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The leaders were won over by Mr Friedman's idea that the supply of money was the key factor in determining economic growth and the rate of inflation.
Lady Thatcher paid tribute to Mr Friedman, calling him "an intellectual freedom fighter".
"He revived the economics of liberty, when it had been all but forgotten," she said.
"Never was there a less dismal practitioner of the dismal science. I shall greatly miss my old friend's lucid wisdom and mordant humour."