Free to Choose: A Personal Statement, by Milton and Rose Friedman. New York: Avon Books. $2.95.

"Free to Choose" is not a beautifully written book. Rather, its prose is short, fast, and functional. The Friedmans believe that free-market capitalism is the answer. They are convinced, after years of study, that when individual self-interest is allowed to go its own way in a free market, it solves not only economic problems, but also political ones -- education, consumer protection, environmental protection, worker protection; and that when the government lays its leaden hand on the wondrously subtle and complex free market, except in a few specific cases, it hopelessly bollixes the whole system.

Ultimately, nothing in the book is more fundamental to the Friedmans' case than this contention: that self-interest is a noble force, that its influence ought to be s et free.

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