Trivia for “Capitalism and Freedom” by Milton Friedman

by Danny Fenster

This chapter is a free excerpt from Quicklet on Capitalism and Freedom.

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  • The Economist was one of the only popular publications to print a review of the book when it was released because  the ideas expressed were so far out of the mainstream at the time. Many of those ideas have made their way into the mainstream since.  
  • More than 400,000 copies were sold in the 18 years after Capitalism and Freedom first publication and another half million since.
  • The book was translated into 18 languages.  
  • Many of the prescribed policies in Capitalism and Freedom are being tested around the world. Estonia and Slovakia have implemented Friedman’s advocated flat tax; the floating exchange rate has been widely used for international trade; Sweden and Chile have experimented with school vouchers.
  • The book made the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s 50 Best Books of the Twentieth Century.
  • The book was listed as the tenth best non-fiction book of the twentieth century by the National Review.
  • Time Magazine included the book in it’s 2011 list of the top 100 non-fiction books written in English since 1923.
  • The book and it’s central ideas, and indeed Milton Friedman himself, were the primary inspiration of best-selling author Naomi Klein’s book The Shock Doctrine, a very critical response to free market ideology.
  • Among academics and economists, Friedman is known more for his analytic and apolitical research, both theoretical and empirical, on topics such as consumption analysis, monetary history and theory and the complexity of stabilization policy. Capitalism and Freedom, written for the layman, is far more politically ideological and controversial.
  • The Economist described Milton Friedman as “the most influential economist of the second half of the 20th century…possibly all of it.”
  • Friedman began, in the 1930s and 1940s, as an advocate of Keynes, whose policies he generally argues against in Capitalism and Freedom, and even supported New Deal policies such as unemployment support.
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