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|Capitalism and Freedom, by Milton Friedman. This short, concise, readable and powerful 1962 book originated in a series of 1950s lectures by Nobel Prize winner Friedman in which he explained the critical linkage between economic and political freedoms. You don't have to be an economics major to understand Friedman's forceful arguments that free and competitive markets, rather than government programs, best address societal issues such as discrimination, poverty and education. Friedman maintains that governments should focus on their most legitimate roles--a court system, law and order, defense, and the setting of the ground rules in society--and then encourage vigorous private competition. In today's world it is not uncommon for people who want to improve the economic plight of the poor to implicitly believe that government programs intended to help the poor will actually have that result. While Friedman would like to reduce poverty, ignorance and discrimination as much as anyone else, he has the rare courage and independence to advocate that which economic theory suggests are the most effective solutions, not necessarily the most popular. I first read this book 30 years ago, and it's no exaggeration to say that it fundamentally challenged my thinking.||
"Milton Friedman is one of the nation's outstanding economists, distinguished for remarkable analytical powers and technical virtuosity. He is unfailingly enlightening, independent, courageous, penetrating, and above all stimulating."