Fanning the Flames: The Freedom Project Blog

11.20.2006

Capitalism and Freedom

By Shawn Healy
It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of my intellectual hero, Milton Friedman, last Thursday. Two of his books, Capitalism and Freedom (1962) and Free to Choose (1980), contributed greatly to our belief in free markets as a precondition for political liberty. Other ideas, like school choice and partially privatized social security are just now coming into vogue.

Wherever one stands on the ideological continuum, Friedman's shunning of conventional wisdom and ability to think outside the box is to be commended. His offerings went from "far out" to "mainstream" over the course of his lifetime, and his legacy will live long after he departed the world he influenced so profoundly. Friedman's ability to communicate with non-economists cemented his legacy, speaking and writing in a style that made complex and bold ideas logical, offering common sense solutions to problems we face on a daily basis.

His central thesis in Capitalism and Freedom was that capitalism was the most efficient means of operating an economy. Within this model, producers and consumers are provided with a myriad of choices in each market transaction. Ultimimately, such choices will be desired in the political world, meaning that capitalism and freedom go hand-in-hand. China's experience over the last three decades is a fitting illustration.

Steve Chapman and Robert Samuelson offer fitting tributes to this intellectual giant and one of the three most influential economists of the 20th Century (Keynes and Galbraith are the others). Current policies and proposals modeled after his teachings are representative of the justice through free markets he so tirelessly advocated.

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SHAWN HEALY

Managing Director

McCormick Freedom Project

Shawn is responsible for overseeing and managing the operations associated with the McCormick Freedom Project. Additionally, he serves as the in house content expert and voice of museum through public speaking and original scholarship. Before joining the Freedom Project, he taught American Government, Economics, American History, and Chicago History at Community High School in West Chicago, IL and Sheboygan North High School in Wisconsin.

Shawn is a doctoral candidate within the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he received his MA in Political Science. He is a 2001 James Madison Fellow from the State of Wisconsin and holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science, History, and Secondary Education from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

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About Fanning the Flames and the McCormick Freedom Project


Fanning the Flames is a blog of the McCormick Freedom Project, which was started in 2006 by museum managing director Shawn Healy. The blog highlights the news of the day, in hopes of engaging readers in dialogue about freedom issues. Any views or opinions expressed on this blog represent those of the writers alone and do not represent an official opinion of the McCormick Freedom Project.



Founded in 2005, the McCormick Freedom Project is part of the McCormick Foundation. The Freedom Project’s mission is to enable informed and engaged participation in our democracy by demonstrating the relevance of the First Amendment and the role it plays in the ongoing struggle to define and defend freedom. The museum offers programs and resources for teachers, students, and the general public.


First Amendment journalism initiative


The Freedom Project recently launched a new reporting initiative with professional journalists Tim McNulty and Jamie Loo. The goal is to expand and promote the benefits of lifelong civic engagement among citizens of all ages, through original reporting, commentary and news aggregation on First Amendment and freedom issues. Please visit the McCormick Freedom Project's news Web site, The Post-Exchange at



Dave Anderson
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McCormick Foundation

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Senior Journalist
McCormick Freedom Project


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