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Capitalism and Freedom: Fortieth Anniversary Edition

Capitalism and Freedom: Fortieth Anniversary Edition [Kindle Edition]

Milton Friedman
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"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." - Henry Hazlitt, Newsweek

Product Description

Selected by the Times Literary Supplement as one of the "hundred most influential books since the war"

How can we benefit from the promise of government while avoiding the threat it poses to individual freedom? In this classic book, Milton Friedman provides the definitive statement of his immensely influential economic philosophy—one in which competitive capitalism serves as both a device for achieving economic freedom and a necessary condition for political freedom. The result is an accessible text that has sold well over half a million copies in English, has been translated into eighteen languages, and shows every sign of becoming more and more influential as time goes on.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 381 KB
  • Print Length: 228 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0226264211
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 40 Anv edition (15 Feb 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006JP11HQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #93,453 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read it if you want to understand capitalism 18 April 2011
The book is of course a classic. I don't want to give a detailed academic review or critique, because I'm not qualified. I just want to explain its personal relevance to me.

I came to this after thinking about abstract questions after the financial crash in 2008. What are the theoretical justifications for the free market? What are the theoretical / pragmatic justifications for regulation? Should banks be regulated more? How can capitalism be evolved to reduce the risk of financial crises? How can capitalism deal with the risks of climate change if the costs of climate change are not priced into the market?

Friedman's philosophy is pretty right-wing.... Flat rate income tax of 20% (if I recall correctly). Privatise pretty much everything. But not *everything*. Some government spending is justified because of so-called neighborhood effects. E.g., subsidise poor families to send their kids to school. If not, society as a whole loses out. Some government regulation is justified. E.g., regulation to reduce environmental harm. If not, the market will allow environmental harm and society as a whole will lose out.

This book is pretty much the bible for a huge school of liberal economics that is prevalent in many parts of the world. It's important to read it, *especially* if you are not convinced by the free market. Sometimes I wanted the author to go further with his arguments. For example, he certainly didn't convince me about flat-rate taxation (his main argument appeared to be that tax avoidance is easier to avoid if there is a flat-rate). However, all in all, this is a classic that is worth reading for its rhetoric, breadth (it talks about so many areas of government policy), and importance.
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32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
By Nicholas J. R. Dougan VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I became vaguely aware of Milton Friedman in the 1980s, when he was often referred to as the favourite economic guru of Thatcher and Reagan, the founder of "monetarism" as a new school of economics. He was disliked by the left, and there were dark mutterings about his involvement with some of the less pleasant South American regimes of the period.

More recently I was referred to some excellent video clips of Milton Friedman on YouTube, and became interested in how his views fitted into economic thinking as a whole. I also became aware of economic libertarianism, expounded by such organisations as The Cato Institute (publishers of some of the sceptical volumes on man-made global warming theory, but with a much wider range of interests than that) and The Von Mises Institute, that seems to have quite an extreme view as to how limited the role of the state should be. Private justice, anyone?

Capital and Freedom was Friedman's seminal popular work, published in 1962 and based on a series of lectures that Friedman had delivered in the mid to late 1950s. Other popular works include Free to Choose, written jointly with his wife and published in 1980. He doubtless wrote scores of more technical papers in between. Friedman's economic hypothesis is that free market capitalism is the most effective mechanism for organising economic activity and growth, and that it thrives best when the government intervenes in it as little as possible. This economic hypothesis is allied to a strong personal conviction for individual liberty, that men should as far as possible be left to do as they choose so long as their actions to not have injurious effects on others - a philosophy stated emphatically by the founding fathers of the United States.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Giant. 6 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Why endeavour to say more than that? Oh, yes - a communicating and understandable giant...Read him - again and again!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Dr. Bojan Tunguz TOP 500 REVIEWER
The link between economic and political freedoms has been supported for a long time, and Milton Friedman's "Capitalism and Freedom" is one of the more important texts in that intellectual tradition. The central thesis of this book is that the private ownership and enterprise, rather than the government controlled services, is the true guarantor of personal freedoms. Friedman acknowledges that there are indeed certain activities that a government has a legitimate role in (like the arbitration and the enforcement of the laws), but those tend to be exceptional and require a special set of circumstances in order to be justified. In the second chapter he gives a non-exhaustive list of fourteen activities that the government has asserted an exclusive role in for which there is no good justification. It is interesting to note that as we approach the fourteenth anniversary of the publication of this book, only a couple of those are still not in effect (there is no universal draft during a peacetime and the Post Office does not have an exclusive right to distribute mail any more).

The chapter on monetary policy is very interesting. Friedman considers monetary policy to be one of those activities over which a government can exercise a legitimate monopoly. This has however been disputed in recent years by more libertarian thinkers - even when it comes to printing and distributing money, there is no good a-priory reason why a private entity wouldn't be able to accomplish this as well. In fact, I would probably have more trust in money issued by some well established corporations or banks than that issued by 90%+ of governments around the world. In this chapter Friedman also goes at length expounding on pros and cons of the gold standard, which nowadays is not all that in vogue at all.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book. I recommend also reading books that highlight ...
A good book. I recommend also reading books that highlight issues with capitalism such as the Darwin Economy by Franck
Published 25 days ago by your dad
5.0 out of 5 stars From my point of view
This, like most of my purchases, was bought as a present, in this case in response to a specific request. Read more
Published 6 months ago by grumpy
4.0 out of 5 stars Very well written look at politics and economics
A classic. Friedman gives answers to questions that are just as relevant today as when it was written, decades ago. Extremely lucid writing.
Published 7 months ago by Steve Morris
5.0 out of 5 stars Terriffic intro to free-market thinking...
Reading Milton Friedman for the first time can be an overwhelming experience. The wealth of ideas coupled with the wry delivery and almost John the Baptist like certitude with... Read more
Published 12 months ago by os
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable
Can't ignore the power of this man's convictions even if latterly he has been proved to be somewhat limited in visionary prowess.
Published 12 months ago by John Goodfellow
3.0 out of 5 stars An ideologue
It has taken me some time to read Freidman and I think there were no surprises. He writes convincingly and delivers some home truths about the failure big government. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Timsread
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book that should be treasured by all freedom lovers.
This is a great book by an extraordinary economist and political thinker, who firmly defended Individual Freedom and Diversity throughout his life. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Prof. Joao Eduardo Gata
5.0 out of 5 stars More relevant than ever
The financial crises has given me a great interest in economics and Milton Friedman here, spells out his ideas. I found it deaply interesting and very radical. Read more
Published on 21 Jan 2012 by Brendan
1.0 out of 5 stars The other side of the coin
The world in 2011 is seeing the policies set out in this book operating in their full. Whilst Democratically Elected Politicians are forced to resign (the Greek and Italian... Read more
Published on 15 Nov 2011 by J. Hudson
5.0 out of 5 stars This book changed my life...
Reading this book on recommendation of a uni friend has changed the way I look at the world. Friedman's relentless logic in the face of the ridiculousness of government... Read more
Published on 29 Oct 2011 by Brian in Glasgow
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Popular Highlights

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The second broad principle is that government power must be dispersed. &quote;
Highlighted by 33 Kindle users
Fundamentally, there are only two ways of co-ordinating the economic activities of millions. One is central direction involving the use of coercion—the technique of the army and of the modern totalitarian state. The other is voluntary co-operation of individuals—the technique of the market place. &quote;
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The possibility of co-ordination through voluntary co-operation rests on the elementary—yet frequently denied—proposition that both parties to an economic transaction benefit from it, provided the transaction is bi-laterally voluntary and informed. &quote;
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