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Free to Choose

The Classic Inquiry Into the Relationship Between Freedom and Economics

Von Milton Friedman
15 Minuten
Free to Choose: The Classic Inquiry Into the Relationship Between Freedom and Economics von Milton Friedman

Free to Choose (1980) explores the relationship between freedom and the choices an individual is allowed to make in regards to the economy. Friedman reveals to us that economic freedom is an essential part of liberty. He details the myriad ways in which government regulations and interventions chip away at our fundamental right to make decisions in our own self-interest.

  • Anyone wanting to learn about the government’s role in the economy
  • Anyone interested in exploring the benefits of economic freedom
  • Anyone interested in learning more about how free markets work 

Milton Friedman won the Nobel Prize for economics in 1976. He holds a PhD from Columbia University and was an economic advisor to Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. He has written over 11 books about economics and individual freedom.

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Free to Choose

The Classic Inquiry Into the Relationship Between Freedom and Economics

Von Milton Friedman
  • Lesedauer: 15 Minuten
  • 9 Kernaussagen
Free to Choose: The Classic Inquiry Into the Relationship Between Freedom and Economics von Milton Friedman
Worum geht's

Free to Choose (1980) explores the relationship between freedom and the choices an individual is allowed to make in regards to the economy. Friedman reveals to us that economic freedom is an essential part of liberty. He details the myriad ways in which government regulations and interventions chip away at our fundamental right to make decisions in our own self-interest.

Kernaussage 1 von 9

Economic control by governments over individuals erodes personal freedom.

When governments attempt to control parts of the economy, it often comes from a well-meaning assumption that they can level the economic playing field, making society fairer.

 However, by controlling the economy, the government are in effect merely controlling the people who operate within it. And as the ability to choose how you spend your own money is essential to human freedom, government intervention actually leads to unfairer societies.

This can be seen with the use of government tariffs to “protect” jobs and workers from “unfair” competition. These tariffs hurt individuals because they reduce consumer choice. They add costs to everyday goods and prevent competition from companies who provide cheaper alternatives. This leads to fewer choices and higher prices.

Since buying from the cheapest source and selling at the highest price benefits every human being, the government is undermining your individual freedom by taking choices away from you.

The government may claim that voters want specific economic regulations. Yet so often after elections, governments spend taxpayer money in ways that may conflict with your own preferences. Aside from voting once at election time, you are not free to choose how the government spends your money. They make the decision for you; and once again your personal freedom is curbed.

Historically, the highest levels of free market economic activity correspond with the largest amount of individual freedom. Compare India in 1947 and Japan in 1867. In these years, massive political change allowed these nations to pursue the chance to massively expand their economies. Japan dismantled its feudal structure, increased social and economic freedom and relied on free markets. Conversely, India raised taxes, heavily restricted business operations, and controlled wages and prices. Where Japan relied on efficiency to dictate development, India relied on bureaucratic planning.

There was no question which route was best. Japan flourished, and its free population grew richer, whereas the economy of India stagnated and its population remained poor.

 

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