One of the best explanations of how individual self-interest can cause coordinated behavior that makes all of us better off is Milton Friedman’s explanation of the making of a pencil. This is one of the great explanations of a basic concept of markets and economic behavior, and I think you’ll enjoy it. It’s pretty short.

On a personal note, I saw Milton Friedman once when I was at the University of Chicago, from a distance as he walked with Gary Becker. Interesting that in my time at Chicago, I saw three Nobel Prize winners: Friedman, Becker, and Ronald Coase.

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