Bob Chitester: How Free To Choose Changed the World
Forty years ago, PBS (of all networks) gave the libertarian economist Milton Friedman hours in prime time for Free To Choose, an unapologetic defense of why capitalism was both morally and pragmatically superior to socialism. Over the course of 10 hourlong episodes, the Nobel Prize winner laid out the pitfalls of protectionism. espoused the virtues of school choice, and explained why spending, not taxes, is the real measure of the burden that governments put on their citizens.
Long before the internet and YouTube democratized discourse, Friedman showcased an assortment of relatively unknown radical thinkers such as economists Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell while subjecting popular left-wing intellectuals such as democratic socialist Michael Harrington, teachers union head Albert Shanker, and political scientist Frances Fox Piven to withering criticism of their ideas.
Free to Choose has been translated into two dozen languages and a companion book, co-authored by Milton and his wife Rose, became a New York Times bestseller. The show began life as a response to The Age of Uncertainty, a 1977 PBS series hosted by John Kenneth Galbraith, a Harvard professor who had served as ambassador to India and was a leading evangelist for big-governmen
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