Mason mentioned this television program in the July LC thread and talked about how it changed his perspective things. Using the power of the internet, I was able to watch also. The series is excellent.
Friedman himself is an unquestionable genius. The skill he shows in answering questions and grasping what is really going on is truly impressive. The series was produced in 1980. It's really shocking to see how different the world was back then, and not just the hairstyles. A big part of the theme is free trade, and the advantages it holds over protectionism.
Half of the episode is Friedman on locations talking about issues and explaining them wonderfully. The second half is him fielding questions and strong criticisms from politicians, CEOs, labor organizers, other economists, etc. How many people today could get governors or CEOs of major firms on their show and have them actually talk about issues and not just spout talking points?
Friedman himself is a very interesting guy. He states that the purpose of this series is to show the ordinary people the advantages of freedom. He is a strong believer in that, but as Krugman
points out, he doesn't take it "too far". He's not dogmatic or absolutist like many of his followers. In short, I think everyone will enjoy the series and I think we can make a lot of observations and discussion.
I'm picturing this thread as follows. I'll link an episode (there are 10), we'll watch it and discuss for a couple of days and then I'll link another one and repeat. You're gonna want to watch just to see who shows up on the distinguished panel of guests (future cabinet members!). I'm a little bit nervous about starting this now as I'll be out of town this week and don't want to pull a TomDemaine. But it's so good I'm eager to hear the thoughts of the many brilliant politards in here.
Without further adieu,
Episode 1: Power of the Market