Dr. Andrei Shleifer of Harvard U. recently wrote a paper titled "The age of Milton Friedman". In that paper, he wrote, "In the Age of Milton Friedman, the world economy expanded greatly, the quality of life improved sharply for billions of people, and dire poverty was substantially scaled back. All this while the world embraced free market reforms."
"Amen" to this paper by Shleifer. Free market + less government regulation and taxation of business, but more government protection of private property rights, are indeed among the most important policies not only for rapid economic growth but also for respect of individual freedom. In fact, protection of the citizens' right to life, right to dignity, and right to private property, is the single most important function of government. All other functions are either minor or unnecessary.
Friedman was a believer of individual freedom more than forced equality. Because forcing equality among people would mean pulling down, if not killing, creativity and innovation, and encouraging laziness and personal irresponsibility.