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Learn the key ideas of the book by Milton Friedman , Rose Friedman

Free to Choose

The Free Market: the only way to guarantee freedom and prosperity

Free to Choose aims to show that the free market is the only possible way for society to evolve and become wealthy. Government intervention in the economy stifles any attempt at initiative, and leads to a centralisation of power that seems almost dangerous in a system that calls itself democratic. People, on the other hand, must be free to consume and do business, without being obstructed by public authority.

Free to Choose
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The economic system of a country should be based on cooperation through voluntary exchange

In order to be free and prosper, a society must be made up of people who cooperate, voluntarily, with each other, while also pursuing their own personal interests. As a matter of fact, working towards personal gain has positive effects on the entire community. 

The simple production of a pencil, for example, involves thousands of people offering their services in exchange for payment. Many of these people will never see the finished product, they will not know exactly what they are working on, they don’t know each other, and they probably speak different languages and practice different religions. Yet their cooperation allows the pencil to be made and subsequently bought; which is why all economic activity needs to be based on this kind of exchange. After all, the father of modern economics, Adam Smith, has always advocated this idea, especially in his book, The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776.

If we look at the bigger picture, it is clear that the economy is not the only system based on cooperation between individuals pursuing their own interests; let us consider language, for example. The origins and subsequent evolution of language are the result of intensive communication between individuals, which was never coerced or planned, and people involved in the conversation benefit from coming to an agreement about which words to use. Scientific knowledge follows the same principle: academics collaborate with each other because they find it mutually beneficial for their respective research. These two cases disprove the belief that self-interest is always materialistic and selfish; in reality, it can also serve other values that go far beyond a person’s bank account.


The key ideas of "Free to Choose"

The economic system of a country should be based on cooperation through voluntary exchange
Heavy government intervention in economic activity leads to poverty and underdevelopment
The Wall Street Crash of 1929 was not caused by private enterprise, but by a government that was unable to take effective measures to protect its citizens
Welfare programmes, even with the best intentions, inhibit initiative and fail to truly benefit the community
The concept of “equality of outcome” has recently emerged in the United States and other countries, but although it is based on equality, it has proven unrealistic and counterproductive
A centralised school system penalises people who live in less affluent areas and who have limited economic means
The strong desire to protect consumers by creating specialised institutions has ended up damaging the entire community and impeding economic growth
The idea of personal and economic freedom is a pillar of American culture, and must be the foundation of any strategy to revive the country
Take-home message

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