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Capitalism and Freedom: Fortieth Anniversary Edition Paperback – Nov 15 2002

4.0 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 40 edition (Nov. 15 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226264211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226264219
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 322 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #45,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

"Milton Friedman is one of the nation's outstanding economists, distinguished for remarkable analytical powers and technical virtuosity. He is unfailingly enlightening, independent, courageous, penetrating, and above all, stimulating." - Henry Hazlitt, Newsweek

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Selected by the Times Literary Supplement as one of the "hundred most influential books since the war"

How can we benefit from the promise of government while avoiding the threat it poses to individual freedom? In this classic book, Milton Friedman provides the definitive statement of his immensely influential economic philosophy—one in which competitive capitalism serves as both a device for achieving economic freedom and a necessary condition for political freedom. The result is an accessible text that has sold well over half a million copies in English, has been translated into eighteen languages, and shows every sign of becoming more and more influential as time goes on.

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Format: Paperback
The link between economic and political freedoms has been supported for a long time, and Milton Friedman's "Capitalism and Freedom" is one of the more important texts in that intellectual tradition. The central thesis of this book is that the private ownership and enterprise, rather than the government controlled services, is the true guarantor of personal freedoms. Friedman acknowledges that there are indeed certain activities that a government has a legitimate role in (like the arbitration and the enforcement of the laws), but those tend to be exceptional and require a special set of circumstances in order to be justified. In the second chapter he gives a non-exhaustive list of fourteen activities that the government has asserted an exclusive role in for which there is no good justification. It is interesting to note that as we approach the fourteenth anniversary of the publication of this book, only a couple of those are still not in effect (there is no universal draft during a peacetime and the Post Office does not have an exclusive right to distribute mail any more).

The chapter on monetary policy is very interesting. Friedman considers monetary policy to be one of those activities over which a government can exercise a legitimate monopoly. This has however been disputed in recent years by more libertarian thinkers - even when it comes to printing and distributing money, there is no good a-priory reason why a private entity wouldn't be able to accomplish this as well. In fact, I would probably have more trust in money issued by some well established corporations or banks than that issued by 90%+ of governments around the world. In this chapter Friedman also goes at length expounding on pros and cons of the gold standard, which nowadays is not all that in vogue at all.
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Format: Paperback
This is a foundation text that should be widely read and studied. Whether you agree with Friedman or not is not the point. These are ideas you need to actually consider and wrestle with. If you end up disagreeing with him and can state why, you will be the stronger for it. It is not enough to rail against them emotionally or call them lies. They are not lies; they are ideas and arguments that ask for debate. Personally, I have always been a fan of Friedman and am ever grateful that he stood against the tide of the postwar political movements with these powerful arguments for freedom.
People often caricature Friedman to their own discredit. His arguments here are not simply that government is bad, but that using government is often a poor way to get at a desirable social end. He certainly does not need me to speak for him, but if you think he is for huge corporations and letting the poor without help to fend for themselves, you misunderstand him and should read this work carefully. Big corporations, he argues several places in this book, are the result of taxation schemes that encourage the retention and reinvestment of earnings that would otherwise have gone to the shareholders to reinvest as they see fit - in other enterprises, consumption, or charity (as well as in taxes). This is only one example among many of popular prejudices against Friedman that do him real injustice.
The book is only a couple of hundred pages, is not hard to read, but does pay off the most dividends if you take your time reading it and consider what he has to say rather than jumping to conclusions without wrestling with your own thoughts (whether you agree with the author or not). It was written in 1962, so some of the context of the book will require some understanding on the part of the reader.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a new edition of Milton Friedman's classic 1962 capitalist manifesto. As such, it was ignored, spurned and hated for decades by the intellectual, post-Keynesian establishment. In the 60s, Friedman once found himself debating a liberal who attacked him by simply reciting Friedman's views of the proper role of government. This was working rather well with the audience of college students until he quoted Friedman's opposition to the military draft. Friedman suddenly found himself awash in the unexpected cheers of students. Perhaps it was a foreshadowing of his career. Friedman won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1976, and his ideas gained some degree of mainstream acceptance in the Reagan years - although many of his thoughts remain controversial. To the extent that Friedman debunks myths about the Great Depression that are widely accepted as fact, perhaps he has a point about the semi-privatization of education. We strongly recommend this volume to those who seek a deeper understanding of government's role in a free-market economy.
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Format: Paperback
Occasionally one stumbles upon a work that is truly enlightening and not only thought provoking, but thought changing. This book belongs to that highest category of literature. Friedman, a Nobel Prize laureate, lays out a concise explanation of the basic market forces that control markets and then uses those principles to support his classical liberal ideals. For one who's mind is open, Friedman's exposition can radically change your view of the world. People have a tendency to make erroneous assumptions about economics(like the idea that raising the minimum wage will help workers) that are totally wrongheaded(raising minimum wage actually causes employers to hire fewer people), though seemingly supported by common sense. Capitalism and Freedom will set you on the right track to understanding how things truly work. Most importantly though, Friedman explains how capitalism and freedom are irrevocably linked and that one necessitates the other. This is a must read for anyone serious about politics, even if you don't agree with it wholeheartedly it gives you a perspective from where libertarians are coming from.
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