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Subject:  Week 4- Friedman's Capitalism and Freedom Date:  8/25/2012  8:59 AM
Author:  tabs101 Number:  23717 of 23810

For week four, I am going to focus on chapter 1 of Milton Friedman’s classic “Capitalism and Freedom”. (sorry, it took me a few posts to choose a reading. I learned a lesson. Stick with the classics!)

Can any kind of political arrangement lead to material prosperity? Is it possible to combine successfully a political system that focuses on liberty with an economic system that does not? In pargraph one of chaptet one, Friedman calls the views of those who advocate for “democratic socialism” a “delusion”. He continues to assert that “a society which is socialist cannot also be democratic”.

One of the themes highlighted by my reading of Locke and Bentham is that freedom for the individual living in society cannot be absolute. What constraints can be placed on individual freedom without making life in society worse than life outside of society?

In this text, Friedman is going to argue for the least restrictive political and economic environment. In paragraph two, he makes the point that when government tries to place economic restrictions on people, it often does so by severely restricting the liberty that remains.

In the debates this summer over the Affordable Care Act, this type of thinking was expressed regularly by critics of the law. To some, this law represented a violation of their “essential freedom.” But, as Bentham illustrated, vague language illustrates vague thinking. What is an essential freedom? Who decides?

Friedman argues that economic restrictions are the same as political restrictions. Again, he claims, those who make this distinction are misguided.

When an American is forced by law to save for retirement in a government run savings plan, is he restricted differently than if he were told he could not practice certain aspects of his religion? This “deprivation”, one economic and one religious, is equivalent, he states. Yet, many are willing