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Cooperation and the Milton Friedman Centennial

By Max Borders
Published on Friday, April 01, 2011

Organizations advancing liberty understand markets. We know that any value can be exchanged for any other value. Collaboration and cooperation are the essence of voluntary association. And the values that can be traded among liberty-minded organizations are an untapped treasure trove of opportunity.

One such opportunity among is the coming centennial of Milton Friedman's birth. Working together on this event could make a big impact. But hold on: How effective is cooperation?

Creating the Win-Win

Consider a small example of how collaboration between two like-minded organizations led to each advancing liberty. In an agreement struck between the Acton Institute and Free To Choose Network, the organizations agreed to trade high-quality video for use in each group's own distribution efforts. The Acton Institute used clips from The Ultimate Resource and The Power of the Poor documentaries in its new project. Free To Choose Network repurposed portions of Call of the Entrepreneur for a classroom teaching unit distributed via its educational initiative.

"The win-win relationship that Acton and Free to Choose have entered into [...] promotes political and economic freedom," wrote Acton's executive director Kris Mauren. "To borrow a line from Casablanca, ‘I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.'"

We agree. The project based on Acton's material is one of our most-requested teaching units, From Poop to Profits - with 8,308 DVDs shipped as of this writing.

More than 8,000 U.S. teachers are talking about freedom and entrepreneurship with their students. You do the math. From this exchange, we learned a powerful lesson about cooperation. This year alone, FTCN has engaged in similar efforts with the Pacific Research Institute, Moving Picture Institute, Hoover Institution and others.

Milton Friedman's Century - An Opportunity for Mega-collaboration

2012 will be the centennial of Milton Friedman's birth. In such a critical year, we at FTCN saw it as our responsibility to hold a celebration. Not just any celebration - an international effort to honor the man, his ideas and his impact on the world. The goal? Maximum exposure for the principles Friedman embodied.

To pull it off, we'll need near-universal participation from organizations like yours. There's no such thing as a free lunch, but participating isn't too costly. See sidebar for information and contact details to join.  In our view, no celebration could be too big for a man who helped millions, maybe billions, out of poverty. And our theory is, if more people knew about Milton Friedman and his work, more people would come to venerate the institutions of a free society.

One lone voice shouting from the rooftops may cause only a couple of heads to turn. A hundred voices can be a resounding chorus ready to sing, and spread, Friedman's message of freedom.

As we roll out thousands of MPI's short film 2081 this month for teachers in our Izzit network, we'll be building on a foundation laid by cooperation. And as we look to 2012, we'll be looking forward to your participation in Milton Friedman's Century. Planning starts now.

Max Borders is executive editor at Free To Choose Network. Reach him at


Milton Friedman's Century - Pledge to Participate

You have 365 days to choose from in 2012. Which day(s) will you participate?

Step One is to choose a tentative month or date(s) of participation.

Step Two is to let Free to Choose know how you'll participate. Your organization can:

o   write and publish at least one Friedman themed op-ed.

o   screen the documentary Free or Equal, with Johan Norberg.

o   invite a speaker to talk about Prof. Friedman and his ideas.

o   do something unique for Milton Friedman's Century.

Step Three: Email us your participation plans at, or mail FTCN - MFC, 2002 Filmore Avenue, Suite 1, Erie, PA 16506.

Upon receipt, we'll add your info to our Milton Friedman's Century calendar. There you'll be able to see how the rest of the world is celebrating.


About SPN

State Policy Network is made up of free market think tanks - at least one in every state - fighting to limit government and advance market-friendly public policy at the state and local levels. SPN and our members make the Founders' vision for the American Republic a reality as the nation's only 50-state distribution network for market-oriented public policy ideas. Our programs advance and defend American liberty and free enterprise by assisting new start-up organizations, growing existing state think tanks, recruiting talent to the think tank industry, developing strategic partnerships, and promoting the free-market state movement. Read More

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