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Free to Choose: A Personal Statement Paperback – November 26, 1990

4.6 out of 5 stars 292 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Excellent book….This reviewer has never read a more straightforward and simple statement of the present ills facing our society and what we as citizens in a democracy must do about them." --Chicago Sun Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

In this classic about economics, freedom, and the relationship between the two, Milton and Rose Friedman explain how our freedom has been eroded and our prosperity undermined through the explosion of laws, regulations, agencies, and spending in Washington, and how good intentions often produce deplorable results when government is the middleman. The Friedmans also provide remedies for these ills--they tell us what to do in order to expand our freedom and promote prosperity.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; LATER PRINTING edition (November 26, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156334607
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156334600
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (292 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David E. Levine on October 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
As an assignment in his high school honors English class, my son recently asked me to name a book that had an impact on my life. My answer was "Free to Choose" by Milton & Rose Friedman. I grew up with fairly liberal views in a Democrat household. More than anything else, reading this book in the early 1980s changed my perceptions of reality. This book is most responsible for changing me into a conservative. Although I took four economics courses in college (and got high grades in each) and was a political science major, my views were never substantially budged until I read this great book.
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.
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Format: Paperback
"Free to Choose" (1980) is a great companion to Friedman's ten hour video presentation by the same name that appeared on PBS in the early eighties to rave reviews and some of the highest ratings in PBS history. The video series was extremely well done and taken right from this book.
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.
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Format: Paperback
Being Nobel winning economist, I was not sure what to expect from this "personal statement". What a pleasant surprise and enjoyable read. The book represents the Friedman's take on the government policies of the day (1979). Not knowing that the book was written over 20 years ago a reader would swear it just rolled off the press. The fact that the problems addressed by this book are still the problems we are (or more importantly are not truly) debating today only bolsters the arguments that current government policy is failing.
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.
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Format: Paperback
As we head into the next millennium, it becomes increasingly clear the progress we've enjoyed is mainly attributable to the freedom of the marketplace. The Friedman's provide an incredibly readable and understandable defense of the marketplace. A believer in the free market will find this book a refreshing review of reality. However, uninitiated neophytes, who still cling to government solutions, will likely have to struggle to accept this book's seemingly contrarian positions. The effort is well worth it. When written, this book challenged conventional wisdom - today many of its propositions are conventional wisdom. How far we've come - thank you Milton and Rose Friedman.
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