In The Joy of Freedom: An Economist's Odyssey (Prentice Hall, 2001), Hoover fellow David R. Henderson shows how freeing the economy from government intervention would actually result in higher quality and lower costs for everything from health care to education.
If he had his way, Henderson would eliminate Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the military draft, compulsory unionism, the minimum wage, professional licensing for everyone from doctors to manicurists, mandatory school attendance, and taxes for public education—and both individuals and the economy would be better for it.
"This is a book about freedom, how well freedom works and how government, by crushing freedom, messes up our lives," says Henderson. Milton Friedman has written that The Joy of Freedom "is passionate and eloquent, yet at the same time, thoughtful, informed, and profound."
In The Joy of Freedom, Henderson brings to life his economic principles by relating his personal journey that led him to his set of beliefs. Along the way, he also offers completely new perspectives on well-known events, such as the race riots in Detroit in 1964 and Rosa Parks's refusal to move to the back of the bus in Alabama.
In chapters covering such important issues of the day as racism, the environment, education, and health care, Henderson marshals solid economic theory and history, as well as real-life examples of his own and others, to prove that government intervention—in the United States and around the globe—makes matters worse. Henderson shows how free markets, left to seek their own self-interest, would lead to better results in all these areas.
"For me, economics has always been the joyous science," writes Henderson in The Joy of Freedom. "It says that a good deal of freedom is necessary for prosperity, which means that not only can you have freedom, but also that you get prosperity as a bonus."
David R. Henderson, a research fellow with the Hoover Institution, is also an associate professor of economics at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. His writing focuses on public policy, making economic issues and analyses clear and interesting to general audiences. He is the editor of The Fortune Encyclopedia of Economics (Warner Books, 1993), a book that communicates to a general audience what and how economists think.
The Hoover Institution, founded at Stanford University in 1919 by Herbert Hoover, who went on to become the 31st president of the United States, is an interdisciplinary research center for advanced study on domestic and international affairs.