Capitalism and Freedom: Fortieth Anniversary Edition (40th Anniversary Edition) 40th Edition, Kindle Edition
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"Edwards is a straightforward narrator, and the essays lend themselves to reading aloud because they began as lectures."-- "Talking Book 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."-- "Newsweek"
"The economist of the century."-- "Fortune"
"The most influential...economist since World War II."-- "Washington Post" --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B006JP11HQ
- Publisher : University of Chicago Press; 40th edition (February 15, 2009)
- Publication date : February 15, 2009
- Language : English
- File size : 376 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 226 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #417,605 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
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Secondly, if you're looking not so much for Milton Friedman's ideas per se, but rather for the best libertarian / classical liberal's arguments, I'd recommend the excellent Paul Graham's (YCombinator's founder) blog and in particular his long "Economic Inequality" essay from January, 2016. When Milton Friedman was writing his book, the most pressing topics around inequality were monopolies, labor unions, differential taxation rates, import barriers, and public education. True, some of these issues are still being ruminated in the news, but now there are some new forces and insights that are covered neither in this book nor in MF’s lectures.
The chief among these new trends is that modern technology enables people with very high intelligence to become uber wealthy quickly. In 1950s most college graduates with very high IQs chose to become professors, engineers, doctors or lawyers and then proceed to earn their upper middle class salaries. In 2019, many of the equally gifted people create tech, biotech or fintech startups instead, becoming super rich and sometimes automating away some previous jobs in the process. While this changes none of MF’s arguments, this new economic reality and its implications are well described in the aforementioned essay.
The second modern trend, which some scholars (Yuval Harari) and politicians (Andrew Yang) believe exists and some scholars (Bryan Caplan) and most politicians deny, is the emergence of the “useless class”: people who will in principle become unemployable because their current professions will become obsolete (for instance, truck, cab drivers, and most of warehouse and retail workers), but there will be no new jobs for their level of skills and abilities. This was not a concern in 1950s so there is nothing in MF’s book about it. For a comprehensive analyses of this new phenomenon look for Andrew Yang’s excellent book “The War on Normal People”.
The third recent trend is also connected to technology. Whereas one of the grounds on which MF advances against monopolies and governments controlling the industries is the insuperable lack of information processing power that can be had in a particular place, it is becoming less and less true with the proliferation of weak AI’s. Using software, modern monopolies are probably providing better options to their customers than competitive industries did when MF was righting this book.
When you overlay these three recent trends and add to it the advances in mass media & surveillance technologies and the insatiable appetite of some people for power, you can make a compelling argument that in the future capitalism is likely to be superseded by some technocratic dictatorship(s). This again was not on the table in 1950s, but if you’re interested to understand why the chances of it are well above zero. Grab a copy of Yuval Harari’s “Homo Deus”.
It's now approximately 30 years later and we see that the declaration of the death of Socialism was premature. We have a generation of Americans who have been shielded from the nasty realities of Socialism - whether as a matter of history or as it currently exists in dystopias like Venezuela - and seem to think that they are living the life of the destitute poor in the London of Charles Dickens.
For those of us who fought against evangelical Socialism in the prior century, we are a little rusty, and exhausted, in the arguments against Socialism and for freedom. We won so decisively that we've forgotten the arguments.
This book is a wonderful refresher. Reading it brings to mind things we should never have forgotten and need to defend, namely that economic freedom is the necessary precondition for human freedom. Economist Milton Friedman reminds us in the first two chapters that all democracies have been capitalist and that democracy and liberty did not form as human ideals prior to the emergence of capitalism.
Friedman wrote this in 1962 and revised it in the late 1970s when this was a connection that could only be seen in history and Eastern Europe. As a token of its prescience, we can see the connection today for the first time in
America as we see the Socialist Left flexing its muscles to suppress free speech on social media, the universities and private society. For the first time, we can see people being deprived goods and services, such as Paypal, fund-raising services, employment, and social media, because they oppose or are not sufficiently dedicated to the tenets of the Socialist Left.
The balance of the book consists of Friedman's working out of the market solution to various policy issues, such as monopolies, discrimination, education, and the like. This section shows that free-market capitalism has a free-market answer to various issues, although we may be too far down the road to turn back on things like discrimination.
This book is short, insightful, and an entertaining read. Friedman offers a lot of real-world examples which can give this book something of a feeling that one is taking a sip from a fire hose.
Top reviews from other countries
While being aimed at the lay reader, the book gets incredibly technical during some of the earlier chapters. Many of Friedmann's arguments are simple (many are VERY simple), and he often provides no evidence for them. This is consistent with other books I've read by other modern economists, who have confirmed this about Friedmann-refusing to believe their evidence based arguments, dismissing them off-hand with pure conjecture.
I'm still glad I read it, I'd recommend everyone interested in the economic side of politics does, but don't expect a well-reasoned justification for the positions proposed here
Even if you have only the subtlest interest in economics, politics and social study's, then book will be a great read and time well spent, it really is an eye opener and gives the reader real insights and powerful positive arguments of the benefits of the capitalist system.
This book truly changed by perspective on a lot of issues that I thought were rather obvious. Very well written, and I’d encourage people from both sides of the political aisle to read. Truly eye-opening, and a book that I will never forget.
Milton is often misquoted, misunderstood, and his reasoning contorted - it is a pleasure to read this book and follow his train of thought across various political, economic, and social subject areas.
Even if you disagree with his economic theory, you will be delighted by his style of writing and clear deduction.
A book that goes against blind conformity - what a pleasure to read and I hope there are more critical thinkers out there.