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Free to Choose: A Personal Statement Paperback – November 26, 1990
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Top Customer Reviews
It is written very clearly; you need not have an economics background to understand it. The arguments are clear and eloquent. Friedman demonstrates why the free market works best for the economy but more importantly, he demonstrates why the free market preserves individual dignity. Beyond mere economics, the free market is the most moral system. In so many areas, if you really think about it, choices are the business of the individual, not the government. When the government overtaxes us, it is not only bad for the economy, it is bad morally. Overtaxation enables the government to make certain choices and removes that decisionmaking from the individual. I think school choice is an example of this.
My son's teacher assigned him to read this book. Happily, he will be exposed to the lucid arguments for few governmental controls and greater choice among individuals. I highly recommend this book which had so great an impact on my life.
Friedman explains how and why markets work, why minimum wage statutes hurt instead of help unskilled labor (they price entry level or "training positions" out of the market) and why the Great Depression happened (protectionist tariffs like Smoot-Hawley devastating trade between nations was the primary reason).
Like Hayek and von Mises before him, Friedman explodes the Keynesian mythology that government spending is actually good for the economy. Moreover, this book is written for the layman. You don't need a PhD in economics or a Nobel Prize (both of which Professor Friedman has) to understand this work. It is clear, concise and cogently written.
If you want to understand why the market is ineluctable, this is a must read...and if you get the chance, I highly recommend the companion video series - some of the best work done on explaining why the free market works and planned/controlled economies fail.
It as timely today (despite the dated references) because the free market still works (it always will) and command/controlled economies always fail...this book tells why.
As a not quite totally liberal or Libertarian (as modern socialist democrats (Ted Kennedy, Al Gore, Diane Feinstien, etc.) and moderate Republicans (Olympia Snowe, Lincoln Chaffee, James Jeffords, etc.) have co-opted the liberal and moderate monikers), Friedman puts forth arguments against government intervention is many areas, but does demonstrate where government can be helpful, in limited ways, to address various market failures. The book addresses areas such as free markets, price and wage controls (which are currently causing electricity shortages in California), equality and justice, education (Friedman has been urging parental choice in public schooling since the 1950s), consumer protection, worker protection and inflation. The book presents each issue by examining how we got to the current state, what is wrong with the current policy and how he believes the policy should be changed. In various instances, he suggest both his preferred change and a watered down version (pragmatic version) that might actually be enacted in our current political morass.
A quick note to readers. One reviewer suggested that the book plagiarizes the work of Lord John Maynard Keynes. This could not be further from the truth.Read more ›
The manufacturer does know those things. But she doesn't know the prices of the chemicals that make up the paint, etc. In this way, the free market's system of prices allocates information in a way no central planner could ever hope to. The number of operations and transactions that must occur in order to produce that pencil is astronomical -- and the free market, through the price mechanism, manages to do just that every second.
There is more in the book than just that point, of course, but it is very much worth the casual reader's while.
In response to the previous reviewer -- I imagine Dr. Friedman would be surprised to hear that his arguments had been rebutted by Keynes and Galbraith, precisely because much of Friedman's work is a response to the work of those two. And while David Ricardo certainly updated the work of Adam Smith, there is no way Ricardo could be called anything but a laissez-faire classical liberal.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Gold standard for understanding economics, very, very well written. Clear and precise. Get this book into the hands of young adults NOW. Timeless information.Published 14 days ago by Rand J Sola
I found it Amazing how something written so long ago holds up all the way through today's market. I better understand that the more people that join to help this country... Read morePublished 26 days ago by Amazon Customer
This book provided foundational principles, challenges and solutions to encourage economic prosperity by reinforcing freedom. Read morePublished 27 days ago by Baby monitor father
A little more in depth with his ideas and a lot of the subjects in Capitalism and Freedom. An excellent companion to that book.Published 28 days ago by mschapman7
This book changed my political life when I read it 32 years ago. I went from being a big government socialist to becoming a libertarian. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Steve