Reflection on Friedman"S Capitatism and Freedom

In: Social Issues

Submitted By Sandman92
Words 1117
Pages 5
Milton Friedman continues to be hailed as one of the most influential economists of the twentieth century. In the excerpt from his book “Capitalism and Freedom”, Friedman develops his belief that economic freedom is not only an end in itself, but that it is absolutely necessary to achieve and sustain political freedom and he argues that the best foundation for maintaining freedom is competitive capitalism. However, I would respectfully argue herein, that Friedman's core beliefs with regards to his faith in capitalism and his concept for sustaining freedom, are limited if not flawed.
Friedman's argument is that the individual is supreme and self-determination is at the heart of one's own economic, political and civil freedoms. He defines economic freedom as the ability to exchange goods and services without government interference, thus giving “people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want”(7). He concludes that competitive capitalism serves to co-ordinate mutually beneficial transactions without coercion, provided simply that the ultimate people transacting are individual and enter into the transaction voluntarily. Maybe in a perfect unchanging world this simple equation would be sufficient. Freedom is very frustrating and complicated. Economic freedom today is complex and often elusive, but critical to providing our basic life-sustaining needs.
Friedman fails to address whether the conditions necessary to achieve his coercion-free state are indeed equally favorable and fair to all. He fails to address the variables such as location, culture and heritage, gender, education, health and health care, natural resources, food and shelter, etc., that affect our ability to achieve this freedom. Freedom is not merely the absence of coercion but also involves the equal opportunity for every citizen to compete fairly in a very…...

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