January 23, 2008

Free to choose.

In 1980 Milton Friedman (the Chicago school economist, famous for his promotion of laissez faire economics and winner of the 1976 Nobel prize) made the popular 10-part documentary ‘free to choose’, here I have linked to a website which shows all the episodes for free.

Each episode is divided into two parts. The first 30 minutes consists of examples of free market success or government failure, which Friedman narrating. This bit tends to be a little simplistic, and quite frankly not that interesting.

That second half however consists of a spontaneous debate between about 6 different people from a broad spectrum (e.g. businessman, academic, trade unionist) as they discuss the pros and cons of the free market. While these debates tend to be incoherent and fragmented, it naturally engages you due to the lack of a script sterilising the situation. One nice quote from one of the debaters is shown below:

“ I don’t care about good intentions, brains, integrity. The fact of the matter is that they [the government] aren’t smart enough to manage the wages and prices of every American. They don’t do it well” (Donald Rumsfeld, 2nd episode).

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