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The Joy of Freedom: An Economist's Odyssey Hardcover – September 24, 2001
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''The joy of freedom is a quasi-autobiographical clarion call of a free society. It is passionate and eloquent, yet at the same time, thoughtful, informed, and profound. A splendid statement of the moral case for a free society, at the same time it is an informed and comprehensive survey of its practical virtues and of the harm done by widespread government intervention'' - Milton Friedman - Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, and Nobel Laureate
From the Back Cover
Freedom. Freedom from government meddling and taxation. Freedom of association. These freedoms are inseparable, and they are the engines of human progress. A simple idea? Perhaps. Yet this simple idea has been responsible for more human happiness than any other.
In The Joy of Freedom, David R. Henderson shines a light on freedom at work in every corner of human life, making the most powerful case for free markets since Milton and Rose Friedman's Free to Choose. Along the way, he demolishes the conventional "wisdom" that has justified government's role in environmental regulation, education, social security, and healthcare; and shows once and for all why government programs perpetuate poverty instead of eliminating it.
Forget the "dismal science": Economist Henderson writes with passion about the joyous science. You will always know where he stands: with freedom, and against tyranny-in any guise.Free and healthy, at half the cost How deregulation and the Internet can make healthcare more competitive-and less expensive Nature's best friend: property rights How property rights are protecting wildlife, from elephants to hawks Interviewing Ralph Nader Nader defends regulations that kill thousands of people every year Governments promote racism and free markets combat it Some fascinating stories on South Africa, the United States, and Schindler's List Beyond public schools: education in a free society The 10 most important things you've learned Free markets: empowering the poor, worldwide Property ownership: the best solution for abolishing hunger and poverty
The world's most powerful idea: for real joy, you need real freedom.
- The strongest arguments for free markets since Milton Friedman's Free to Choose
- A personal manifesto from one of the world's leading economists
- How freedom unleashes extraordinary improvements in every area of human society
The Joy of Freedom: An Economist's Odyssey brings free market economics to life through stories of those who have discovered it in their own lives. David R. Henderson, one of the world's most vigorous advocates of free markets, celebrates those in American society-and around the world-who are fighting to get the government off their backs.
No writer has more masterfully illustrated the centrality of freedom and enlightened self-interest to a well-run economyand a good society. Henderson demonstrates the powerand the potentialof free markets to improve the environment, education, health, community, culture, and every other aspect of life that matters. This plain-speaking book crystallizes the inherent contradictions between government and freedom, showing why even the most well-intentioned governments can deliver nothing but disaster.
For those who already believe in free markets, this book offers powerful ammunition; for those who are skeptical, it will be a revelation."The Joy of Freedom is a quasi-autobiographical clarion call for a free society. It is passionate and eloquent, yet at the same time, thoughtful, informed, and profound. A splendid statement of the moral case for a free society, at the same time it is an informed and comprehensive survey of its practical virtues and of the harm done by widespread government intervention. "Milton Friedman
Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, and Nobel Laureate"Economics, like politics, has its 'great communicators.' David R. Henderson is one of them. A superb lesson from one of the more masterly of our economic teachers." Amity Shlaes,
Columnist on Political Economy, The Financial Times"A dazzling intellectual memoir, a high-level lesson in market economics, a terrific read. "Dan Seligman,
Forbes magazine "A can't-put-it-down read that engages you in story and events.... Here economic principles are not dry theories; they are events in Henderson's life. And we come to root for him as he struggles to see through one economic commonplace after another."Shelby Steele,
author of A Dream Deferred: The Second Betrayal of Black Freedom in America
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Henderson mentions his arguments are fundamentally utilitarian. I agree. This weakens his conclusions, since this avoids, and cannot have a moral basis. He quotes - ''Hayek once wrote that it was the socialists' courage to be utopian that captured the imagination of the intellectuals. These intellectuals then transmitted these socialist ideas to the culture generally.'' (345)
Hayek understood the appeal was more than material abundance.
In contrast, Bastiat in his famous essay, The Law, states on the first page 'Life is a gift from God'. In the last page -
''let them end where they ought to have begun—reject all systems, and try liberty—liberty, which is an act of faith in God and in His work.'' This provides Bastiat with a logical premise, a power of reason, that a simple appeal to 'joy' doesn't have. Bastiat's claim is based on human life as sacred. Henderson's claim looks to human feeling (joy) as fundamental. No one can (successfully) change human feelings into sacred ones without God.
The title ''The Joy of Freedom'' is really a personal testimony. Henderson explains several times his love of freedom from his youth on. Not all share this fundamental quality. If one does not want freedom, or maybe even detests it, this work will not reach the heart.
From Robert Nisbet's ''Twilight of Authority'' -
''From the Forward - Nisbet (and Tocqueville) see ''alienated individuals, that is, people lacking moral compass and thus any purpose or sense of direction beyond that provided by the cash nexuses. . . . As such they are in danger of losing their freedom to the allurements of a paternalistic state. . . . The tendency of the centralizing state as it is found in democracies is to make permanent children of its citizens.'' People who are 'permanent children' cannot feel 'joy of freedom'.
The education system adopted in the nineteenth century was ''the Prussian system and for the same reasons the prussians adopted it: to teach obedience and limit learning. . . . Here is what Gatto says of the famous philosopher John Dewey, a fan of the Prussian system: He advocated that the phonics method of teaching reading be abandoned. . .because reading hard books produces independent thinkers, thinkers who cannot be socialized very easily.'' (311)
This is not the opinion of one who who loves freedom.
(See the work of Isaiah Berlin - ''The roots of romanticism''; J. L. Talmon; Mark Lilla - ''The Stillborn God'' also explains the deeper issues. Also - ''Reaching for Heaven on Earth: The Theological Meaning of Economics'' by Robert H. Nelson. Nelson had similar experiences as Henderson. However, he reaches deeper and broader to find the forces that drive cultures. Also, ''Memoirs of a Superfluous Man'' - Albert Jay Nock; ''Judgements on History and Historians'' - Jacob Burckhardt)
The Joy of Freedom is the work of an exceptional teacher who has a skill for communicating economic concepts. It is the result of his lifelong desire to understand the world, to better himself, and to help others. As the reader, we walk side by side with David as he struggles to understand complex and important issues. He tells us stories from his life, from childhood through his successful career as an economist. The result is an interesting, easy-to-read, understandable, and enjoyable book about some of the more pressing problems of our time. How many other books can make that claim?
If you care about your personal retirement assets, your ability to get good health care, the education of yourself or your children, your rights and security, the inner workings of the government, the laws of economics, discrimination, or the environment, this book has something for you. You don't have to agree with everything Dr. Henderson says. In fact, because he is such a good thinker and communicator, his path of discovery should help you on your own, whatever course it may take.
Charles L. Hooper, coauthor Making Great Decisions in Business and Life
I found "The Joy of Freedom" to be very informative, practical, educational and intellectual on all things regarding to economics and public policy. The author paints a clear and easy to understand picture as he "walks you" through his life's journeys.
This would be my third time reading this out of pleasure as well as for current public policies that are pertaining to today's events (today is December 24, 2009, the day the House and Senate voted on a huge mistake...the Health Care Bill). I find myself constantly referring back to pages and pages of information as bad policies continue to roll off the steps of Capital Hill...!
Most recent customer reviews
If you liked "the armchair economist" you will love this book.
Very clean prose.