Free or Equal: Following Milton Friedman’s Footsteps in China

Free To Choose Network is recirculating this Field Report from 2010-2011, to demonstrate the significance of freedom and Milton Friedman’s journey as we celebrate the Fourth of July.

Report from the Field by Barbara Potter, Field Producer

Every production has its challenges, but this was one we never expected. A long-dormant volcano in Iceland erupted in 2010, and threatened to shut down Free or Equal before filming had even begun.

Jim and I flew to Hong Kong in April, five days before our program host, Johan Norberg, was to arrive. Part of our mission as director and field producer was to find the exact location where Milton had stood in Free To Choose to describe the powerful Hong Kong economy of 1980. We were armed with still frames captured from the then thirty-year-old public television series. That meant taking Johan to some of the most interesting places Milton presented in 1980. Well, if we could get Johan to us. Hong Kong, you see, was our first location. Those first few days, Jim and I worked with a local production assistant named Ho. Ho was himself a producer, who was very familiar with the city and would help us on our search. The most important matching location was an overview of the impressive Hong Kong skyline. The idea was to position Johan just where Milton had been, so that the angle and size of the buildings matched the old footage, and we could see the changes. We knew that we needed to be positioned across Victoria Harbor, shooting from the Kowloon side, but we had no idea how many of the original structures would still be there.


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