Capitalism And Freedom Friedman Analysis

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In his book, Capitalism and Freedom, Milton Friedman presents himself as a fervent advocate of modern capitalism and the need of a free-market economy without coercion from the states. This essay will present my opinion of how modern capitalism and political freedom do not always go hand-in-hand, and how different forms of coercion still exist in a free-market economy.
In chapter 1, Friedman asserts that capitalism is a necessary but not sufficient condition for political freedom. While he acknowledges that not all capitalist states are politically free, he argues that no societies will be “free” without enforcing capitalism. Friedman then draws historical examples from the rise of political freedom in the 19th century and how it seems to coincide
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Most individuals in modern societies are in no way self-sufficient and cannot produce for themselves (so as to “free” them from coercion) because it would require much more resources and / or efforts, compared to the alternatives of participating in the exchanges of good and services. Moreover, in a capitalist economy, there exists a separation between labor and capital, which means that there will be a labor force without sufficient capital to “choose” not to put its labor into the market (participating in the exchange). In other words, many people, especially lower-income individuals, can’t afford not to work because they have to fend for themselves and their family. In this case, the number of choices that they have are essentially zero, and when there is no choice there is coercion. Lastly, while Friedman admits the problem of monopolies, as they “inhibit effective freedom by denying individuals’ alternatives to the particular exchange”, he does not realize that in this country where the richest 1% own one-third of the nation’s wealth, the majority of people does not have much choices other than work (sell their labor) to the few owners of capital. In a nutshell, the real-life situation is very much different from the hypothetical simple-exchange market that Friedman proposes. People in a real capitalist economy do have to work if they want to survive.
In closing, there are flaws in Friedman’s arguments about the relationship between political freedom and economic freedom, as well as the possibility of a free-market economy being non-coercive to all individuals. While in some cases, capitalism might be the answer to economic and political freedom, it certainly is not the only

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