Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Milton Friedman's Brazil Moment: Band of Disciples Takes Charge

  • Guedes’s team hopes to cut taxes, privatize and open trade
  • Liberal economists’ empowerment follow decades on sidelines
Nobel Prize winning economist, Milton Friedman.

Nobel Prize winning economist, Milton Friedman.

Photographer: Jon Freilich

Paulo Guedes, the man tasked with fixing Brazil’s economy, likes to remind everyone that he’s a University of Chicago man. In interviews, he gushes at every opportunity about his days studying there under Milton Friedman. “Nobody had better training than me,” he proclaimed earlier this year.

And if the message weren’t clear enough, Brazil’s incoming economy minister is now proceeding to hand out one key post in his team after another to fellow Chicago grads: Joaquim Levy to run one state-run bank, Rubem Novaes to head another and Roberto Castello Branco to manage oil giant Petrobras. Two more alums, he said, will be made special envoys to key trading partners.