Continuing with my financial education, I picked up this book in a store on sale - a Hebrew translation.

Let me start by saying that this is the worse piece of editing/publication I've ever seen. The font is ugly, the paragraphs are scattered without the least care for aesthetics, and the spelling errors... oh the spelling errors. FFS, the book was written in 1979, couldn't they release a normal Hebrew translation since then ? The errors look like scanning errors - letters replaced by letters that look like them. I bet no quality control was present in this printing house - the errors are so obvious...

Ok, ok, enough whining - lets cut to the chase. The book, as its title suggests, is about free economy. Milton Friedman is a known economics prof that holds some very interesting (and somewhat controversial) ideas about the economic market. His basic argument is that everything should be free - he relays on Adam Smith's "The wealth of nations" (I must read this book...), quoting the great economist about the merits of free trade.

Friedman attacks socialism and bureaucracy, and I don't mean the socialism in the USSR (the book was written in 1979...) but the socialism in the western world - US, England, etc. He argues that the govermental control of economics and business is too vast, which brings to a lot of waste, bureaucracy and generally slows down the economic progress.

In fact - this is what this book is mostly about. The author discusses freedom against govermental control in business, monetary markets, education, health, energy, oil, trains, flights... everything. This is, I guess, why some think he's controversial. Some of his ideas are on the verge of anarchy - even I'll have to admit this.

The general idea is sound - economy should be free, only from a free trade between people where each side is interesting in maximizing his own profit, a healthy economy will rise. Govermental control has historically proved to only slow things down and cause a lot of waste by means of feeding a huge bureaucratic machine.

The applications to finance, trade and historical examples are what I really loved in this book. It gave me a lot of food for thought, and helped me to reach a few interesting conclusions about economy. Pity that most of the book deals with the author's personal vendetta against the US goverment - trying to convince the reader how it got it all wrong, starting with Social Security and ending with the Drugs administration. It really started to get boring, and in the end I found myself just flippling through, seeking something new.

To conclude this (as usual) scattered lump of thoughts I call a "book review" - this book has some good sides, but also some bad sides (IMHO, of course). I'm glad I've read it. From the fraction of it I actually enjoyed, I learned things that will help me shape my thoughts about economics and finance, and that's a good thing.


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