FRIEDMAN, Milton & Rose.

Free to Choose.

A Personal Statement.

New York & London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980 Stock Code: 141104

Presentation copy to the British economist Lionel Robbins

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First edition, first printing, presentation copy to the British economist Lionel Robbins and his wife, inscribed on the title page by both authors: "Milton's hand: For Iris & Lionel, with our very best, Milton Rose's hand: & Rose Jan. 5, 1980". An excellent economics provenance: Robbins (1898-1984), along with Keynes, was the leading British economist during the inter-war period; at the London School of Economics, he "dominated the economics department for thirty years and built it up to its pre-eminent position in British economics" (ODNB). Milton Friedman was less shaped by Robbins's thought and teachings than many of his British contemporaries, but all economic thought in the period was deeply affected by Robbins's work. Friedman and Robbins were both founding members at the Mont Pelerin Society in 1947, and in his and Rose's memoirs Milton praises Robbins's "genius" in drafting the statement of aims that was acceptable to all members, save Maurice Allais (Two Lucky People, p. 161). Aside from their shared economics profession, the Friedman and Robbins couples were friends for many years - Rose recalls in the memoirs that "I had met Lionel Robbins, not yet a Lord, many years earlier from 1953 when he was visiting Aaron Rose's brother in Washington. Lionel and Iris visited us in Cambridge and we had many visits with them in London" (ibid., p. 249). Even so, they did have intellectual differences - Robbins once told Lord Boyle in the House of Lords: "I am not a Friedmanite monetarist. I do not believe in tying one arm behind my back when coping either with inflation or deflation" (ibid. p. 129).

Free to Choose was the companion book to Friedman's ten-part PBS series of the same title, which investigated various regions, historical events, and social issues from the perspective that laissez-faire economics is the most effective and fair way to manage societies. The series and book were a response to John Kenneth Galbraith's earlier documentary The Age of Uncertainty, and both proved extremely popular, with the book remaining on the best-seller list for five weeks. It did much to help popularize neoliberal economics, a valuable impetus in Reagan's successful election bid several months after publication.

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Octavo. Original black quarter cloth, red sides, spine lettered in gilt. With the dust jacket.


Slight lean to spine, else a near-fine copy in very good jacket, toned and a little creased.


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