including Brenda Salkeld, the clergyman’s daughter who worked as a gym-teacher at St Felix Girls’ School, Southwold. Although Salkeld rejected his offer of marriage, she remained a friend and regular correspondent for many years. He also renewed friendships with older friends, such as Dennis Collings, whose girlfriend Eleanor Jacques was also to play a part in his life.[8]

In early 1930 he stayed briefly in Bramley, Leeds, with his sister Marjorie and her husband Humphrey Dakin, who was as unappreciative of Blair as when they knew each other as children. Blair was writing reviews for Adelphi and acting as a private tutor to a disabled child at Southwold. He then became tutor to three young brothers, one of whom, Richard Peters, later became a distinguished academic.[36] “His history in these years is marked by dualities and contrasts. There is Blair leading a respectable, outwardly eventless life at his parents’ house in Southwold, writing; then in contrast, there is Blair as Burton (the name he used in his down-and-out episodes) in search of experience in the kips and spikes, in the East End, on the road, and in the hop fields of Kent.”[37] He went painting and bathing on the beach, and there he met Mabel and Francis Fierz, who later influenced his career. Over the next year he visited them in London, often meeting their friend Max Plowman. He also often stayed at the homes of Ruth Pitter and Richard Rees, where he could “change” for his sporadic tramping expeditions. One of his jobs was domestic work at a lodgings for half a crown (two shillings and sixpence, or one-eighth of a pound) a day.[38]

Blair now contributed regularly to Adelphi, with “A Hanging” appearing in August 1931. From August to September 1931 his explorations of poverty continued, and, like the protagonist of A Clergyman’s Daughter, he followed the East End tradition of working in the Kent hop fields. He kept a diary about his experiences there. Afterwards, he lodged in the Tooley Street kip, but could not stand it for long, and with financial help from his parents moved to Windsor Street, where he stayed until Christmas. “Hop Picking”, by Eric Blair, appeared in the October 1931 issue of New Statesman, whose editorial staff included his old friend Cyril Connolly. Mabel Fierz put him in contact with Leonard Moore, who became his literary agent.

At this time Jonathan Cape rejected A Scullion’s Diary, the first version of Down and Out. On the advice of Richard Rees, he offered it to Faber and Faber, but their editorial director, T. S. Eliot, also rejected it. Blair ended the year by deliberately getting himself arrested,[39] so that he could experience Christmas in prison, but the authorities did not regard his “drunk and disorderly” behaviour as imprisonable, and he returned home to Southwold after two days in a police cell.

Teaching career

In April 1932 Blair became a teacher at The Hawthorns High School, a school for boys in Hayes, West London. This was a small school offering private schooling for children of local tradesmen and shopkeepers, and had only 14 or 16 boys aged between ten and sixteen, and one other master.[40] While at the school he became friendly with the curate of the local parish church and became involved with activities there. Mabel Fierz had pursued matters with Moore, and at the end of June 1932, Moore told Blair that Victor Gollancz was prepared to publish A Scullion’s Diary for a £40 advance, through his recently founded publishing house, Victor Gollancz Ltd, which was an outlet for radical and socialist works.

At the end of the summer term in 1932, Blair returned to Southwold, where his parents had used a legacy to buy their own home. Blair and his sister Avril spent the holidays making the house habitable while he also worked on Burmese Days.[41] He was also spending time with Eleanor Jacques, but her attachment to Dennis Collings remained an obstacle to his hopes of a more serious relationship.

The pen name “George Orwell” was inspired by the River Orwell in the English county of Suffolk[42]

“Clink”, an essay describing his failed attempt to get sent to prison, appeared in the August 1932 number of Adelphi. He returned to teaching at Hayes and prepared for the publication of his book, now known as Down and Out in Paris and London. He wished to publish under a different name to avoid any embarrassment to his family over his time as a “tramp”.[43] In a letter to Moore (dated 15 November 1932), he left the choice of pseudonym to Moore and to Gollancz. Four days later, he wrote to Moore, suggesting the pseudonyms P. S. Burton (a name he used when tramping), Kenneth Miles, George Orwell, and H. Lewis Allways.[44] He finally adopted the nom de plume George Orwell because, as he told Eleanor Jacques, “It is a good round English name.” Down and Out in Paris and London was published on 9 January 1933, as Orwell continued to work on Burmese Days. Down and Out was successful and was next published by Harper & Brothers in New York.

In mid-1933 Blair left Hawthorns to become a teacher at Frays College, in Uxbridge, Middlesex. This was a much larger establishment with 200 pupils and a full complement of staff. He acquired a motorcycle and took trips through the surrounding countryside. On one of these expeditions he became soaked and caught a chill that developed into pneumonia. He was taken to Uxbridge Cottage Hospital, where for a time his life was believed to be in danger. When he was discharged in January 1934, he returned to Southwold to convalesce and, supported by his parents, never returned to teaching.

He was disappointed when Gollancz turned down Burmese Days, mainly on the grounds of potential suits for libel, but Harper were prepared to publish it in the United States. Meanwhile, Blair started work on the novel A Clergyman’s Daughter, drawing upon his life as a teacher and on life in Southwold. Eleanor Jacques was now married and had gone to Singapore and Brenda Salkield had left for Ireland, so Blair was relatively isolated in Southwold – working on the allotments, walking alone and spending time with his father. Eventually in October, after sending A Clergyman’s Daughter to Moore, he left for London to take a job that had been found for him by his aunt Nellie Limouzin.


Orwell’s former home at 77 Parliament Hill, Hampstead, London

This job was as a part-time assistant in Booklovers’ Corner, a second-hand bookshop in Hampstead run by Francis and Myfanwy Westrope, who were friends of Nellie Limouzin in the Esperanto movement. The Westropes were friendly and provided him with comfortable accommodation at Warwick Mansions, Pond Street. He was sharing the job with Jon Kimche, who also lived with the Westropes. Blair worked at the shop in the afternoons and had his mornings free to write and his evenings free to socialise. These experiences provided background for the novel Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1936). As well as the various guests of the Westropes, he was able to enjoy the company of Richard Rees and the Adelphi writers and Mabel Fierz. The Westropes and Kimche were members of the Independent Labour Party, although at this time Blair was not seriously politically active. He was writing for the Adelphi and preparing A Clergyman’s Daughter and Burmese Days for publication.

At the beginning of 1935 he had to move out of Warwick Mansions, and Mabel Fierz found him a flat in Parliament Hill. A Clergyman’s Daughter was published on 11 March 1935. In early 1935 Blair met his future wife Eileen O’Shaughnessy, when his landlady, Rosalind Obermeyer, who was studying for a master’s degree in psychology at University College London, invited some of her fellow students to a party. One of these students, Elizaveta Fen, a biographer and future translator of Chekhov, recalled Orwell and his friend Richard Rees “draped” at the fireplace, looking, she thought, “moth-eaten and prematurely aged.”[45] Around this time, Blair had started to write reviews for the New English Weekly.

Orwell’s time as a bookseller is commemorated with this plaque in Hampstead

In June, Burmese Days was published and Cyril Connolly’s review in the New Statesman prompted Orwell (as he then became known) to re-establish contact with his old friend. In August, he moved into a flat in Kentish Town, which he shared with Michael Sayers and Rayner Heppenstall. The relationship was sometimes awkward and Orwell and Heppenstall even came to blows, though they remained friends and later worked together on BBC broadcasts.[46] Orwell was now working on Keep the Aspidistra Flying, and also tried unsuccessfully to write a serial for the News Chronicle. By October 1935 his flatmates had moved out and he was struggling to pay the rent on his own. He remained until the end of January 1936, when he stopped working at Booklovers’ Corner.

The Road to Wigan Pier

At this time, Victor Gollancz suggested Orwell spend a short time investigating social conditions in economically depressed northern England.[n 2] Two years earlier J. B. Priestley had written about England north of the Trent, sparking an interest in reportage. The depression had also introduced a number of working-class writers from the North of England to the reading public.

On 31 January 1936, Orwell set out by public transport and on foot, reaching Manchester via Coventry, Stafford, the Potteries and Macclesfield. Arriving in Manchester after the banks had closed, he had to stay in a common lodging-house. The next day he picked up a list of contacts sent by Richard Rees. One of these, the trade union official Frank Meade, suggested Wigan, where Orwell spent February staying in dirty lodgings over a tripe shop. At Wigan, he visited many homes to see how people lived, took detailed notes of housing conditions and wages earned, went down Bryn Hall coal mine, and used the local public library to consult public health records and reports on working conditions in mines.

During this time, he was distracted by concerns about style and possible libel in Keep the Aspidistra Flying. He made a quick visit to Liverpool and during March, stayed in south Yorkshire, spending time in Sheffield and Barnsley. As well as visiting mines, including Grimethorpe, and observing social conditions, he attended meetings of the Communist Party and of Oswald Mosley – “his speech the usual claptrap – The blame for everything was put upon mysterious international gangs of Jews” – where he saw the tactics of the Blackshirts – “one is liable to get both a hammering and a fine for asking a question which Mosley finds it difficult to answer.”[48] He also made visits to his sister at Headingley, during which he visited the Brontë Parsonage at Haworth, where he was “chiefly impressed by a pair of Charlotte Brontë‘s cloth-topped boots, very small, with square toes and lacing up at the sides.”[49]

A former warehouse at Wigan Pier is named after Orwell

No 2 Kits Lane, Wallington, Hertfordshire. Orwell’s residence c. 1936–1940

The result of his journeys through the north was The Road to Wigan Pier, published by Gollancz for the Left Book Club in 1937. The first half of the book documents his social investigations of Lancashire and Yorkshire, including an evocative description of working life in the coal mines. The second half is a long essay on his upbringing and the development of his political conscience, which includes an argument for Socialism (although he goes to lengths to balance the concerns and goals of Socialism with the barriers it faced from the movement’s own advocates at the time, such as ‘priggish’ and ‘dull’ Socialist intellectuals, and ‘proletarian’ Socialists with little grasp of the actual ideology). Gollancz feared the second half would offend readers and added a disculpatory preface to the book while Orwell was in Spain.

Orwell needed somewhere he could concentrate on writing his book, and once again help was provided by Aunt Nellie, who was living at Wallington, Hertfordshire in a very small 16th-century cottage called the “Stores”. Wallington was a tiny village 35 miles north of London, and the cottage had almost no modern facilities. Orwell took over the tenancy and moved in on 2 April 1936.[50] He started work on The Road to Wigan Pier by the end of April, but also spent hours working on the garden and testing the possibility of reopening the Stores as a village shop. Keep the Aspidistra Flying was published by Gollancz on 20 April 1936. On 4 August Orwell gave a talk at the Adelphi Summer School held at Langham, entitled An Outsider Sees the Distressed Areas; others who spoke at the school included John Strachey, Max Plowman, Karl Polanyi and Reinhold Niebuhr.

Orwell’s research for The Road to Wigan Pier led to him being placed under surveillance by the Special Branch from 1936, for 12 years, until one year before the publication of Nineteen Eighty-Four.[51]

Orwell married Eileen O’Shaughnessy on 9 June 1936. Shortly afterwards, the political crisis began in Spain and Orwell followed developments there closely. At the end of the year, concerned by Francisco Franco‘s military uprising, (supported by Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and local groups such as Falange), Orwell decided to go to Spain to take part in the Spanish Civil War on the Republican side. Under the erroneous impression that he needed papers from some left-wing organisation to cross the frontier, on John Strachey‘s recommendation he applied unsuccessfully to Harry Pollitt, leader of the British Communist Party. Pollitt was suspicious of Orwell’s political reliability; he asked him whether he would undertake to join the International Brigade and advised him to get a safe-conduct from the Spanish Embassy in Paris.[52] Not wishing to commit himself until he had seen the situation in situ, Orwell instead used his Independent Labour Party contacts to get a letter of introduction to John McNair in Barcelona.

The Spanish Civil War

The square in Barcelona renamed in Orwell’s honour

Orwell set out for Spain on about 23 December 1936, dining with Henry Miller in Paris on the way. The American writer told Orwell that going to fight in the Civil War out of some sense of obligation or guilt was ‘sheer stupidity,’ and that the Englishman’s ideas ‘about combating Fascism, defending democracy, etc., etc., were all baloney.’[53] A few days later, in Barcelona, Orwell met John McNair of the Independent Labour Party (ILP) Office who quoted him: “I’ve come to fight against Fascism”.[54] Orwell stepped into a complex political situation in Catalonia. The Republican government was supported by a number of factions with conflicting aims, including the Workers’ Party of Marxist Unification (POUM – Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista), the anarcho-syndicalist Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) and the Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia (a wing of the Spanish Communist Party, which was backed by Soviet arms and aid). The ILP was linked to the POUM so Orwell joined the POUM.

After a time at the Lenin Barracks in Barcelona he was sent to the relatively quiet Aragon Front under Georges Kopp. By January 1937 he was at Alcubierre 1,500 feet (460 m) above sea level, in the depth of winter. There was very little military action, and Orwell was shocked by the lack of munitions, food, and firewood, and other extreme deprivations.[55] Orwell, with his Cadet Corps and police training, was quickly made a corporal. On the arrival of a British ILP Contingent about three weeks later, Orwell and the other English militiaman, Williams, were sent with them to Monte Oscuro. The newly arrived ILP contingent included Bob Smillie, Bob Edwards, Stafford Cottman and Jack Branthwaite. The unit was then sent on to Huesca.

Meanwhile, back in England, Eileen had been handling the issues relating to the publication of The Road to Wigan Pier before setting out for Spain herself, leaving Nellie Limouzin to look after The Stores. Eileen volunteered for a post in John McNair’s office and with the help of Georges Kopp paid visits to her husband, bringing him English tea, chocolate, and cigars.[56] Orwell had to spend some days in hospital with a poisoned hand[57] and had most of his possessions stolen by the staff. He returned to the front and saw some action in a night attack on the Nationalist trenches where he chased an enemy soldier with a bayonet and bombed an enemy rifle position.

In April, Orwell returned to Barcelona.[57] Wanting to be sent to the Madrid front, which meant he “must join the International Column”, he approached a Communist friend attached to the Spanish Medical Aid and explained his case. “Although he did not think much of the Communists, Orwell was still ready to treat them as friends and allies. That would soon change.”[58] This was the time of the Barcelona May Days and Orwell was caught up in the factional fighting. He spent much of the time on a roof, with a stack of novels, but encountered Jon Kimche from his Hampstead days during the stay. The subsequent campaign of lies and distortion carried out by the Communist press,[59] in which the POUM was accused of collaborating with the fascists, had a dramatic effect on Orwell. Instead of joining the International Brigades as he had intended, he decided to return to the Aragon Front. Once the May fighting was over, he was approached by a Communist friend who asked if he still intended transferring to the International Brigades. Orwell expressed surprise that they should still want him, because according to the Communist press he was a fascist.[60] “No one who was in Barcelona then, or for months later, will forget the horrible atmosphere produced by fear, suspicion, hatred, censored newspapers, crammed jails, enormous food queues and prowling gangs of armed men.”[61]

After his return to the front, he was wounded in the throat by a sniper’s bullet. At 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) Orwell was considerably taller than the Spanish fighters[62] and had been warned against standing against the trench parapet. Unable to speak, and with blood pouring from his mouth, Orwell was carried on a stretcher to Siétamo, loaded on an ambulance and after a bumpy journey via Barbastro arrived at the hospital at Lérida. He recovered sufficiently to get up and on 27 May 1937 was sent on to Tarragona and two days later to a POUM sanatorium in the suburbs of Barcelona. The bullet had missed his main artery by the barest margin and his voice was barely audible. It had been such a clean shot that the wound immediately went through the process of cauterisation. He received electrotherapy treatment and was declared medically unfit for service.[63]

By the middle of June the political situation in Barcelona had deteriorated and the POUM – painted by the pro-Soviet Communists as a Trotskyist organisation – was outlawed and under attack. The Communist line was that the POUM were “objectively” Fascist, hindering the Republican cause. “A particularly nasty poster appeared, showing a head with a POUM mask being ripped off to reveal a Swastika-covered face beneath.”[64] Members, including Kopp, were arrested and others were in hiding. Orwell and his wife were under threat and had to lie low,[n 3] although they broke cover to try to help Kopp.

Finally with their passports in order, they escaped from Spain by train, diverting to Banyuls-sur-Mer for a short stay before returning to England. In the first week of July 1937 Orwell arrived back at Wallington; on 13 July 1937 a deposition was presented to the Tribunal for Espionage & High Treason, Valencia, charging the Orwells with “rabid Trotskyism“, and being agents of the POUM.[65] The trial of the leaders of the POUM and of Orwell (in his absence) took place in Barcelona in October and November 1938. Observing events from French Morocco, Orwell wrote that they were ” – only a by-product of the Russian Trotskyist trials and from the start every kind of lie, including flagrant absurdities, has been circulated in the Communist press.”[66] Orwell’s experiences in the Spanish Civil War gave rise to Homage to Catalonia (1938).

Rest and recuperation

Laurence O’Shaughnessy’s former home, the large house on the corner, 24 Crooms Hill, Greenwich, London[67]

Orwell returned to England in June 1937, and stayed at the O’Shaughnessy home at Greenwich. He found his views on the Spanish Civil War out of favour. Kingsley Martin rejected two of his works and Gollancz was equally cautious. At the same time, the communist Daily Worker was running an attack on The Road to Wigan Pier, misquoting Orwell as saying “the working classes smell”; a letter to Gollancz from Orwell threatening libel action brought a stop to this. Orwell was also able to find a more sympathetic publisher for his views in Frederic Warburg of Secker & Warburg. Orwell returned to Wallington, which he found in disarray after his absence. He acquired goats, a rooster he called “Henry Ford”, and a poodle puppy he called “Marx”[68][69][70] and settled down to animal husbandry and writing Homage to Catalonia.

There were thoughts of going to India to work on the Pioneer, a newspaper in Lucknow, but by March 1938 Orwell’s health had deteriorated. He was admitted to Preston Hall Sanatorium at Aylesford, Kent, a British Legion hospital for ex-servicemen to which his brother-in-law Laurence O’Shaughnessy was attached. He was thought initially to be suffering from tuberculosis and stayed in the sanatorium until September. A stream of visitors came to see him including Common, Heppenstall, Plowman and Cyril Connolly. Connolly brought with him Stephen Spender, a cause of some embarrassment as Orwell had referred to Spender as a “pansy friend” some time earlier. Homage to Catalonia was published by Secker & Warburg and was a commercial flop. In the latter part of his stay at the clinic Orwell was able to go for walks in the countryside and study nature.

The novelist L. H. Myers secretly funded a trip to French Morocco for half a year for Orwell to avoid the English winter and recover his health. The Orwells set out in September 1938 via Gibraltar and Tangier to avoid Spanish Morocco and arrived at Marrakech. They rented a villa on the road to Casablanca and during that time Orwell wrote Coming Up for Air. They arrived back in England on 30 March 1939 and Coming Up for Air was published in June. Orwell spent time in Wallington and Southwold working on a Dickens essay and it was in July 1939 that Orwell’s father, Richard Blair, died.

Second World War and Animal Farm

At the outbreak of the Second World War, Orwell’s wife Eileen started working in the Censorship Department of the Ministry of Information in central London, staying during the week with her family in Greenwich. Orwell also submitted his name to the Central Register for war work, but nothing transpired. “They won’t have me in the army, at any rate at present, because of my lungs”, Orwell told Geoffrey Gorer. He returned to Wallington, and in late 1939 he wrote material for his first collection of essays, Inside the Whale. For the next year he was occupied writing reviews for plays, films and books for The Listener, Time and Tide and New Adelphi. On 29 March 1940 his long association with Tribune began[71] with a review of a sergeant’s account of Napoleon‘s retreat from Moscow. At the beginning of 1940, the first edition of Connolly’s Horizon appeared, and this provided a new outlet for Orwell’s work as well as new literary contacts. In May the Orwells took lease of a flat in London at Dorset Chambers, Chagford Street, Marylebone. It was the time of the Dunkirk evacuation and the death in France of Eileen’s brother Lawrence caused her considerable grief and long-term depression. Throughout this period Orwell kept a wartime diary.

Orwell was declared “unfit for any kind of military service” by the Medical Board in June, but soon afterwards found an opportunity to become involved in war activities by joining the Home Guard. He shared Tom Wintringham‘s socialist vision for the Home Guard as a revolutionary People’s Militia. His lecture notes for instructing platoon members include advice on street fighting, field fortifications, and the use of mortars of various kinds. Sergeant Orwell managed to recruit Frederic Warburg to his unit. During the Battle of Britain he used to spend weekends with Warburg and his new Zionist friend, Tosco Fyvel, at Warburg’s house at Twyford, Berkshire. At Wallington he worked on “England Your England” and in London wrote reviews for various periodicals. Visiting Eileen’s family in Greenwich brought him face-to-face with the effects of the blitz on East London. In mid-1940, Warburg, Fyvel and Orwell planned Searchlight Books. Eleven volumes eventually appeared, of which Orwell’s The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius, published on 19 February 1941, was the first.[72]

Early in 1941 he started writing for the American Partisan Review which linked Orwell with The New York Intellectuals, like him anti-Stalinist, but committed to staying on the Left,[73] and contributed to Gollancz anthology The Betrayal of the Left, written in the light of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact (although Orwell referred to it as the Russo-German Pact and the Hitler-Stalin Pact[74]). He also applied unsuccessfully for a job at the Air Ministry. Meanwhile, he was still writing reviews of books and plays and at this time met the novelist Anthony Powell. He also took part in a few radio broadcasts for the Eastern Service of the BBC. In March the Orwells moved to a seventh-floor flat at Langford Court, St John’s Wood, while at Wallington Orwell was “digging for victory” by planting potatoes.

One could not have a better example of the moral and emotional shallowness of our time, than the fact that we are now all more or less pro Stalin. This disgusting murderer is temporarily on our side, and so the purges, etc., are suddenly forgotten.

— George Orwell, in his war-time diary, 3 July 1941[75]

In August 1941, Orwell finally obtained “war work” when he was taken on full-time by the BBC’s Eastern Service. He supervised cultural broadcasts to India to counter propaganda from Nazi Germany designed to undermine Imperial links. This was Orwell’s first experience of the rigid conformity of life in an office, and it gave him an opportunity to create cultural programmes with contributions from T. S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, E. M. Forster, Ahmed Ali, Mulk Raj Anand, and William Empson among others.

At the end of August he had a dinner with H. G. Wells which degenerated into a row because Wells had taken offence at observations Orwell made about him in a Horizon article. In October Orwell had a bout of bronchitis and the illness recurred frequently. David Astor was looking for a provocative contributor for The Observer and invited Orwell to write for him – the first article appearing in March 1942. In early 1942 Eileen changed jobs to work at the Ministry of Food and in mid-1942 the Orwells moved to a larger flat, a ground floor and basement, 10a Mortimer Crescent in Maida Vale/Kilburn – “the kind of lower-middle-class ambience that Orwell thought was London at its best.” Around the same time Orwell’s mother and sister Avril, who had found work in a sheet-metal factory behind Kings Cross Station, moved into a flat close to George and Eileen.[76]

Orwell at the BBC in 1941. Despite having spoken on many broadcasts, no recordings of Orwell’s voice are known to survive.[77][78][79]

At the BBC, Orwell introduced Voice, a literary programme for his Indian broadcasts, and by now was leading an active social life with literary friends, particularly on the political left. Late in 1942, he started writing regularly for the left-wing weekly Tribune[80]:306[81]:441 directed by Labour MPs Aneurin Bevan and George Strauss. In March 1943 Orwell’s mother died and around the same time he told Moore he was starting work on a new book, which turned out to be Animal Farm.

In September 1943, Orwell resigned from the BBC post that he had occupied for two years.[82]:352 His resignation followed a report confirming his fears that few Indians listened to the broadcasts,[83] but he was also keen to concentrate on writing Animal Farm. Just six days before his last day of service, on 24 November 1943, his adaptation of the fairy tale, Hans Christian Andersen‘s The Emperor’s New Clothes was broadcast. It was a genre in which he was greatly interested and which appeared on Animal Farms title-page.[84] At this time he also resigned from the Home Guard on medical grounds.[85]

In November 1943, Orwell was appointed literary editor at Tribune, where his assistant was his old friend Jon Kimche. Orwell was on staff until early 1945, writing over 80 book reviews[86] and on 3 December 1943 started his regular personal column, “As I Please“, usually addressing three or four subjects in each.[87] He was still writing reviews for other magazines, including Partisan Review, Horizon, and the New York Nation and becoming a respected pundit among left-wing circles but also a close friend of people on the right such as Powell, Astor and Malcolm Muggeridge. By April 1944 Animal Farm was ready for publication. Gollancz refused to publish it, considering it an attack on the Soviet regime which was a crucial ally in the war. A similar fate was met from other publishers (including T. S. Eliot at Faber and Faber) until Jonathan Cape agreed to take it.

In May the Orwells had the opportunity to adopt a child, thanks to the contacts of Eileen’s sister Gwen O’Shaughnessy, then a doctor in Newcastle upon Tyne. In June a V-1 flying bomb struck Mortimer Crescent and the Orwells had to find somewhere else to live. Orwell had to scrabble around in the rubble for his collection of books, which he had finally managed to transfer from Wallington, carting them away in a wheelbarrow.

Another bombshell was Cape’s reversal of his plan to publish Animal Farm. The decision followed his personal visit to Peter Smollett, an official at the Ministry of Information. Smollett was later identified as a Soviet agent.[88][89]

The Orwells spent some time in the North East, near Carlton, County Durham, dealing with matters in the adoption of a boy whom they named Richard Horatio Blair.[90] By September 1944 they had set up home in Islington, at 27b Canonbury Square.[91] Baby Richard joined them there, and Eileen gave up her work at the Ministry of Food to look after her family. Secker & Warburg had agreed to publish Animal Farm, planned for the following March, although it did not appear in print until August 1945. By February 1945 David Astor had invited Orwell to become a war correspondent for the Observer. Orwell had been looking for the opportunity throughout the war, but his failed medical reports prevented him from being allowed anywhere near action. He went to Paris after the liberation of France and to Cologne once it had been occupied by the Allies.

It was while he was there that Eileen went into hospital for a hysterectomy and died under anaesthetic on 29 March 1945. She had not given Orwell much notice about this operation because of worries about the cost and because she expected to make a speedy recovery. Orwell returned home for a while and then went back to Europe. He returned finally to London to cover the 1945 general election at the beginning of July. Animal Farm: A Fairy Story was published in Britain on 17 August 1945, and a year later in the US, on 26 August 1946.

Jura and Nineteen Eighty-Four

Animal Farm struck a particular resonance in the post-war climate and its worldwide success made Orwell a sought-after figure.

For the next four years Orwell mixed journalistic work – mainly for Tribune, The Observer and the Manchester Evening News, though he also contributed to many small-circulation political and literary magazines – with writing his best-known work, Nineteen Eighty-Four, which was published in 1949.

Barnhill on the Isle of Jura off the west coast of Scotland

In the year following Eileen’s death he published around 130 articles and a selection of his Critical Essays, while remaining active in various political lobbying campaigns. He employed a housekeeper, Susan Watson, to look after his adopted son at the Islington flat, which visitors now described as “bleak”. In September he spent a fortnight on the island of Jura in the Inner Hebrides and saw it as a place to escape from the hassle of London literary life. David Astor was instrumental in arranging a place for Orwell on Jura.[92] Astor’s family owned Scottish estates in the area and a fellow Old Etonian Robin Fletcher had a property on the island. In late 1945 and early 1946 Orwell made several hopeless and unwelcome marriage proposals to younger women, including Celia Kirwan (who was later to become Arthur Koestler‘s sister-in-law), Ann Popham who happened to live in the same block of flats and Sonia Brownell, one of Connolly’s coterie at the Horizon office. Orwell suffered a tubercular haemorrhage in February 1946 but disguised his illness. In 1945 or early 1946, while still living at Canonbury Square, Orwell wrote an article on “British Cookery”, complete with recipes, commissioned by the British Council. Given the post-war shortages, both parties agreed not to publish it.[93] His sister Marjorie died of kidney disease in May and shortly after, on 22 May 1946, Orwell set off to live on the Isle of Jura.

Barnhill[94] was an abandoned farmhouse with outbuildings near the northern end of the island, situated at the end of a five-mile (8 km), heavily rutted track from Ardlussa, where the owners lived. Conditions at the farmhouse were primitive but the natural history and the challenge of improving the place appealed to Orwell. His sister Avril accompanied him there and young novelist Paul Potts made up the party. In July Susan Watson arrived with Orwell’s son Richard. Tensions developed and Potts departed after one of his manuscripts was used to light the fire. Orwell meanwhile set to work on Nineteen Eighty-Four. Later Susan Watson’s boyfriend David Holbrook arrived. A fan of Orwell since school days, he found the reality very different, with Orwell hostile and disagreeable probably because of Holbrook’s membership of the Communist Party.[95] Susan Watson could no longer stand being with Avril and she and her boyfriend left.

Orwell returned to London in late 1946 and picked up his literary journalism again. Now a well-known writer, he was swamped with work. Apart from a visit to Jura in the new year he stayed in London for one of the coldest British winters on record and with such a national shortage of fuel that he burnt his furniture and his child’s toys. The heavy smog in the days before the Clean Air Act 1956 did little to help his health about which he was reticent, keeping clear of medical attention. Meanwhile, he had to cope with rival claims of publishers Gollancz and Warburg for publishing rights. About this time he co-edited a collection titled British Pamphleteers with Reginald Reynolds. As a result of the success of Animal Farm, Orwell was expecting a large bill from the Inland Revenue and he contacted a firm of accountants of which the senior partner was Jack Harrison. The firm advised Orwell to establish a company to own his copyright and to receive his royalties and set up a “service agreement” so that he could draw a salary. Such a company “George Orwell Productions Ltd” (GOP Ltd) was set up on 12 September 1947 although the service agreement was not then put into effect. Jack Harrison left the details at this stage to junior colleagues.[96]

Orwell left London for Jura on 10 April 1947.[8] In July he ended the lease on the Wallington cottage.[97] Back on Jura he worked on Nineteen Eighty-Four and made good progress. During that time his sister’s family visited, and Orwell led a disastrous boating expedition, on 19 August,[98] which nearly led to loss of life whilst trying to cross the notorious gulf of Corryvreckan and gave him a soaking which was not good for his health. In December a chest specialist was summoned from Glasgow who pronounced Orwell seriously ill and a week before Christmas 1947 he was in Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride, then a small village in the countryside, on the outskirts of Glasgow. Tuberculosis was diagnosed and the request for permission to import streptomycin to treat Orwell went as far as Aneurin Bevan, then Minister of Health. David Astor helped with supply and payment and Orwell began his course of streptomycin on 19 or 20 February 1948.[99] By the end of July 1948 Orwell was able to return to Jura and by December he had finished the manuscript of Nineteen Eighty-Four. In January 1949, in a very weak condition, he set off for a sanatorium at Cranham, Gloucestershire, escorted by Richard Rees.

The sanatorium at Cranham consisted of a series of small wooden chalets or huts in a remote part of the Cotswolds near Stroud. Visitors were shocked by Orwell’s appearance and concerned by the short-comings and ineffectiveness of the treatment. Friends were worried about his finances, but by now he was comparatively well-off. He was writing to many of his friends, including Jacintha Buddicom, who had “rediscovered” him, and in March 1949, was visited by Celia Kirwan. Kirwan had just started working for a Foreign Office unit, the Information Research Department, set up by the Labour government to publish anti-communist propaganda, and Orwell gave her a list of people he considered to be unsuitable as IRD authors because of their pro-communist leanings. Orwell’s list, not published until 2003, consisted mainly of writers but also included actors and Labour MPs.[88][100] Orwell received more streptomycin treatment and improved slightly. In June 1949 Nineteen Eighty-Four was published to immediate critical and popular acclaim.

Final months and death

University College Hospital in London where Orwell died

Orwell’s health had continued to decline since the diagnosis of tuberculosis in December 1947. In mid-1949, he courted Sonia Brownell, and they announced their engagement in September, shortly before he was removed to University College Hospital in London. Sonia took charge of Orwell’s affairs and attended him diligently in the hospital, causing concern to some old friends such as Muggeridge. In September 1949, Orwell invited his accountant Harrison to visit him in hospital, and Harrison claimed that Orwell then asked him to become director of GOP Ltd and to manage the company, but there was no independent witness.[96] Orwell’s wedding took place in the hospital room on 13 October 1949, with David Astor as best man.[101] Orwell was in decline and visited by an assortment of visitors including Muggeridge, Connolly, Lucian Freud, Stephen Spender, Evelyn Waugh, Paul Potts, Anthony Powell, and his Eton tutor Anthony Gow.[8] Plans to go to the Swiss Alps were mooted. Further meetings were held with his accountant, at which Harrison and Mr and Mrs Blair were confirmed as directors of the company, and at which Harrison claimed that the “service agreement” was executed, giving copyright to the company.[96] Orwell’s health was in decline again by Christmas. On the evening of 20 January 1950, Potts visited Orwell and slipped away on finding him asleep. Jack Harrison visited later and claimed that Orwell gave him 25% of the company.[96] Early on the morning of 21 January, an artery burst in Orwell’s lungs, killing him at age 46.[102]

Orwell had requested to be buried in accordance with the Anglican rite in the graveyard of the closest church to wherever he happened to die. The graveyards in central London had no space, and fearing that he might have to be cremated against his wishes, his widow appealed to his friends to see whether any of them knew of a church with space in its graveyard.

George Orwell’s grave in Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire

David Astor lived in Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire, and arranged for Orwell to be interred in All Saints’ Churchyard there.[103] Orwell’s gravestone bears the simple epitaph: “Here lies Eric Arthur Blair, born June 25th 1903, died January 21st 1950”; no mention is made on the gravestone of his more famous pen name.

Orwell’s son, Richard Horatio Blair, was brought up by Orwell’s sister Avril. He maintains a public profile as patron of the Orwell Society.[104] He gives interviews about the few memories he has of his father.

In 1979, Sonia Brownell brought a High Court action against Harrison, who had in the meantime transferred 75% of the company’s voting stock to himself and had dissipated much of the value of the company. She was considered to have a strong case, but was becoming increasingly ill and eventually was persuaded to settle out of court on 2 November 1980. She died on 11 December 1980, aged 62.[96]

Literary career and legacy

During most of his career, Orwell was best known for his journalism, in essays, reviews, columns in newspapers and magazines and in his books of reportage: Down and Out in Paris and London (describing a period of poverty in these cities), The Road to Wigan Pier (describing the living conditions of the poor in northern England, and class division generally) and Homage to Catalonia. According to Irving Howe, Orwell was “the best English essayist since Hazlitt, perhaps since Dr Johnson.”[105]

Modern readers are more often introduced to Orwell as a novelist, particularly through his enormously successful titles Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. The former is often thought to reflect degeneration in the Soviet Union after the Russian Revolution and the rise of Stalinism; the latter, life under totalitarian rule. Nineteen Eighty-Four is often compared to Brave New World by Aldous Huxley; both are powerful dystopian novels warning of a future world where the state machine exerts complete control over social life. In 1984, Nineteen Eighty-Four and Ray Bradbury‘s Fahrenheit 451 were honoured with the Prometheus Award for their contributions to dystopian literature. In 2011 he received it again for Animal Farm.

Coming Up for Air, his last novel before World War II is the most “English” of his novels; alarms of war mingle with images of idyllic Thames-side Edwardian childhood of protagonist George Bowling. The novel is pessimistic; industrialism and capitalism have killed the best of Old England, and there were great, new external threats. In homely terms, Bowling posits the totalitarian hypotheses of Borkenau, Orwell, Silone and Koestler: “Old Hitler’s something different. So’s Joe Stalin. They aren’t like these chaps in the old days who crucified people and chopped their heads off and so forth, just for the fun of it … They’re something quite new – something that’s never been heard of before”.

Literary influences

In an autobiographical piece that Orwell sent to the editors of Twentieth Century Authors in 1940, he wrote: “The writers I care about most and never grow tired of are: Shakespeare, Swift, Fielding, Dickens, Charles Reade, Flaubert and, among modern writers, James Joyce, T. S. Eliot and D. H. Lawrence. But I believe the modern writer who has influenced me most is W. Somerset Maugham, whom I admire immensely for his power of telling a story straightforwardly and without frills.” Elsewhere, Orwell strongly praised the works of Jack London, especially his book The Road. Orwell’s investigation of poverty in The Road to Wigan Pier strongly resembles that of Jack London’s The People of the Abyss, in which the American journalist disguises himself as an out-of-work sailor to investigate the lives of the poor in London. In his essay “Politics vs. Literature: An Examination of Gulliver’s Travels” (1946) Orwell wrote: “If I had to make a list of six books which were to be preserved when all others were destroyed, I would certainly put Gulliver’s Travels among them.”

Other writers admired by Orwell included: Ralph Waldo Emerson, George Gissing, Graham Greene, Herman Melville, Henry Miller, Tobias Smollett, Mark Twain, Joseph Conrad and Yevgeny Zamyatin.[106] He was both an admirer and a critic of Rudyard Kipling,[107][108] praising Kipling as a gifted writer and a “good bad poet” whose work is “spurious” and “morally insensitive and aesthetically disgusting,” but undeniably seductive and able to speak to certain aspects of reality more effectively than more enlightened authors.[109] He had a similarly ambivalent attitude to G. K. Chesterton, whom he regarded as a writer of considerable talent who had chosen to devote himself to “Roman Catholic propaganda”.[110]

Orwell as literary critic

Throughout his life Orwell continually supported himself as a book reviewer, writing works so long and sophisticated they have had an influence on literary criticism. He wrote in the conclusion to his 1940 essay on Charles Dickens,

When one reads any strongly individual piece of writing, one has the impression of seeing a face somewhere behind the page. It is not necessarily the actual face of the writer. I feel this very strongly with Swift, with Defoe, with Fielding, Stendhal, Thackeray, Flaubert, though in several cases I do not know what these people looked like and do not want to know. What one sees is the face that the writer ought to have. Well, in the case of Dickens I see a face that is not quite the face of Dickens’s photographs, though it resembles it. It is the face of a man of about forty, with a small beard and a high colour. He is laughing, with a touch of anger in his laughter, but no triumph, no malignity. It is the face of a man who is always fighting against something, but who fights in the open and is not frightened, the face of a man who is generously angry – in other words, of a nineteenth-century liberal, a free intelligence, a type hated with equal hatred by all the smelly little orthodoxies which are now contending for our souls.

George Woodcock suggested that the last two sentences characterised Orwell as much as his subject.[111]

Orwell wrote a critique of George Bernard Shaw‘s play Arms and the Man. He considered this Shaw’s best play and the most likely to remain socially relevant, because of its theme that war is not, generally speaking, a glorious romantic adventure. His 1945 essay In Defense of P.G. Wodehouse contains an amusing assessment of his writing and also argues that his broadcasts from Germany (during the war) did not really make him a traitor. He accused The Ministry of Information of exaggerating Wodehouse’s actions for propaganda purposes.

Reception and evaluations of Orwell’s works

Arthur Koestler mentioned Orwell’s “uncompromising intellectual honesty [which] made him appear almost inhuman at times.”[112] Ben Wattenberg stated: “Orwell’s writing pierced intellectual hypocrisy wherever he found it.”[113] According to historian Piers Brendon, “Orwell was the saint of common decency who would in earlier days, said his BBC boss Rushbrook Williams, ‘have been either canonised – or burnt at the stake'”.[114] Raymond Williams in Politics and Letters: Interviews with New Left Review describes Orwell as a “successful impersonation of a plain man who bumps into experience in an unmediated way and tells the truth about it.”[115] Christopher Norris declared that Orwell’s “homespun empiricist outlook – his assumption that the truth was just there to be told in a straightforward common-sense way – now seems not merely naïve but culpably self-deluding”.[116] The American scholar Scott Lucas has described Orwell[117] as an enemy of the Left. John Newsinger has argued[118] that Lucas could only do this by portraying “all of Orwell’s attacks on Stalinism [-] as if they were attacks on socialism, despite Orwell’s continued insistence that they were not.”

Orwell’s work has taken a prominent place in the school literature curriculum in England,[119] with Animal Farm a regular examination topic at the end of secondary education (GCSE), and Nineteen Eighty-Four a topic for subsequent examinations below university level (A Levels). Alan Brown noted that this brings to the forefront questions about the political content of teaching practices. Study aids, in particular with potted biographies, might be seen to help propagate the Orwell myth so that as an embodiment of human values he is presented as a “trustworthy guide”, while examination questions sometimes suggest a “right ways of answering” in line with the myth.[120][clarification needed]

Historian John Rodden stated: “John Podhoretz did claim that if Orwell were alive today, he’d be standing with the neo-conservatives and against the Left. And the question arises, to what extent can you even begin to predict the political positions of somebody who’s been dead three decades and more by that time?”[113]

In Orwell’s Victory, Christopher Hitchens argues, “In answer to the accusation of inconsistency Orwell as a writer was forever taking his own temperature. In other words, here was someone who never stopped testing and adjusting his intelligence”.[121]

John Rodden points out the “undeniable conservative features in the Orwell physiognomy” and remarks on how “to some extent Orwell facilitated the kinds of uses and abuses by the Right that his name has been put to. In other ways there has been the politics of selective quotation.”[113] Rodden refers to the essay “Why I Write“, in which Orwell refers to the Spanish Civil War as being his “watershed political experience”, saying “The Spanish War and other events in 1936–37, turned the scale. Thereafter I knew where I stood. Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written directly or indirectly against totalitarianism and for Democratic Socialism as I understand it.” (emphasis in original)[113] Rodden goes on to explain how, during the McCarthy era, the introduction to the Signet edition of Animal Farm, which sold more than 20 million copies, makes use of “the politics of ellipsis”:

If the book itself, Animal Farm, had left any doubt of the matter, Orwell dispelled it in his essay Why I Write: ‘Every line of serious work that I’ve written since 1936 has been written directly or indirectly against Totalitarianism … dot, dot, dot, dot.’ “For Democratic Socialism” is vaporised, just like Winston Smith did it at the Ministry of Truth, and that’s very much what happened at the beginning of the McCarthy era and just continued, Orwell being selectively quoted.[113]

Fyvel wrote about Orwell: “His crucial experience … was his struggle to turn himself into a writer, one which led through long periods of poverty, failure and humiliation, and about which he has written almost nothing directly. The sweat and agony was less in the slum-life than in the effort to turn the experience into literature.”[122][123]

In October 2015 Finlay Publisher, for the Orwell Society, published George Orwell ‘The Complete Poetry’, compiled and presented by Dione Venables.[124]

Influence on language and writing

In his essay “Politics and the English Language” (1946), Orwell wrote about the importance of precise and clear language, arguing that vague writing can be used as a powerful tool of political manipulation because it shapes the way we think. In that essay, Orwell provides six rules for writers:

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.[125]

Andrew N. Rubin argues, “Orwell claimed that we should be attentive to how the use of language has limited our capacity for critical thought just as we should be equally concerned with the ways in which dominant modes of thinking have reshaped the very language that we use.”[126]

The adjective Orwellian connotes an attitude and a policy of control by propaganda, surveillance, misinformation, denial of truth, and manipulation of the past. In Nineteen Eighty-Four Orwell described a totalitarian government that controlled thought by controlling language, making certain ideas literally unthinkable. Several words and phrases from Nineteen Eighty-Four have entered popular language. Newspeak is a simplified and obfuscatory language designed to make independent thought impossible. Doublethink means holding two contradictory beliefs simultaneously. The Thought Police are those who suppress all dissenting opinion. Prolefeed is homogenised, manufactured superficial literature, film and music, used to control and indoctrinate the populace through docility. Big Brother is a supreme dictator who watches everyone.

Orwell may have been the first to use the term cold war to refer to the state of tension between powers in the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc that followed the Second World War, in his essay, “You and the Atom Bomb”, published in Tribune, 19 October 1945. He wrote:

We may be heading not for general breakdown but for an epoch as horribly stable as the slave empires of antiquity. James Burnham‘s theory has been much discussed, but few people have yet considered its ideological implications – this is, the kind of world-view, the kind of beliefs, and the social structure that would probably prevail in a State which was at once unconquerable and in a permanent state of ‘cold war’ with its neighbours.[127]


In 2014 it was announced that Orwell’s birthplace, a bungalow in Motihari, Bihar, in India would become the world’s first Orwell museum.[10][128]

Modern Culture

In 2014 a play written by playwright Joe Sutton titled Orwell in America was first performed. It is a fictitious account of Orwell doing a book tour in America (something he never did in his lifetime). It moved to Off-Broadway in 2016.[129]

Personal life


Jacintha Buddicom‘s account Eric & Us provides an insight into Blair’s childhood.[130] She quoted his sister Avril that “he was essentially an aloof, undemonstrative person” and said herself of his friendship with the Buddicoms: “I do not think he needed any other friends beyond the schoolfriend he occasionally and appreciatively referred to as ‘CC'”. She could not recall his having schoolfriends to stay and exchange visits as her brother Prosper often did in holidays.[131] Cyril Connolly provides an account of Blair as a child in Enemies of Promise.[23] Years later, Blair mordantly recalled his prep school in the essay “Such, Such Were the Joys“, claiming among other things that he “was made to study like a dog” to earn a scholarship, which he alleged was solely to enhance the school’s prestige with parents. Jacintha Buddicom repudiated Orwell’s schoolboy misery described in the essay, stating that “he was a specially happy child”. She noted that he did not like his name, because it reminded him of a book he greatly disliked – Eric, or, Little by Little, a Victorian boys’ school story.[132]

Connolly remarked of him as a schoolboy, “The remarkable thing about Orwell was that alone among the boys he was an intellectual and not a parrot for he thought for himself”.[23] At Eton, John Vaughan Wilkes, his former headmaster’s son recalled, “… he was extremely argumentative – about anything – and criticising the masters and criticising the other boys … We enjoyed arguing with him. He would generally win the arguments – or think he had anyhow.”[133] Roger Mynors concurs: “Endless arguments about all sorts of things, in which he was one of the great leaders. He was one of those boys who thought for himself …”[134]

Blair liked to carry out practical jokes. Buddicom recalls him swinging from the luggage rack in a railway carriage like an orangutan to frighten a woman passenger out of the compartment.[14] At Eton he played tricks on John Crace, his Master in College, among which was to enter a spoof advertisement in a College magazine implying pederasty.[135] Gow, his tutor, said he “made himself as big a nuisance as he could” and “was a very unattractive boy”.[136] Later Blair was expelled from the crammer at Southwold for sending a dead rat as a birthday present to the town surveyor.[137] In one of his As I Please essays he refers to a protracted joke when he answered an advertisement for a woman who claimed a cure for obesity.[138]

Blair had an interest in natural history which stemmed from his childhood. In letters from school he wrote about caterpillars and butterflies,[139] and Buddicom recalls his keen interest in ornithology. He also enjoyed fishing and shooting rabbits, and conducting experiments as in cooking a hedgehog[14] or shooting down a jackdaw from the Eton roof to dissect it.<