Freakonomics: takes a subject like economics which is often believed to be just about numbers and transforms it into a variable used to explain a horde of socio-economic issues. In the book rogue economist Steve Levitt and NY Times writer Steve Dubner, attempt to explain why crime has decreased even though the population has increased; why a real estate agent is in a hurry to sell your house at a lower price and how sumo wrestlers and schoolteachers cheat. However, they do not stop there but take on heavily debated issues such as Roe V. Wade, gun control, and the effects of an aging to show that abortions among certain segments of the population has reduced the criminal population. Very simply, there are a lot of criminals who were never born because of Roe V. Wade. Although I am 100% pro-life and remain so regardless of any book, I have to agree with his conclusion.
The central idea of Freakonomics is introduced by explaining that, “If morality represents how people would like the world to work, then economics shows how it actually does work.” This whirlwind of economics is swirled in a mix of underlying contexts, unseen statistics, clever insight, and mind-boggling riddles.
Another point of interest was the parenting chapters that should be read with the understanding that the only thing measured were test scores and doesn’t mean that kids whose moms stay at home won’t be better socially adjusted, morally grounded or emotionally stable than those who come from homes where the mother works outside the home.
However, some of Levitt’s theories such as how unique `black’ names seem to hold back the carriers of those names due to racial prejudice left me thinking that he was a little out in left field. That said, I could see how important information hoarded by experts is especially in the realm of those individuals who are handling your money where he questions if they are really out to serve your best interests or his own. One example of this would be a financial advisor who advises his clients to purchase a loaded fund, which provides him/her with an extra commission, even though independent outfits like Morningstar will tell you never to get into loaded funds because they are a rip-off.
This book will not give anyone answers to questions regarding the Federal imbalance of income and payout obligations, which is currently estimated to be between $64 trillion and $97 trillion but it does present some odd ideas and entertaining notions. If anything it supports a premise from a guy named Paul the Apostle who once famously said: `Money is the root of all kinds of evil’.
Overall, Steven D. Levitt uses wry insight and keen intellect supported by intense experiences, examples, and storytelling, to re-define modern society and the way people view it. This book does two important things – it challenges the reader to really think about the causes of things, and it makes modern economic thinking interesting and accessible to the mass audience.
[tags]Freakonomics, Steven D. Levitt, Economics, Stephen Dubner, Rogue Economist, abortion, finances, federal deficit, socio-economic trends[/tags]