Literature Study GuidesCapitalism And Freedom

Capitalism and Freedom | Study Guide

Milton Friedman

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "Capitalism and Freedom Study Guide." Course Hero. 13 Jan. 2019. Web. 2 Oct. 2023. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2019, January 13). Capitalism and Freedom Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved October 2, 2023, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2019)



Course Hero. "Capitalism and Freedom Study Guide." January 13, 2019. Accessed October 2, 2023.


Course Hero, "Capitalism and Freedom Study Guide," January 13, 2019, accessed October 2, 2023,



Milton Friedman

Year Published





Economics, Philosophy

At a Glance

Milton Friedman wrote Capitalism and Freedom in response to the worldwide trend toward developing socialist societies. In these societies centralized governments exercise significant control over the economic and social activities of their citizens. Socialist economic policies were the mainstream at the time Friedman wrote Capitalism and Freedom, and his book was criticized harshly by reviewers for being unorthodox at the time of its publication. For example, economist Leon Keyserling (1908–87) declared, "Despite considerable pretense to the contrary, Professor Friedman's book sheds no light on economic problems as such." The silence of major publications with dedicated review sections was, to Friedman, also indicative of the hostility toward his work at the time of its publication. What does he argue for that is so radical? Friedman attempts to persuade his audience that the preservation of individual freedom is better served by limiting the scope and power of government activities.

The relevance of views like Friedman's today is clear. At the time of Capitalism and Freedom's publication both the United States and the United Kingdom were pushing for more government regulation. In current times the political will is often aimed at deregulation and reduction of costly social welfare programs. For example, in late 2017 the research group The Brookings Institute created a website to track the "major deregulatory ambitions" of President Donald Trump's administration. Friedman himself notes in his prefaces to newer editions of Capitalism and Freedom what he sees as positive trends away from extensive government regulation. How much this trend has do to with Friedman's work is not clear. New York Times Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman (b. 1953), on the occasion of Friedman's death, wrote that "the great swing back toward laissez-faire policies," or economic policies with a minimal amount of governmental interference, "would have happened even if there had been no Milton Friedman ... his tireless and brilliantly effective campaign ... surely helped accelerate the process."

About the Title

The words capitalism and freedom feature in the title because Friedman argues there is a substantial connection between the two. He claims capitalist societies will necessarily be free societies.


This study guide for Milton Friedman's Capitalism and Freedom offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

Buy this book from
Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Capitalism and Freedom? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!