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Free to Choose: A Personal Statement [Library Binding]

Milton Friedman , Rose Friedman
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: 14.23 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

10 July 2008
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.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Library Binding: 338 pages
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439514097
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439514092
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,295,332 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars promoting the free market 7 Jan 2004
By andy h
This book makes great reading for the non-economist who simply finds the subject of economics interesting. Milton Friedman speaks from the heart without going into too much jargon that only economists understand.
Since the book is a 'personal statement' he often expresses himself philosophically, as opposed to writing with sound facts to back up his arguments. Whether facts are used or not in the text, he tends to promote his deep capitalist persuasion, whilst making little reference to the often justified, opposing arguments.
Having read the socialist-economist: Noreena Hertz's 'Silent Takover', which is written with a bias to the oposite end of the spectrum, reading 'Free to Choose' gave a very different & thought provoking perspective of economic & polical idealogy.
Andrew, Doncaster UK
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Free Markets and Big Government 12 Jun 2011
Every once in a while a book crystallises a world view. Free To Choose has a good claim in this respect arriving as it did in 1980 . It's a clear exposition of the free market economics that influenced Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, leading to one of the greatest economic booms in history and arguably spelling the end of communist power.

Milton Friedman is a Nobel prize-winning economist, winning the prize in recognition of his work on the money supply and inflation. However the main (and more important) theme of Free To Choose is a critical look at the road that the free market idea has travelled since it's first clear presentation in 1776 by Adam Smith in the remarkable book, The Wealth of Nations.

To quote Friedman on the power of the free market idea, "if an exchange between two parties is voluntary, it will not take place unless both believe that they will benefit from it" or "the price system is the mechanism that performs this task without central direction, without requiring people to speak to one another or to like one another. When you buy your pencil or your daily bread, you don't know whether the pencil was made or the wheat was grown by a white man or a black man, by a Chinese or an Indian. As a result, the price system enables people to co-operate peacefully in one phase of their life while each one goes about his business in respect of everything else."

When this concept is repeated millions of times one has a flexible evolving system that can meet peoples needs in a way that no top-down planned price and production system can hope to match. Is this stating the obvious? - Well it seems not .
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Much of what is said in Free to Choose is essentially unassailable. Free markets work wonderfully well for many things, and governments are blunt instruments that often give the wrong incentives. One cannot argue.

However, there are a couple of areas where he pushes too far, into regions where it is not at all clear if free market capitalism will work as well as the book promises. Education doesn't simply fit into the free market mold because it's not clear who is buying the education. Is it the parent or the student? Is it the student before education or the student after education? It's also very different from buying shoes, because most people only buy one education; one doesn't get a chance to learn from failed purchases. So, it doesn't quite fit Adam Smith's model of two people, each rationally deciding if the transaction will be beneficial to him/her self.

Thus the book is missing something important: a discussion of how far one can apply the free market model. Friedman assumes it applies to everything, and maybe it does, but there are a lot of important cases where it's not at all clear.

But, really, I shouldn't complain too much. Every book has to stop somewhere, and there is much sense and very little confusion here. It's a readable book, and still relevant, even though history has moved on a bit.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The equality-assumption 19 April 2012
By Michael
The book embodied the best of mainstream economies. All economic activities are indiscernible, same carriers of economic development, perfect and instant information hit everyone at the same time - hence the equality assumption. It follows that government should stay out of the market pharmaceuticals, education e.t.c the equality assumption replays over again; people should choose . . who can disagree?

If you need precision, equilibrium, and simple logic this is the best read but in reality things don't work that way. Hardly will any country play to these policies. He talks about abolishing minimum wage to create employment and more profit for entrepreneurs - i wonder why he refused to make the call for free immigration by logic of his argument. Why free trade in all factors of production but labor - immigration restriction is the single biggest protection and YES free immigration will drive down wage faster and create more employment . . Adam Smith treated free immigration as a prerequisite for free-trade and this is the only way factor price equalization is ever possible.

Milton Friedman is a wasted talent searching for equilibrium and precision instead of economic development. His theory is devoid from reality so is Hayek . . . David Ricardo's theory is where is all went wrong . .

My views.
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