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The Machinery of Freedom: Guide to a Radical Capitalism Paperback – August 19, 1989
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David Friedman is successful in laying out the viewpoint of the anarcho-capitalist. The reader may or may not be convinced of the feasibility of his proposals(I wasn't and I bet most people likewise will find his proposals unlikely to succeed.) Nevertheless, the book is well worth the read for the clear and concise way it lays out this difficult political viewpoint.
The book is quick to the point and a quick read. The reader is not inundated with frivolous facts but is given the philosophy in a nutshell, take it or leave it fashion. The author recognizes the shortcomings and instead of dodging the questions meets them head on. For this, he should be commended. The book is a quick read and accessible to anyone and is well worth the read.
This book is the best book to explain the benefits of Anarcho-Capitalism. Moreover, Friedman outlines a society distinct from Rothbard's version. Rothbard would have a common legal system agreed upon by all first, and then have private enterprise provide the rest. Friedman explains how even the justice system can and should be subject to competition!
He gives pragmatic arguments for the crucial part: getting from here to there. This is why you will see that Anarcho-Capitalism is the only logical conclusion of a belief in freedom and free markets. Every other (failed) Utopian political book never describes how to actually get to the utopia. They just assume it's possible to give everyone what they need and that "someone" will provide it for them. Friedman convincingly shows how his system is the ideal one.
Since it is quite old (some original parts are from the 70's), some of the points are blatantly obvious, and some are tragic in that they are still problems even now.
Don't listen to the people blasting this book for not fitting their preconceived notions of anarchy or political treatises. This is a economics book first and foremost, with political ramifications. At least read the Wikipedia on Anarcho-Capitalism before you blast it for having institutions. The whole point is that institutions will continue to provide services; it's just that those institutions will be privately owned and ran like a business, i.e. to make profits by pleasing customers.
David Friedman is a highly respected economist and legal scholar. His other books are required reading in Econ and Law classes, as well as at (good) law programs. This book shows you the only logical conclusion of many things you already believe. If you'd rather have a consequentialist justification, this system is the most beneficial from a utility standpoint, the most efficient, and many other superlatives...
Bottom line, read this book if you're at all interested in Capitalism, Liberty, Classical Liberalism, Economics, Law, etc. If you're not, read it anyway and it will make you care. One of my favorite books of all time.
Secondly, I enjoyed this book because it takes a utilitarian approach to econ and poli sci unlike most books on the AnCap ideology. Digging into morality and ethics, natural rights, etc... can be too much for some to dig into for their entry into the ideology and in my opinion I think debating morality and ethics is a fruitless endeavor and I avoid such subjects. The State is inefficient and fails to meet any goals it seeks to fulfill, negating its own premise simply by existing. This book tackles that concept well and confronts the handful of concerns anyone would first have upon hearing of anarchism.
This book convinced me that markets can produce almost everything we need, except for maybe national defense, and do it much better than government can.
I now yearn to live in a libertarian, anarcho-capitalist world.
Thank you professor Friedman.
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