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Free to Choose: A Personal Statement

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The international bestseller on the extent to which personal freedom has been eroded by government regulations and agencies while personal prosperity has been undermined by government spending and economic controls. New Foreword by the Authors; Index.


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The international bestseller on the extent to which personal freedom has been eroded by government regulations and agencies while personal prosperity has been undermined by government spending and economic controls. New Foreword by the Authors; Index.

30 review for Free to Choose: A Personal Statement

  1. 5 out of 5

    David Dort

    Written in 1979, one of the libertarian economist(s) Friedmans' most accessible works, the clear-written and thought-provoking work does not require the reader to agree with Mr. Friedman's assertions to enjoy it. Rather, it requires the reader to ferociously wrack their brain for a counter argument or alternative solution to their assertions that governmental controls over economic freedoms (by regulation, price and wage controls, nationalization of industries, printing money, adding programs, b Written in 1979, one of the libertarian economist(s) Friedmans' most accessible works, the clear-written and thought-provoking work does not require the reader to agree with Mr. Friedman's assertions to enjoy it. Rather, it requires the reader to ferociously wrack their brain for a counter argument or alternative solution to their assertions that governmental controls over economic freedoms (by regulation, price and wage controls, nationalization of industries, printing money, adding programs, bowing to special interests, etc). simply never accomplishes what it sets out to do. In the end, sometimes I found myself thinking, "yes, Mr. Friedman, but we simply couldn't do that in 2011. Either it's not going to work resulting in too much human suffering and/or there's no political will." To which, I find myself asking the more disturbing question: why not? if both left and right agree that more economic freedoms are good, then why isn't it a possibility in this age to give the people those freedoms?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    I really enjoyed this book, and it confirmed some of my fears that I am really a libertarian at heart. The basic premise is that people should be free to make their own choices whenever possible, and that government's role is to protect us from each other, and not to protect us from ourselves. The Friedmans argue from a pragmatic standpoint more than from a philosophical standpoint. Generally, government does a poor job with what it touches. We have this idea in our head that government is a sort I really enjoyed this book, and it confirmed some of my fears that I am really a libertarian at heart. The basic premise is that people should be free to make their own choices whenever possible, and that government's role is to protect us from each other, and not to protect us from ourselves. The Friedmans argue from a pragmatic standpoint more than from a philosophical standpoint. Generally, government does a poor job with what it touches. We have this idea in our head that government is a sort of nanny, necessary to protect us from the bad decisions that we might make. The Friedmans argue that not only does the market perform this function already, but that the government does a poor job at it. Because government "protection agencies" are all brakes and no gas, they often create terrible inefficiencies. One of the examples that I found compelling was of the Food and Drug Administration. It takes over a year to get most drugs approved. In that time, there are many people who die of the diseases that those drugs cure, but who are unable to take them. For some of these people, the risk of side effects is worth it, and they would be happy to take their chances. In a market system, people would be allowed to take those chances. In some cases, many times more people die of curable diseases than side effects could ever hurt or kill. Because the FDA will never get in trouble for examining a drug "too thoroughly", but will make headlines if a drug that they approve has dangerous side effects, they err heavily on the side of not approving drugs. As long as government made sure that information about the drugs flowed freely, and wasn't censored by the drug companies, people would soon find out about side effects and effectiveness, without the FDA. There are a number of examples like this, where markets do a fine job of conveying information, and government agencies provide unneeded inefficiencies.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    Wow! It took me a month to read this book!!! I suppose it does take longer to read a book for learning and (not) enjoyment reasons. Funny thing is, I actually enjoyed reading this book too! There are even occasional bits of humor that sneak up on you. (This is illustrated by a reference to Cognac during an explanation on historical forms of currency). Literally, every page of this book had a quote you’d want to slap on Facebook. It was that good. There were things I’d thought about for a long ti Wow! It took me a month to read this book!!! I suppose it does take longer to read a book for learning and (not) enjoyment reasons. Funny thing is, I actually enjoyed reading this book too! There are even occasional bits of humor that sneak up on you. (This is illustrated by a reference to Cognac during an explanation on historical forms of currency). Literally, every page of this book had a quote you’d want to slap on Facebook. It was that good. There were things I’d thought about for a long time yet could never put the pieces together. The authors weave it together effortlessly and in a way that made me understand. I learned a lot that served to change my perspective on politicians. Instead of being willing participants in schemes designed to wreck our freedoms, they are nothing more than cogs in an unstoppable machine, the power to which was turned on a century ago.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alvaro Berrios

    Although this book was written in 1979, it is still one of the best books anyone can read and the information is still completely relevant to what is going on today in our country. If you hate big government you will love it as it will support many of your beliefs. If you love big government you should read it regardless because many of your pre-held ideas can be dispelled as what is often blamed on the free market is, in reality, the fault of misleading big government policies. The inefficiencie Although this book was written in 1979, it is still one of the best books anyone can read and the information is still completely relevant to what is going on today in our country. If you hate big government you will love it as it will support many of your beliefs. If you love big government you should read it regardless because many of your pre-held ideas can be dispelled as what is often blamed on the free market is, in reality, the fault of misleading big government policies. The inefficiencies of government are endless, and this book does a great job at portraying this. The majority of policies that aim to help the poor, for example, actually end up harming them. This book is extremely eye opening and you can learn more from this book than you can in an college or graduate school course.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    A bit dry but an absolute necessity for understanding Libertarian thought and recommendations. A little out of date as well, though a lot of the concepts have been either been seriously considered on a national level or are still being discussed today. While I don't agree with everything the Friedman's posit, I do understand how their belief in the market model leads them to believe in the power of the "rational" individual (if such a thing exists) over the ever growing behemoth that is the nati A bit dry but an absolute necessity for understanding Libertarian thought and recommendations. A little out of date as well, though a lot of the concepts have been either been seriously considered on a national level or are still being discussed today. While I don't agree with everything the Friedman's posit, I do understand how their belief in the market model leads them to believe in the power of the "rational" individual (if such a thing exists) over the ever growing behemoth that is the national government. I would definitely recommend this for anyone as the arguments are clearly, lucidly laid out for you to agree or disagree with.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Peterson

    Very good book, but not great. Excellent companion to the TV series of the same name that exposed Milton and free market ideas (mostly) to many, many people. I read this shortly after the TV series came out in 1980. Read Ludwig von Mises or Murray Rothbard to compare and contrast the Chicagoan/monetarist/positivist Friedman vs. the Austrian/more consistently free market ideas.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    This book was assigned for Capitalism, Democracy, Socialism taught at Loyola University Chicago during the first semester of 1981/82 by David Schweickart. It infuriated me at the time, appearing to be an intellectually dishonest apologetic for the existing class divisions in the United States. I was more impressed by the author during a subsequent reading of his Capitalism and Freedom.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Really a good book, which gives the insight of economy, free market, trade unions, education, bureaucracy, policies etc., Also gives us the idea why we require above subjects into consideration.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Clinton

    Free to Choose posits the efficacy of subduing government intervention in a free enterprise market economy by rendering theoretical remedies that would alleviate government failures through more competition and personal freedom; ultimately, it would eliminate gratuitous taxes. Freidman addresses some of the most problematic issues facing our nation that are unfortunately still prevalent today such as inflation, bad school systems, Social Security, economic equity, and consumer and worker protecti Free to Choose posits the efficacy of subduing government intervention in a free enterprise market economy by rendering theoretical remedies that would alleviate government failures through more competition and personal freedom; ultimately, it would eliminate gratuitous taxes. Freidman addresses some of the most problematic issues facing our nation that are unfortunately still prevalent today such as inflation, bad school systems, Social Security, economic equity, and consumer and worker protection. Even though Social Security has good intentions, it is increasingly becoming inefficient and outdated in current law, which will commit our government to insolvency for posterity. Freidman argues that government regulations thwart actual consumer protection; rather it regulates between competing industries where one industry has an advantage over another. Of the majority, public school systems are an utter failure, and with increasing preponderance of the government, monopolistic tendencies will continue to rise in public schooling where the curriculum is decisively decided by school boards, and the choice of school is non-competitive and thus decreasing the quality. If all levels of schooling are to be fixed, the proposal of school vouchers definitely has merits. Inflation isn’t created by businessmen, consumers, unions, or weather; it is created by a zealous government with big printing presses inflating the money supply and outgrowing the quantity of goods and services. Inflation is a disease that needs to be cured, and it starts with the government. Throughout the book, Freidman formulates economics into a wildly intriguing subject because he integrates how life would improve with more personal freedom and choice. The evidence of less government interference in the economy is provided with countless material supported by a plethora of examples. Augmenting personal freedom and competition is ideal, but unfettered capitalism is precarious and pernicious. Minimal governmental intervention is necessary through laws and regulations and some social beneficial programs; however, too many laws and regulations stranglehold any type of innovation and investment and thwart competition. Overall, the book really changed my view on how an efficient market economy can be constructive but not by a destructive means.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    While some of his arguments could be stronger, this book is important because there aren't enough books that make those arguments—that free markets and capitalism have value. Many people look at equality and fairness as one of two things: as an outcome, or as a process. Both equality of outcome and equality of process cannot be simultaneously achieved. That is an unrealizable and utopian vision. Equality of outcome and equality of process are in fact mutually exclusive—something few people reali While some of his arguments could be stronger, this book is important because there aren't enough books that make those arguments—that free markets and capitalism have value. Many people look at equality and fairness as one of two things: as an outcome, or as a process. Both equality of outcome and equality of process cannot be simultaneously achieved. That is an unrealizable and utopian vision. Equality of outcome and equality of process are in fact mutually exclusive—something few people realize. To achieve an equal outcome one must intervene and impose a limitation on the few that succeed to run a business, and to profit from it. A limitation on process. A limitation on freedom. At the same time, equality of process guarantees that equality of outcome cannot be realized—some will always be more successful than others in a free market. I think that this simple idea is important to recognize. For this, I have tremendous respect for Milton Friedman and his work. Milton favors equality of process over equality of outcome for society, and he lays out his reasoning for this. Equality of process is (as much as it can be realized) what we call free market capitalism—a system of economics that emphasizes the freedom to own and operate a business over an equal distribution of wealth. Whether you agree with him or not, I think that he makes a logical presentation, though more substantive evidence of his ideas would have been welcome. I think that this is an important book to read. I don't think that you can argue about free market capitalism until you've read it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    David

    Even though I am not completely convinced that Mr. Friedman is correct in all of his assertions, I must give this book four stars as work of literature. First the positives: Milton Friedman once again proves his skill with words and logic in this brilliantly articulated book. It is hard to read through his arguments and not become all but convinced that he is correct in almost every subject. He carefully lays out the often unforeseen chains of events that follow from particular actions of individ Even though I am not completely convinced that Mr. Friedman is correct in all of his assertions, I must give this book four stars as work of literature. First the positives: Milton Friedman once again proves his skill with words and logic in this brilliantly articulated book. It is hard to read through his arguments and not become all but convinced that he is correct in almost every subject. He carefully lays out the often unforeseen chains of events that follow from particular actions of individuals, entities, and government in a manner that is clear and easy to follow. Unfortunately, Mr. Friedman makes very little attempt to prove his points with hard data. Even when he does, it often lacks context and delves more into anecdotal examples rather than statistically significant correlations or the like. While this works just fine in certain cases, in others it leaves much to be desired and weakens his arguments. Overall, a very enjoyable read that has influenced my thinking in a number of ways as I continue to search for the truth in economics and politics. Even if hard data is not presented and thus the possibility of his being incorrect is strong, I believe it is important for anyone interested in modern economics and political policy to be familiar with his arguments and I would recommend this book to anyone, if only for that reason.

  12. 5 out of 5

    James

    I bought this book back in the "good old days" when you could purchase a hardcover book for less than ten dollars. Due to the inflationary policies that Milton Friedman warns about, and that he provides a cure for, a comparable book today carries a price tag more than double the price of the book I purchased. It was a good investment. In the book, Milton Friedman and his wife discuss the principles of the Free Market. It is this discussion, based on the foundation laid earlier in Capitalism and I bought this book back in the "good old days" when you could purchase a hardcover book for less than ten dollars. Due to the inflationary policies that Milton Friedman warns about, and that he provides a cure for, a comparable book today carries a price tag more than double the price of the book I purchased. It was a good investment. In the book, Milton Friedman and his wife discuss the principles of the Free Market. It is this discussion, based on the foundation laid earlier in Capitalism and Freedom, that underscores the tyranny of unlimited government. They discuss lessons that we have not learned and taken to heart, for if we had done so we would not be facing the debt crisis of the Twenty-first century. I would only question the author's optimism. He titled the last chapter "The Tide is Turning" and it may have done so, if only slightly, in some Western European countries. But the level of economic control and bureaucratic bullying has only grown worse in the United States over the last thirty years. Fortunately, the principles discussed in Free to Choose are timeless and we can turn or return to them at any time. We only have to choose freedom.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jey

    It can be disconcerting to find that you have finished a book but can't really explain what it was about much. That is how I feel about Free to Choose. Yes, this is an economics book, so I can say that it is about economics. I can tell you that the main point here seemed to be that the free market is good, but America is (was, it was written in 1980) at a turning point and will soon have to make a decision about which economic policy it should adopt. I actually read the whole book, cover to cove It can be disconcerting to find that you have finished a book but can't really explain what it was about much. That is how I feel about Free to Choose. Yes, this is an economics book, so I can say that it is about economics. I can tell you that the main point here seemed to be that the free market is good, but America is (was, it was written in 1980) at a turning point and will soon have to make a decision about which economic policy it should adopt. I actually read the whole book, cover to cover, I took notes, made an index, I wrote in the margins and asked questions. And yet I find that I am not really clear about what was presented here. This book reminded me of Tocqueville's Democracy in America in the way that it seemed to cover just about every topic you can name. Unlike Tocqueville, however, I didn't get what was said about these topics in relation to economics. I guess this is what mentors are for, huh?

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alex Timberman

    I love the way Milton Friedman argues. He stakes his position and charmingly disposes of opposing views. You can get a sense of his intellect and charm by watching some of his debates on YouTube. This book goes over several issues like welfare, minimum wage, and education where he prescribes the correct policy based on free-market fundamentals – hence the title of the book “Free to Choose.” Some of the issues seem outdated and I would not be surprised to know that even many main stream economist I love the way Milton Friedman argues. He stakes his position and charmingly disposes of opposing views. You can get a sense of his intellect and charm by watching some of his debates on YouTube. This book goes over several issues like welfare, minimum wage, and education where he prescribes the correct policy based on free-market fundamentals – hence the title of the book “Free to Choose.” Some of the issues seem outdated and I would not be surprised to know that even many main stream economists may disagree with him now and that if he were alive, possibly he would even change some of his views – considering the global financial crisis and the following turn of events. The world is a much different place now than from the time he wrote the book but in many ways we are still fighting over the same issues without any progress. Because of the book’s date, I will only give it 4 stars.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Davidmcdonnell

    Common sense. This book makes a clear, rational case for the free market. Friedman dedicates a chapter to each of the major issues facing our country, including education, energy, taxes, and the environmental movement (the book was written in 1979 but the arguments on both sides of the issues still resonate today). Similar to Thomas Sowell, Ayn Rand, or Thomas Dilorenzo, Friedman champions the individual over the group, arguing that when people have the opportunity to choose for themselves, soci Common sense. This book makes a clear, rational case for the free market. Friedman dedicates a chapter to each of the major issues facing our country, including education, energy, taxes, and the environmental movement (the book was written in 1979 but the arguments on both sides of the issues still resonate today). Similar to Thomas Sowell, Ayn Rand, or Thomas Dilorenzo, Friedman champions the individual over the group, arguing that when people have the opportunity to choose for themselves, society benefits. This book helps to define the issue from both sides, uses ample historic and international supporting examples, identifies where government is clearly overstepping and hurting both the individual and society, and provides actionable solutions to the major challenges. I highly recommend this book to anyone, including those who have read it before.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lucía Vijil Saybe

    El nobel de economìa del 76, deja al descubierto que los mercados competitivos generan mayore desarrollo y crecimiento de la economìa de un paìs sin la intervenciòn del estado. Los chicago boys, generaron a travès de los tiempos las medidas fiscales y en algùn momento las monetarias màs rìgidas sobrepasando la dignidad del ser humano, el caso de la dictadura de Pinochet con recomendaciones de los chicago mejorò su economìa pero a costa de quiènes y por què. Llama la atenciòn, el constante llamad El nobel de economìa del 76, deja al descubierto que los mercados competitivos generan mayore desarrollo y crecimiento de la economìa de un paìs sin la intervenciòn del estado. Los chicago boys, generaron a travès de los tiempos las medidas fiscales y en algùn momento las monetarias màs rìgidas sobrepasando la dignidad del ser humano, el caso de la dictadura de Pinochet con recomendaciones de los chicago mejorò su economìa pero a costa de quiènes y por què. Llama la atenciòn, el constante llamado a la cooperaciòn voluntaria entre los paìses pero aùn los monetaristas generaron las medidas màs individualistas y de mercado que absorben a un paìs en las èlites econòmicas bajo un seudònimo de "nosotros salvamos las economìas de los subdesarrollados". Interesante el libro, siendo la obra por excelencia de Friedman.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tom Stamper

    This is such a seminal work on free market economics that you will be surprised to hear examples and stories that you already know in other literature. Friedman's example of how many strangers it takes to make a pencil and how no one person can make it on his own is a classic. His proposal of the negative income tax is also the basis of much later study and theory. If the only thing you took from this book is the government's role in inflation it would be worth your time too. If you had to put a This is such a seminal work on free market economics that you will be surprised to hear examples and stories that you already know in other literature. Friedman's example of how many strangers it takes to make a pencil and how no one person can make it on his own is a classic. His proposal of the negative income tax is also the basis of much later study and theory. If the only thing you took from this book is the government's role in inflation it would be worth your time too. If you had to put a book collection together of a half dozen of the most important economic thinkers it would not be complete without a title from Milton Friedman.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Emily O.

    This book taught me quite a bit about economics and how the free market is capable of "working things out" better than any other system. There were some things I disagreed with, but for the most part, I agreed with this book and enjoyed reading it. It was eye-opening, the explanations were comprehensive, and the data was sufficient to convince me. This book embraces the values of freedom and the right to pursue our own destiny that America holds so dear, all the while showing that those values f This book taught me quite a bit about economics and how the free market is capable of "working things out" better than any other system. There were some things I disagreed with, but for the most part, I agreed with this book and enjoyed reading it. It was eye-opening, the explanations were comprehensive, and the data was sufficient to convince me. This book embraces the values of freedom and the right to pursue our own destiny that America holds so dear, all the while showing that those values form the basis of societal economic prosperity.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jasonlylescampbell

    So far really getting a lot out of this book. It is very clear and opens up a lot of arguments I have not read. For example, I thought the images of the government as umpire vs. parent on page 5 was a good debate. I would lean toward umpire, but have to think that the deregulation and problems in the financial industries, drug industries and for profit schools and prisons are an example where the umpire is failing to call foul. Then in chapter one we jump into the concept of central command/comm So far really getting a lot out of this book. It is very clear and opens up a lot of arguments I have not read. For example, I thought the images of the government as umpire vs. parent on page 5 was a good debate. I would lean toward umpire, but have to think that the deregulation and problems in the financial industries, drug industries and for profit schools and prisons are an example where the umpire is failing to call foul. Then in chapter one we jump into the concept of central command/command principle vs. voluntary cooperation. Again, he makes excellent points about how important and better the voluntary cooperation is over the command principle. He says that "no society that has ever achieved prosperity and freedom unless voluntary exchange has not been the dominant principle of organization." This makes sense to me and, indeed, with the simple explanation of Russia's command principle you can see how obvious this seems. But my question is that if there is a greater and greater gulf between the rich and poor; between the very rich and everyone else (if it is true that some 40 families have 75% of the wealth in the world) it is hard to see that we are not swimming back toward something like central command. From there is goes into the incredible complexity that goes into the making of one regular pencil. I must admit this is one question I have when thinking about Schummaker's book Small Is Beautiful, yes there is much greater satisfaction for the worker if they can make an entire product (all parts, start to finish), but there are a great many things that would never be made at all if this was the case. From there his conversation about the role of prices and how quickly and efficiently it transfer information. I am in chapter 2 now about tarrifs, subsidies and free trade. This seems to make sense and ultimately goes back to his earlier chapter on whether Central Command or Voluntary Exchange is a better system of management. I think my main concern/question that keeps arising is what to do about cheap labor in third world countries. It seems that if this entire system went away and everyone decided things on price alone, then all factories would go elsewhere because of lower labor cost ... or perhaps they would change immigration law and just bring people in to work in giant labor camps, etc. He writes "We should concentrate on doing those things we do best, those things where our superiority is the greatest." but I wonder how that works itself out. In my experience most people in the middle to upper class bubble just assume that what we do best is "knowledge work" but that alienates and overlooks giant sections of our society who do not want to be knowledge workers. I know he is going to get into some of this in later chapters, so I will just note this question for now. I enjoyed his response to the Hamilton argument on infant industry protection through tariffs. He says "The infant industry argument is a smoke screen. The so-called infants never grow up. Once imposed, tariffs are seldom eliminated. Moreover, the argument is seldom used on behalf of true unborn infants that might conceivably be born and survive if given temporary protection. They have not spokesman. It is used to justify tariffs for rather aged infants that can mount political pressure." Now that I have finished the entire book, I found it really clear and full of strong arguments. I would be curious for an economist to tell me if his predictions have become true and if not, why. We are 40 years later and I feel like a lot of the arguments are still flying around. But he specifically mentioned England and Japan. I would be interested to see if his feelings about them have led to economic difficulty or health.

  20. 5 out of 5

    JP

    A very effective conveyance of the meaning of free market economics and its value to the consumer. The opening quote is from Justice Louis Brandeis' opinion in Olmstead v. United States: "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficial. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greater dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but wi A very effective conveyance of the meaning of free market economics and its value to the consumer. The opening quote is from Justice Louis Brandeis' opinion in Olmstead v. United States: "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficial. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greater dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."[return][return]I like how Friedman shows the numerous restraints and how, individually they seem petty, but in aggregate our quite a net. He mentions that at the time of writing, all cars had to have seat belts but no one was -- yet -- required to wear them. Another idea the Friedman brings out is that socialism has moved from controlling the means of production to controlling the result directly. He also shows how the income tax system is even more regressive than I formerly thought. The social security tax has a cap. Moreover, the poor start working at a younger age, work to an older age, and have a short life expectancy during which to enjoy the same result. No example is more effective to me than that of the railroads and the ICC. The railroads came under regulation because activists saw their monopoly power. Satisfied of the regulation, they moved on to other causes while the railroads put lobbyists and "revolving door" consultants in the regulatory positions. The same cycle appeared with the advent of trucking, leading to solutions like extremely expensive ICC certificates and rate "problems" being solved by raising long-haul to match short-haul rates.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Krishna Kumar

    This book is one of the most well-written and impassioned argument for laissez faire. The Friedmans demonstrate how government interference can create inefficiencies in the market that can be exploited by special interest groups. They discuss how government spending, however well-meaning, can degenerate into huge bureaucracies that fail to achieve their objectives, but keep requiring huge budgets. The basic problem with a book like “Free to Choose” is that it turns into a propaganda book which ex This book is one of the most well-written and impassioned argument for laissez faire. The Friedmans demonstrate how government interference can create inefficiencies in the market that can be exploited by special interest groups. They discuss how government spending, however well-meaning, can degenerate into huge bureaucracies that fail to achieve their objectives, but keep requiring huge budgets. The basic problem with a book like “Free to Choose” is that it turns into a propaganda book which explains only one side of the story. Since it is all about the evils of government, it fails to list where government can be a force for good. The modern government, for better or worse, plays a significant role in regulating finance, commerce and trade. What is acceptable for the better working of society? And what is not? What about the tragedy of the Commons? The Friedmans use Hong Kong as an example of unbridled capitalism. But Hong Kong is an outlier, being a small city-state and its condition may not be comparable to a vast nation such as the United States. In the time since the book was published, the world has undergone significant changes – the fall of Communism, welfare reform, de-regulation, lower income taxes, globalization, booms, busts and, of course, massive technological changes. Government, however, still acts as a safety net for workers and the weaker sections of society, such as the elderly, children and the disabled. Government spending has increased, despite decreased regulation. The book does require a re-write in light of such circumstances.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Derek Neighbors

    The say, "The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off." Friedman's 1980 work is able to do just that. Milton won the Noble Memorial Prize in Economics in 1978. Free to Choose highlights free market economics and the forces that destroy them. So much good and relevant data in here that it is hard to believe it was written almost 40 years ago. The part that rings true is that almost every instance of "free market" being cited as the reason for some decline (think great depression, m The say, "The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off." Friedman's 1980 work is able to do just that. Milton won the Noble Memorial Prize in Economics in 1978. Free to Choose highlights free market economics and the forces that destroy them. So much good and relevant data in here that it is hard to believe it was written almost 40 years ago. The part that rings true is that almost every instance of "free market" being cited as the reason for some decline (think great depression, mortgage crisis, looming student debt) can actually be traced back to government intervention setting the ball in motion for the collapse. His take on public schooling, welfare, social security, legalizing drugs, the FDA, unions and other topics is well worth the listen regardless of what side of the political spectrum you fall. If you plan on voting for a candidate in the upcoming election it would be worth your time to read this book to have a broader understanding on economics before checking a box at the ballot.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Stanley Arthur

    This is arguably viewed as the best work of the two legendary free market economists from the University of Chicago "Chicago School" of economic theory, Milton and Rose Friedman. The so called "freshwater" approach to economics has been contrasted with the "saltwater" views of Stanford, Harvard and MIT. Ok, so it was written and published in 1980. But the free market approach to managing the economy is even more relevant today as we watch the failed Keynesian experiment being carried out in both This is arguably viewed as the best work of the two legendary free market economists from the University of Chicago "Chicago School" of economic theory, Milton and Rose Friedman. The so called "freshwater" approach to economics has been contrasted with the "saltwater" views of Stanford, Harvard and MIT. Ok, so it was written and published in 1980. But the free market approach to managing the economy is even more relevant today as we watch the failed Keynesian experiment being carried out in both the Executive Branch and Federal Reserve economic laboratories. If you are interested in learning about the free market approach to managing the economy, this is the place to start learning. Milton Friedman, although a Nobel laureate economist, has a well-earned reputation of being a plain spoken and easily understood teacher. I have three of his books on my "important books" shelf, and this one is my favorite.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    A fervent believer of Adam Smith's ideologies, Milton Friedman portrayed a compelling argument, from both a economic/moral standpoint for free enterprise. Furthermore, he breaks down his argument to show how intervention has negatively impacted different aspects of the economy and society. However, the picture that he painted, in my opinion, is far too perfect. I do not believe that the free markets are perfect. It MAY be the best solution as of yet, but definitely far from perfect. Perhaps ther A fervent believer of Adam Smith's ideologies, Milton Friedman portrayed a compelling argument, from both a economic/moral standpoint for free enterprise. Furthermore, he breaks down his argument to show how intervention has negatively impacted different aspects of the economy and society. However, the picture that he painted, in my opinion, is far too perfect. I do not believe that the free markets are perfect. It MAY be the best solution as of yet, but definitely far from perfect. Perhaps there is no living experiment for the ideal government that Milton envisions, but failing to offer a balanced argument only indicates a bias, one that an experienced and respected economist like himself should avoid at all costs. Very informative book otherwise.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tyler

    Synopsis: Milton and Rose Friedman published this personal statement back in 1979 and many of their beliefs still ring true today. The Miltons advocate for a free market and smaller government (i.e. fewer regulations) and support their arguments with stories and examples. My Review: To be honest, it has been a few months since I finished this book and I don't remember a whole lot about it... What I do remember is that the book is very readable and accessible to the economic layman (such as myself Synopsis: Milton and Rose Friedman published this personal statement back in 1979 and many of their beliefs still ring true today. The Miltons advocate for a free market and smaller government (i.e. fewer regulations) and support their arguments with stories and examples. My Review: To be honest, it has been a few months since I finished this book and I don't remember a whole lot about it... What I do remember is that the book is very readable and accessible to the economic layman (such as myself), but that it was a bit on the long side which led it to be a bit boring. Still, the book gave me plenty to think about.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Giff Zimmerman

    This is a crisply written description of libertarian economic thinking. The arguments are mostly very compelling, except perhaps when the authors oversimplify, confuse causes and effects, base their arguments solely on biased anecdotes (ignoring obvious counter-anecdotes), or take their rationale a step or two too far. The subsequent 36 years of history have also been unkind to certain of those arguments (e.g., tax increases do not automatically kill economic growth, and thinking that Adam Smith This is a crisply written description of libertarian economic thinking. The arguments are mostly very compelling, except perhaps when the authors oversimplify, confuse causes and effects, base their arguments solely on biased anecdotes (ignoring obvious counter-anecdotes), or take their rationale a step or two too far. The subsequent 36 years of history have also been unkind to certain of those arguments (e.g., tax increases do not automatically kill economic growth, and thinking that Adam Smith's invisible hand can prevent environmental degradation seems fanciful). But by and large the reasoning is sound, and will help equip me to articulate to my liberal friends why I'm a moderate.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bader Alhashel

    This is a very fascinating political economy book from a Nobel laureate and one of the major economists in the last century. The book presents the argument for free markets and libertarianism. The book argues for free markets by tacking several of the major economic issues in our world such as union, tariffs, social security, and consumer protection. I highly encourage anyone with an interest in politics or economics to read this book regardless of whether you agree or disagree with it. Friedman This is a very fascinating political economy book from a Nobel laureate and one of the major economists in the last century. The book presents the argument for free markets and libertarianism. The book argues for free markets by tacking several of the major economic issues in our world such as union, tariffs, social security, and consumer protection. I highly encourage anyone with an interest in politics or economics to read this book regardless of whether you agree or disagree with it. Friedman in many cases presents through-provoking arguments for how government control can make people and the economy worse off.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Free

    Found most of the information in this book to be painstakingly obvious, or strange. If you've taken an Econ class or two and paid attention, you probably already know what's going to be said--especially if you had a conservative professor. The only surprising things said in the book seem to be a bit off. For example, his claims about monopolies being practically non-existent in early US history do not seem to match up with what really happened (uh, they existed). Furthermore, his general "deregu Found most of the information in this book to be painstakingly obvious, or strange. If you've taken an Econ class or two and paid attention, you probably already know what's going to be said--especially if you had a conservative professor. The only surprising things said in the book seem to be a bit off. For example, his claims about monopolies being practically non-existent in early US history do not seem to match up with what really happened (uh, they existed). Furthermore, his general "deregulation" answer doesn't seem to really address the more nuanced macroeconomic issues that face society. I was excited to learn from one of the greats, and then ended up feeling dissatisfied.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Martin

    Great book. Lays out a dozen basic macroeconomic truths with data and examples and reasoning so that even the non-economist can understand. Although written in 1980, the chapters on minimum wage, growth of government, and bureaucracy remain dead on. The book covers much of the same material as Capitalism and Freedom, but here it is better written, more sharply defined, and brought down a notch or two in terms of technical detail, making it easier for the non-economist to enjoy. My only criticism o Great book. Lays out a dozen basic macroeconomic truths with data and examples and reasoning so that even the non-economist can understand. Although written in 1980, the chapters on minimum wage, growth of government, and bureaucracy remain dead on. The book covers much of the same material as Capitalism and Freedom, but here it is better written, more sharply defined, and brought down a notch or two in terms of technical detail, making it easier for the non-economist to enjoy. My only criticism of the book is that the summing up was almost non-existent. Each chapter has an excellent concluding statement, but there's no bow on the book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Geub

    interesting but more likely infuriating at best. I'm not into economics or politics and it pains me to see and read about current events so this book just wasn't really my cup of tea. but knowing what I know and hearing about his ideas on how a "well governed" society should function I see his good ideas but know that the system won't ever work like that in these modern times. for a system to work the people should decide and let the politicians be our servants but we're too far gone for that. w interesting but more likely infuriating at best. I'm not into economics or politics and it pains me to see and read about current events so this book just wasn't really my cup of tea. but knowing what I know and hearing about his ideas on how a "well governed" society should function I see his good ideas but know that the system won't ever work like that in these modern times. for a system to work the people should decide and let the politicians be our servants but we're too far gone for that. welp, onwards and forward they say.

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