In 1977, Bob Chitester was General Manager of WQLN, the public television station in Erie, Pennsylvania. He had an idea to produce a television series as a response to an earlier book and television series, The Age of Uncertainty, by the economist John Kenneth Galbraith. Bob met with Nobel-Laureate economist Milton Friedman and his wife, Rose. He convinced them to help create a television series based on Milton’s work, and Free to Choose was born. The format had Milton traveling worldwide and narrating a selection of success and failure stories in history, which he attributes to free-market capitalism or the lack thereof.
Milton and Rose owned a summer home in rural Vermont. They named it CAPITAF, a portmanteau made from the title of Milton’s book, Capitalism and Freedom. After filming Free to Choose, they spent time at Capitaf to review what they had done for the show. They took that information and wrote the book Free to Choose: A Personal Statement.
Eventually, Bob left WQLN and started his own company, Free To Choose Network. He and the company continued with the work he started when he first approached the Friedmans. Milton and Rose continued to be part of that journey.
Some years after the deaths of the Friedmans and after Capitaf had changed ownership several times, Bob arranged for his company to purchase the property. Bob turned Capitaf into a one-of-a-kind educational space for learning and discussing Friedman’s ideas and the many public policy issues that citizens in a free society grapple with every day. Much of Friedman’s work on monetary theory was developed here. The work done here by Milton and Rose changed the world.
Students and faculty from illustrious schools such as Dartmouth, University of Arkansas, Florida State University, Lindenwood University, and more have spent time at Capitaf in its intense educational environment. Residential colloquiums at Capitaf fill the summer season. Capitaf is the perfect venue for sharing Friedman’s ideas with those aspiring to follow his example.
Bob Chitester started Milton’s Own Vermont Products to support efforts at Capitaf. The seeds of this idea grew out of Milton’s hobby of making maple syrup from the trees on the property. Bob died in May 2021, and Milton’s Own is liquidating its inventory of maple syrup, maple sugar, and sweet and savory maple sugar blends. All profits from the sales of these products will be used to underwrite a memorial at Capitaf for Bob. Your support through purchases and sharing this with your friends is much appreciated.
All of us at Chitester Creative Associates (another one of Bob’s companies)