Free to Choose by Milton Friedman
  • Title: Free to Choose
  • Subtitle: A Personal Statement
  • Author(s): Milton Friedman, Rose Friedman
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • Year: 1990-11-26
  • ISBN-10: 0547539754
  • ISBN-13: 9780547539751


“Free to Choose” by Milton Friedman is a timeless and thought-provoking book that explores the merits and consequences of economic freedom. In this classic work, Friedman advocates for the power of free markets and individual liberty as the key drivers for economic progress and improved living standards. Drawing on his vast knowledge of economics, he skillfully argues against government intervention and central planning, asserting that they often stifle innovation, growth, and personal freedoms. Backed by extensive historical examples and compelling economic analysis, Friedman’s passionate defense of free-market capitalism makes this book a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the role of economic freedom in society.

This influential book not only presents a compelling case for free markets but also looks at the impact of government policies on various aspects of society. Friedman delves into subjects ranging from education, the welfare state, and healthcare to monetary policy and taxation. Balancing theory with real-world examples, he illustrates the tangible benefits that can be achieved by allowing individuals and markets to operate freely, all the while adamantly advocating for limited government intrusion. “Free to Choose” challenges conventional wisdom and presents a persuasive argument for the superiority of free markets as an effective solution towards achieving prosperity and freedom. Whether one agrees with Friedman’s ideology or not, this book undeniably provides a valuable contribution to the discourse on economics and politics.

Book Review

Title: Free to Choose Author: Milton Friedman

In his groundbreaking book “Free to Choose,” Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman presents a compelling and eloquent defense of free-market capitalism. With his keen intellect and impressive understanding of economics, Friedman systematically dismantles the arguments in favor of government intervention, showcasing the numerous benefits that arise from allowing individuals to freely exchange and pursue their own self-interest.

One of the central themes in Friedman’s book is the power of economic freedom in improving the standard of living. He argues that free markets not only stimulate economic growth but also foster innovation and competition. To support this claim, Friedman points to historical examples such as the Industrial Revolution, which brought about a significant increase in living standards as a result of the economic liberties enjoyed during that period. In contrast, he highlights the failures of command economies, showcasing how government control stifles the incentives necessary for entrepreneurial success.

Moreover, Friedman devotes considerable attention to the role of education in society. He argues that parents should have the freedom to choose where and how their children receive an education. He advocates for a voucher system, which would provide parents with the ability to select schools that align with their values and meet their children’s educational needs. He cites the successes of such programs in countries like Sweden, where this approach has led to greater educational quality and improved outcomes for students.

Friedman delves into the perils of the welfare state, explaining how well-intentioned government programs can inadvertently create dependency and discourage personal responsibility. For instance, he highlights the negative consequences of welfare policies that disincentivize work, showing how they can trap individuals in poverty rather than lifting them out of it. He provides examples of effective programs, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, which incentivizes work and helps alleviate poverty without creating dependency.

Another critical aspect discussed in “Free to Choose” is monetary policy. Friedman argues for the importance of a stable currency and criticizes the way central banks wield power over the money supply. He shares the historical example of the Great Depression, pointing out the detrimental effects of the Federal Reserve’s contractionary monetary policy during that time. Through this example, he prompts readers to question the role of central banks and proposes alternatives, such as a fixed money supply or a rule-based monetary policy, to prevent market instability and inflation.

In conclusion, “Free to Choose” is a thought-provoking and enlightening book that passionately defends the virtues of economic freedom. Through compelling examples and rigorous analysis, Milton Friedman effectively argues against the limitations of government intervention and advocates for the power of free markets. While some may challenge his ideas or offer alternative viewpoints, the book undeniably presents a wealth of insights and is a must-read for anyone interested in the intersection of economics, politics, and individual freedom.

Word Count: 475

Target Audience

The book “Free to Choose” by Milton Friedman is targeted at a diverse audience interested in economics, politics, and the role of individual freedom in society. It is recommended reading for the following audiences:

  • Economics Students and Professionals The book provides a solid foundation in economic theory, illustrating the principles of free-market capitalism, government intervention, and their impact on society. Friedman’s clear explanations and use of practical examples make this book invaluable for those studying or working in the field of economics.

  • Policy Makers and Politicians “Free to Choose” challenges conventional wisdom and offers alternative perspectives on government intervention. It presents compelling arguments against excessive regulation and advocates for limited government intrusion. Policy makers and politicians can benefit from Friedman’s insights to inform their decisions and create more effective economic policies.

  • Advocates of Individual Liberty The book serves as a rallying cry for those who believe in the importance of personal freedom and limited government control. Friedman’s passionate defense of free markets and individual choice resonates with those who value the principles of liberty and seek to understand and promote their economic implications.

  • General Readers Even for those without a background in economics, “Free to Choose” is an accessible read that offers a thought-provoking exploration of economic freedom and its impact on society. It provides readers with a deeper understanding of the benefits and consequences of government intervention in various aspects of life, from education to welfare programs.

In conclusion, “Free to Choose” is recommended reading for economics students, professionals, policy makers, advocates of individual liberty, and general readers seeking a comprehensive and thought-provoking examination of the role of economic freedom in society. Friedman’s arguments and real-world examples make this book essential for anyone interested in understanding the principles and consequences of free-market capitalism.