This episode is all about personal and intellectual journeys. Host Russ Roberts welcomes Bob Chitester, the man behind Milton Friedman‘s legendary Free to Choose PBS television series. Chitester describes how that project came to be, and both he and Roberts share many memories of Friedman and his compatriots. It’s a lovely invitation to their trip down memory lane.

What sort of intellectual journey have you been on? How did you come to your beliefs, and have any of them changed over time? If so, what caused them to change? What journey are you inspired to undertake after listening to this episode? How can we fit into your journey?



1- Chitester talks about leverage. What was he trying to leverage with Free to Choose, and to what extent do you think he succeeded? How might this process look in 2020 as compared to that time? How do you think EconTalk might employ this concept of leverage?


2- What made Milton Freidman such an effective communicator? To what extent do you think Friedman would be an equally effective communicator today, and why?


3- Why does Roberts suggest Friedman should be considered a pragmatist in the movement for liberty? To what extent do you agree with this characterization? How successful do you think the movement for liberty has actually been? What would you suggest the liberty movement do today to promite its cause?


4- What issues did Milton Friedman change his mind on, and why? How mainstream do you think Friedman’s ideas have become? Roberts and Chitester tell us that Friedman thought his ideas had not taken hold in the mainstream. Who’s more right?


5- Chitester asserts that poetry has a unique ability to emotionalize ideas, and can at the same time make a serious point about free-market capitalism. How well does the poem he reads achieve this end?


P.S. Have you read Free to Choose and/or Capitalism and Freedom? Which do you think is the better book, and why?


Editor’s note: You can also watch Amy’s “Smith Questionnaire” interview with Chitester at AdamSmithWorks‘s Youtube channel. (Russ Roberts’s, too.)