Freakonomics- A rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything

Freakonomics- A rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything

By Steven D.Levitt and Stephen J, Dubner

“Freakonomics” deals with a variety of subjects ranging from parenting to crime, sport to politics, fat to cheating, fear to traffic jams.

Take crime first. Levitt and Dubner ask, what accounts for the extraordinary drop in U.S. violent crime during the 1990s? The answer: more cops, lower profits in the crack cocaine trade, and, most important of all, the bad guys were
locked up or never born to begin with.

“Legalized abortion,” say Levitt and Dubner, “led to less unwantedness; unwantedness leads to high crime; legalized abortion, therefore, led to less crime” (p.139). It is also a claim with something to offend nearly everyone.

Nearly two-thirds of U.S.homicides involve a gun, a far greater fraction than in other industralized countries. It would therefore seem likely that homicide rate is so high in part because guns are so easily available. Research indeed shows this to be true.

But guns are not the whole story. In Switzerland, every adult male is issued an assault rifle for militia duty and is allowed to keep the gun at home. On a per capita basis, Switzerland has more firearms than just about any other country, and yet it is one of the safest places in the world. In other words, guns do not cause crime. Hence one may wish to consider the variety of gun initiatives in US to see the impact they may have on crime in the 1990s.

Then there is an opposite argument – that we need more guns on the street, but in the hands of the right people (like the high-school girl vs her mugger). The economist John R.Lott Jr in his book “More guns, less crime” in which he argues that violent crime has decreased in areas where law-abidding citizens are allowed to carry concealed weapons. His theory might be surprising, but it is sensible. If a criminal thinks his potential victim may be armed, he may be deterred from committing the crime.

I really like the creative and unusual ways that the authors wrote of the different cheating methods. The authors tend to see things differently than the average person, and thus after reading, I gained a different perspective for many things in life. This book is really COOL !


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