#EconlibReads: Capitalism and Freedom
By Amy Willis
If you’ve been following our new online reading group program, #EconlibReads, on Facebook or twitter, you may have noticed we started reading a new book this week. For most of July, we’ll be talking about Milton Friedman’s classic Capitalism and Freedom. The conversation is heating up, and we hope you’ll consider joining this super fun conversation.
Below are some of the questions we’ve posted thus far:
- How can government be BOTH necessary to preserving our freedom AND a threat to our freedom??? “How can we benefit from the promise of government while avoiding the threat to freedom?” (page 2)
- Let’s take one of Friedman’s own questions… How could the freedom to advocate capitalism be preserved and protected in a socialist society? (p. 16)
- Why is economic power easier to decentralize than political power, according to Friedman? To what extent are you convinced by his reasoning?
- What are the basic roles of government in a free society, according to Friedman? Does he miss any? How clearly defined are the roles he DOES lay out?
- On page 7, Friedman notes the rise of the idea of “democratic socialism,” (sound familiar???) an idea he calls a “delusion.” WHY does he believe that, “a society which is socialist cannot be democratic, in the sense of guaranteeing individual freedom?” (page 8)
- On pages 15-16 Friedman asserts that it’s more difficult to decentralize political power than economic. Is Friedman right? Why?
- On page 31, Friedman writes, “…neighborhood effects may justify a city park; they do not justify a national park…” What’s the difference between the two for him, and why do neighborhood effects justify one but not the other???
Stay tuned; there are many more to come!