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Capitalism and Freedom: Fortieth Anniversary Edition 40 Anv Edition

318 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0226264219
ISBN-10: 0226264211
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Editorial Reviews


"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

From the Inside Flap

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.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 40 Anv edition (November 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226264211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226264219
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (318 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

211 of 245 people found the following review helpful By Denis Benchimol Minev on August 13, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Milton Friedman is one fo the strongest proponents of freedom in society as the only way towards development (a concept later expanded by Amartya Sen). This book is not an economics textbook, since he does not spend much time on the basic concepts of economics such as price theory. He assumes a bit of knowledge and uses it to make the case for many different economic ideas ranging from macroeconomics (monetarism) to microeconomics (school vouchers).

For a book that was written in the 60s, it is amazing how current his ideas remain. It is perhaps the most important book on the libertarian philosophy, focusing on preventing the accumulation of power by any individual or group of individuals in society.

Overall, it is a great read for someone familiar with economics and social sciences, it will definitely expand your horizons of thought. However, if you are looking for an introduction to interesting eocnomic ideas, I would suggest you read Free to Choose, which Friedman wrote a dozen years later to reach a more general audience.
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258 of 309 people found the following review helpful By Eric Breitenstein on November 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
Milton Friedman, far from just paraphrasing Keynes, has given a grand refutation of Keynesian economics as well as argued persuasively for the free-market.
"Capitalism and Freedom" dispels the myths about capitalism that have become so prevalent in our society: that the free-market caused the depression (it was actually a tyrannical Federal Reserve), that socialism can be democratic, and others. Milton's prose is clear and the book is good for those who haven't majored in economics. He gives an unwavering defense of personal freedom and individual autonomy from a minimalist government perspective.
This book is an important contribution to public discourse and although written about 40 years ago, still has relevance today.
Friedman discusses public education, roads, minimum wage laws (which he calls, "the most anti-black law on the statute books," and rightfully so as you'll see if you read this book), as well as the how so-called "progressive" tax system and welfare actually hurt the poor.
Friedman's other great contribution is "Free to Choose," which was written about 20 years ago and expounds on the ideas in "Capitalism and Freedom" in a bit more depth. But this is a good, short, concise book to start with that'll get you asking questions.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Craig Matteson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on July 6, 2004
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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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book quite concisely demonstrates Milton Friedman's gift as an economist. It, however, also depicts his inferiority to Hazlitt in terms of writing ability. While many of his essays and points are very interesting and precise, the book is VERY dry. One should not let the small size fool them when purchasing this book, it takes quite a commitment and interest in the subject to make it through the book. That said, Friedman elucidates just what capitalism is and should be. He does believe in some government, however, he argues (and quite successfully) that it should be as limited and nonactivist as possible. I certainly recommend this for anyone interested in just why Milton Friedman (and other laissez-faire capitalists) thinks the way he does. Henry Hazlitt's, "Economics in One Lesson" is a less difficult read and is also better constructed. I would recommend that as prerequisite for tackling this book.
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74 of 93 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
Friedman's critics and fellow travelers in the libertarian fold rightfully viewed Capitalism and Freedom as a landmark book in 1962. The author brilliantly, if albeit briefly, articulated his theories of human behavior, which stood in contrast to the prevailing Keynesian ideology. The book has stood the test of time, and has become a classic part of libertarian literature. Like Marx's Das Kapital, the book has become a common point of reference for review in many college courses for members of the Left and the Right.
Some quick notes. The book was not written as an exhaustive economics treatise that purported to evaluate every single possible component of economics. Friedman did not present every single ideological permutation's view of price supports for farm products, as an example. Anyone looking for Every Possible Libertarian Opinion on a Given Economic Question, much less the contrasting viewpoints of Marxists/Neo-Keynesians/Flat Earth Society proponents, will need to look elsewhere (Keynesian Paul Samuelson's classic work, "Economics", is recommended for as a starting point). Friedman's reputation in the economics profession was not earned from this book, but his other works, especially his "Monetary History of the United States".
As for Paul Krugman's criticisms of Milton Friedman, the potential reader should heed the old axiom, "consider the source". Krugman is a brilliant economist, who after being exposed for decades to a mass of information on the failings of government meddling in the economy, persistently recommends a watered down version of the same failed policies that didn't work in the past.
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