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Not to be Taken Seriously,
This review is from: Not So Free to Choose: The Political Economy of Milton Friedman and Ronald Reagan (Hardcover)
Socialists the world over confidently proclaim that Milton Friedman's work has been soundly discredited as ideological delusion and/or corporate propaganda, but in the end such criticisms never amount to much. And this book doesn't even rank among the noteworthy criticism. (In particular, it doesn't currently appear in the "Criticism" section of Friedman's Wikipedia entry.)
The list of Rayack's logical errors is far, far too long to catalog here. But in particular, the assertion that anything of similar magnitude as the Great Depression could have taken place without a gross failure of monetary policy, simply because the recession that preceded it was a result of market fluctuations, is not to be taken seriously.
Do Friedman's popular writings tell the whole story? Of course not; they would hardly be popular if they did. But unless you are naive enough to think that Rayack tells the whole rest of the story, this does not prove even that Friedman distorts events, let alone that he draws incorrect conclusions from them. Even if we accept that Friedman "sees no benefits [for government action]--only costs" (which is doubtful given his qualified support for centralized monetary policy and anti-trust regulation), then he is an important counterpoint against the natural tendency to see only benefits.
At best, Rayack pokes holes in a few of Friedman's arguments, but this is just snarkiness. In economics no case is ever airtight. What Rayack offers is an alternate interpretation of history, not a viable understanding of economics. Rayack predicts nothing except the collapse of the "economic miracle" in Chile, whose GDP instead doubled relative to the rest of South America between 1987 and 2003.
Friedman never claimed that capitalism isn't a failure, only that among the known systems for organizing large and diverse societies, it fails in the least degree and for the shortest lengths of time to meet the needs of the common person. In this respect, history has vindicated him again and again.