How can we benefit from the promise of government while avoiding the threat it poses to individual freedom? In this classic book, the author provides the definitive statement of his economic philosophy--one in which competitive capitalism serves as both a device for achieving economic freedom and a necessary condition for political freedom.… (more)
PlaidStallion: Ben Bernanke said, ‘Among economic scholars, Milton Friedman had no peer.’
From Stanford’s book:
Consider the massive foreign investments that flowed into China (over US$1.8 trillion worth from 2000 through 2013, including Hong Kong), undeterred by that country’s democratic shortcomings. Low-cost, productive, regimented labour; powerful government support for technology and infrastructure; low business taxes; access to what will soon be the world's largest market – these advantages easily outweigh any concerns business executives might have over democratic rights. And corporate promises that foreign investments in China will leverage democratic reforms have proven hollow indeed. Instead, multinational companies have actually helped to maintain the current, immensely profitable state of affairs: for example, by opposing modest labour law reforms adopted in China in the late 2000s, and discouraging the democracy protests that erupted in Hong Kong in 2014.
So, contrary to the claims of philosophical libertarians like Milton Friedman (who equate “freedom” with the right to accumulate private wealth), there is no inherent link whatsoever between capitalism and democracy. Quite the reverse: capitalism demonstrates a natural anti-democratic streak by virtue of the inherent tendency for private wealth, and hence political influence, to be continually concentrated in the hands of a very small proportion of society. Therefore, fighting to protect and expand democratic rights, and rolling back the undue political influence of private wealth, must be an essential part of workers’ broader struggles for a more just economic order.
To Janet and David and their contemporaries, who must carry the torch of liberty on its next lap
In my preface to the 1982 edition of this book, I documented a dramatic shift in the climate of opinion, manifested in the difference between the way this book was treated when it was first published in 1962, and the way my wife's and my subsequent book, Free to Choose, presenting the same philosophy, was treated when it was published in 1980.
The glimmerings of change that are already apparent in the intellectual climate are a hopeful augury.
How can we benefit from the promise of government while avoiding the threat it poses to individual freedom? In this classic book, the author provides the definitive statement of his economic philosophy--one in which competitive capitalism serves as both a device for achieving economic freedom and a necessary condition for political freedom.