Economist espouses free markets |

Economist espouses free markets

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He’s defended foreign sweatshops and argued that the war on drugs supports terrorists.

Economist David Henderson also didn’t shy away from controversy at his appearance Monday in Nevada City.

Henderson said it’s easier for the government to enter your house now than it was 30 years ago, thanks to the war on drugs.

And if people say in conversation that taxes should be raised, don’t nod along pleasantly in agreement – fight back by taking their wallet.

Henderson spoke Monday on economics and the free-market economic system before about 20 people at Madelyn Helling Library. His visit was sponsored by the Nevada County Libertarian Party and Charley Hooper, a friend who owns Objective Insights, a Grass Valley consulting business.

Henderson is a research fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution and an associate professor of economics at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey.

His 2001 book, “The Joy of Freedom,” explores free-market economics – the idea that people’s self-interest, as expressed through market economics, leads to better results than government intervention.

In essays published on the Hoover Institution’s Web site, Henderson has used his free-market views to make the case for foreign sweatshops, saying workers get a better deal from them than from agricultural work. He’s also argued that the war on drugs supports terrorists by upping the price of drugs, which makes the illicit drug trade more profitable.

Henderson stuck up for property rights and free-market capitalism Monday, and spoke against government intervention.

He noted one economist used a student to teach about property rights. He took the student’s wallet and wouldn’t give it back until the student admitted ownership of the wallet was a property right.

Government intervention doesn’t work, said Henderson, because government doesn’t always care about us.

But the capitalist market system tends to produce accountability and reduce discrimination in housing markets – a few of the examples that Henderson used to advocate free- market economics.

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