I just finished reading the book: On Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman. This classic, written by one of the founding fathers of modern economy discusses “competitive capitalism”. As Milton explains it is: “The organization of the bulk of economic activity through private enterprise operating in a free market – as a system of economic freedom and a necessary condition for political freedom.” In doing so, he addresses the role that the government should and needs to play in such an economic system – a minor role (in comparison to today’s role) – that relies on the free market to organize economic activity.
In this context, Milton goes on to discuss the following: The Relation between Economic Freedom and Political Freedom, The Role of Government In a Free Society, The Control of Money, International Financial and Trade Arrangements, Fiscal Policy, The Role of Government In Education, Capitalism and Discrimination, Monopoly and the Social Responsibility of Business and Labor, Occupational Licensure, The Distribution of Income, Social Welfare Measures and Alleviation of Poverty.
What distinguishes this books in the mix of theory and abstract concepts, with the real-life applications and implications. The arguments presented are objective and rational, and defy a lot of the conventional and political wisdom. This is despite the fact that a number of these topics are “hot” political/social debate items such as social security. Milton discusses in depth how such items can be addressed within the competitive capitalism framework, the bigger role the private sector can play, and a retraction in the role of government.
A truly timeless classic, and a must read for anyone interested in the field of economics, the interlude between politics and economics, and liberalism. Highly recommended! If you are interested in additional highlights from the book, read the following wiki article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism_and_Freedom .