Walter Williams, RIP
Walter Williams, the free market economist and iconoclast, died in December at the age of 84. The author of 13 books, Williams was best known for 1982’s The State Against Blacks, which documented how government interference in the market has been especially harmful to African Americans.
Born in 1936, Williams grew up in the Richard Allen Homes, one of Philadelphia’s first housing projects. When he was a small child, his father left his family. He was brought up by his mother, a high school dropout, and the family spent time on welfare. Williams would later draw a distinction between material poverty and what he called “poverty of the spirit.”
He worked as a taxi driver in the City of Brotherly Love and was drafted into the peacetime Army. After his military service, Williams studied economics at California State College and then went to UCLA for graduate school, where he was exposed to the ideas of Milton Friedman, James Buchanan, and his own department chair, Armen Alchian. In 1977, Williams started writing a weekly column, which was eventually syndicated in 140 newspapers. He was also a Reason contributor and trustee emeritus on the board of Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes this magazine.
For all his individual accomplishments, Williams was especially proud of his role in making George Mason University’s economics department a home for free market radicals. “GMU Econ has lost an iconic and heroic figure,” wrote Peter Boettke, dir
Article from Latest – Reason.com