Episode 7 – Milton Friedman Speaks – Is Tax Reform Possible? (Podcast)

Why do Americans pay more in taxes than they really want to? Can they do anything about it? Americans must understand that their true tax burden is what the government spends, regardless of how that spending is financed. If government spending goes up faster than prices in general, the real tax burden increases. Simplifying the system is far from easy, but the real defect is not in the tax system anyway, but in the budget structure. Our only hope for tax reduction is in establishing constitutional provisions that will set limits on government spending. Nonetheless, spending keeps increasing despite growing …

Share
Continue Reading

Episode 6 – Milton Friedman Speaks – Money and Inflation (Podcast)

Inflation is blamed on many things but it has only one cause. It is a monetary phenomenon. Inflation occurs when the quantity of money increases faster than the quantity of goods. Why does the money supply increase? Very often it does so to enable the government to pay its bills without raising taxes. There’s only one real cure for inflation. It is a cure that’s easy to describe but difficult to apply. The government must reduce spending and print less money. The alternatives are both recession and double-digit inflation. In Milton Friedman’s own words, “Inflation is a disease. It’s a …

Share
Continue Reading

Episode 5 – Milton Friedman Speaks – What is Wrong with the Welfare State? (Podcast)

The welfare state is an attempt to “do good” with someone else’s money. The aim may be worthy but the means are faulty. The problem is that you do not spend someone else’s money as carefully as your own. More to the point, it’s impossible to “do good” with someone else’s money without first taking it away from someone else. That implies coercion—the use of bad means to corrupt the good ends of the welfare state. Welfare programs implicitly encourage competition for government funds and create unfortunate divisions and antagonisms in our society that erode individual freedom. We must find …

Share
Continue Reading

Episode 4 – Milton Friedman Speaks – The Role of Government in a Free Society (Podcast)

If we are to define the role of government in a free society, we must first specify the needs a government is expected to provide. Defense from foreign enemies and protection of property, including the enforcement of private contracts, are clearly legitimate functions of government. But when we come to two other functions of government—providing a substitute for voluntary cooperation when it appears impossible to achieve, and providing for irresponsible individuals— the justification is much less clear-cut. In a free society people should be able to take risks but should not be able to force others to pay the consequences. …

Share
Continue Reading

Episode 3 – Milton Friedman Speaks – Is Capitalism Humane? (Podcast)

Is Capitalism humane? According to Milton Friedman, the question is irrelevant. Capitalism per se is not humane or inhumane; nor is Socialism. If we compare the two in terms of results, it is clear that only capitalism fosters equality and works toward social justice. The one is based on the principle of voluntary cooperation and free exchange, the other on force of position and power. In a free economy, it is hard to do good. You either have to use your own hard-earned money to do it or work hard to persuade others to your course. But by the same …

Share
Continue Reading

Episode 2 – Milton Friedman Speaks – Myths That Conceal Reality (Podcast)

According to Milton Friedman, five myths cloud our perception of both the past and the present. (1) The “robber baron” myth which holds that in late nineteenth-century America there were powerful men who became rich at the expense of the poor. The reality is that they became wealthy by being productive, and that there is no other period in history which saw such a rapid and widespread improvement in the well-being of the average individual. (2) The myth that the Great Depression was caused by a failure of business. It was, in fact, produced by a failure of government and …

Share
Continue Reading

Episode 1 – Milton Friedman Speaks – What Is America? (Podcast)

Is America still the land of opportunity or is it a land worn thin showing much bureaucracy and less freedom? Dr. Friedman’s view of America’s present situation is not sanguine. He identifies the chief problem and its corollary solution: We must restore the prestige and influence of the single mechanism most responsible for America’s greatness— the free market. Our greatest defense against becoming over-governed is the free market. In the words of Milton Friedman, “(I ask) whether America is the land of opportunity which produced over the past two hundred years the greatest freedom and prosperity for the widest range …

Share
Continue Reading

Free To Choose: The Original 1980 TV Series – Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video!

Milton Friedman’s groundbreaking Free To Choose series brought his ideas of individual and economic freedom to millions in 1980. Now, in honor of what would have been his 106th birthday, we are bringing those principles to even more by making it available on Amazon Prime. His most well-known legacy is now easily accessible, and streaming on one of the world’s largest video platforms.

ifatAbout Free To Choose: The Original 1980 TV Series:
Free To Choose® is the ground-breaking PBS television series featuring Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize-winning economist. These programs, filmed on location around the world, have helped millions of people understand the close relationship between the ideas of human freedom and economic freedom. The interaction between those ideas has created in the U.S. the richest and freest society the world has ever known. Milton Friedman sees this success threatened by the tendency in the last few decades to assume that government intervention is the answer to all problems. In these programs, which first aired on January 11, 1980, Dr. Friedman focuses on basic principles. How do markets work? Why has socialism failed? Can government help economic development? The 1980 version consists of 10 one-hour programs.

Share
Continue Reading

From the Founder: Time & Timelessness by Bob Chitester

Time. With on-the-half-hour and -hour scheduling of broadcast and cable TV channels. With the demands of meeting deadlines over the twelve months needed to complete a TV documentary. With the decreasing attention span of viewers (inversely related to age) calling for shorter and more memorable videos. Our lives at izzit.org and Free To Choose Network are driven by “time.”

I’ve asked Tara Schupp, our chief operating officer, to put together an article for the next newsletter that will give you a sense of how we manage time in bringing together the inputs necessary to create TV documentaries and education modules. The same systems approach is also used in building our expanding distribution network.

There are two other aspects of “time” that, although intangible, are the foundation from which we start the creative process. First, a video of any length should be as “evergreen” as possible. The stories told may “age” in terms of fashion or technology, but the ideas conveyed should be universal in application. Second, to introduce a new idea or suggest changing an established doctrine is a long-term process.

Milton Friedman challenged my focus on television. “Bob, anyone who can be persuaded by an hour TV program, can be dissuaded by another TV program the next night.” I countered that the series would help sell the book, which chapter by chapter followed the themes of the series, and it has sold tens of millions worldwide. As producers we place enormous value on productions that are evergreen, that like Free To Choose can be effectively communicating basic principles decades after their release.

Milton also came to see how, properly crafted, a video can surprise viewers with a new way to think about ideas they believe they understand or have previously rejected. Johan Norberg does this every week with his Dead Wrong vlog. We also do a weekly blog, drawing on the hundreds of hours of videos in our archives. These online products build brands and celebrity by “visiting” viewers every week in a format consistent with shortened attention spans.

The individual also requires time to shape a world view, and even more time to adapt or change that perspective. One of my favorite quotes is from a “hippie” book, The Aquarian Conspiracy by Marilyn Ferguson: “No one can persuade another to change. Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside. We cannot open the gate of another, either by argument or emotional appeal.”

Ferguson, like many, was blinded to reality by a powerful image of a peace-and-love utopia. Yet in this quote, she points to Jonathan Haidt’s recent research that supports our contention that appeals to emotion must be the starting point for increasing understanding and acceptance of a world based on the winning ideas of freedom. That—and acceptance of the timelessness of the effort—should pay dividends if we are wise, patient and persistent.

Share
Continue Reading

Milton’s Legacy Lives On….

In 2015 the L.E. Phillips Family Foundation sponsored and named a puppy for The Seeing Eye® dog organization. That puppy has grown tremendously in the last 2 years, not only in size but also in responsibility. Rightfully named, Milton! We are pleased to share that Milton has passed his rigorous training and graduated. Milton is now working in Kansas helping others see what they cannot, just like the iconic Milton Friedman he was named after.

Share
Continue Reading