Free To Choose
From Critiques Of Libertarianism
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- PBS TV Series "Free to Choose" by Economist Milton Friedman [More...]
- The television version of Free To Choose that preceded the book.
- Discussion Questions For "Free To Choose" [More...]
- Brad DeLong's guide to understanding Free To Choose through questions, the second assignment in his Spring 2012 Econ 1 course at UC Berkeley. The overview points out the skewed idea of freedom being used.
- Is Life Unfair? Milton Friedman and John Rawls [More...]
- John Rawls smacks down Milton Friedman's idea of passivity in the face of inequality.
People smoke in large part because they have been persuaded to. Persuaded by a tobacco culture carefully nurtured by the tobacco industry. Persuaded by an industry that suppressed hazards of smoking for decades after they were known. Persuaded by an industry that knew its product was addictive, and knew it had to addict juveniles to maintain the smoking population. This history is well known from internal tobacco company documents. You can pretend that the word "choose" absolves those corporations from all responsibility: but even libertarians shouldn't accept that. Otherwise, there would be no prohibition against fraud. People must make choices to be defrauded. The folks who invested with Bernard Madoff chose their investments, but that does not absolve Madoff. Nor are tobacco companies absolved because people chose to smoke. Those people were persuaded by an industry that spent enormous amounts on advertising, promotion, and disinformation. The amount they spent shows how critical they felt that persuasion was: that shows their responsibility.
Mike Huben, email July 26, 2009