JANUARY 29, 2007, DECLARED MILTON FRIEDMAN DAY
90-minute PBS Television Documentary
THE POWER OF CHOICE: The Life and Ideas of Milton Friedman
Nobel prize-winner Dr. Milton Friedman, who passed away November 16, 2006, at the age of 94, was perhaps the most influential economist of the 20th Century, and the impact of his ideas will extend far into the future. To honor the man, and to recognize his influence and examine its full import, January 29, 2007 is being declared Milton Friedman Day — a celebration of the economist’s positive impact on American life and business, and the spread of the benefits of free markets to nations around the globe.
On Monday, January 29, at 10:00 p.m. (check local listings), PBS will premiere The Power of Choice: The Life and Ideas of Milton Friedman, an exclusive documentary on the remarkable life and visionary ideas of Milton Friedman. Produced for PBS by Free to Choose Media, it will give viewers a new understanding of the magnitude of this legendary economist’s influence on our modern world.
This 90-minute documentary examines the life of this brilliantly intelligent man who dared to push forward his theories against almost universal opposition, and whose courage and determination changed the world in countless ways. Through interviews with leading economists and policy makers including Alan Greenspan, Nobel Laureates Paul Samuelson and Gary Becker, and the first freely elected Prime Minister of Estonia, Mart Laar, “The Power of Choice” shows how Friedman’s championing of choice in business and economic practices has led to societies with both greater liberty and economic development for the vast majority of citizens. As Friedman said, “The society that puts equality before freedom will end up with neither. The society that puts freedom before equality will end up with a great measure of both.”
This unique documentary illustrates how the ideas of this once outrageous, yet innovative thinker are now part of the fabric of everyday life. While his ideas are taken for granted today, Friedman introduced them to an outcry within the field of economics and in the world of public policy. As Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan once said of Dr. Friedman, “There are very few people over the generations who have ideas that are sufficiently original to materially alter the direction of civilization. Milton is one of those very few people.”
“The story of Milton Friedman’s life and influence can only be accurately told by exploring his science and showing the impact his ideas have had on the world stage,” said Executive Producer Robert Chitester. “To bring life to Dr. Friedman’s ideas, we have taken our cameras to Estonia, Chile, England, and throughout the United States. We have interviewed people whose lives and destinies have been changed — for the better — through the implementation of one man’s ideas.”
“The Power of Choice” begins with an introduction of Milton Friedman and his wife and fellow economist, Rose (who grew up in Portland). As this section of the documentary recounts, their relationship influenced the development of ideas that changed the U.S. and world economies.
In addition to airing the documentary, Milton Friedman Day will include debates at universities and institutions across the country to explore the role of free markets in the economic growth that has improved people’s lives and expanded business opportunities worldwide. Students will also debate the relationship of the economic freedom Friedman espoused to the flourishing of personal and political freedom.
Milton Friedman Day will also be observed through blogs and an online discussion, hosted by The Economist, which will include leading economists and public officials.
“The Power of Choice: The Life and Ideas of Milton Friedman” was produced by Free to Choose Media, a non-profit 501(c)(3) public foundation whose mission is to use easily understood and entertaining popular media to reach inquisitive minds regarding the value and interrelationship of personal, economic and political freedom sustained by the rule of law.
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Imagine one day you were told that by law you no longer can lock your home. As you leave your house, two suspicious people are sitting on your front porch. So you get your kitchen broom and shoo them away. But they are still in front of your house on the sidewalk (legally not on your property). You call the police. They file a report and promise to monitor the situation. You eventually have to leave your home to run errands. When you come back, your computer that you use to run your business is gone. While you are confident that the folks you ran off your porch and who witnessed you leaving are the culprits, the police inform you that they found no fingerprints. Therefore, they aren’t sure if you simply misplaced your own computer. (more…)