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More Sex Is Safer Sex: The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics

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More Sex Is Safer Sex: The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Steven Landsburg's writings are living proof that economics need not be "the dismal science." Readers of The Armchair Economist and his columns in Slate magazine know that he can make economics not only fun but fascinating, as he searches for the reasons behind the odd facts we face in our daily lives. In More Sex Is Safer Sex, he brings his witty and razor-sharp analysis to the many ways that our individually rational decisions can combine into some truly weird collective results — and he proposes hilarious and serious ways to fix just about everything.

When you stand up at the ballpark in order to see better, you make a rational decision. When everyone else does it too, the results, of course, are lousy. But this is just the tip of the iceberg of individual sanity and collective madness. Did you know that some people may actually increase the spread of sexually transmitted diseases when they avoid casual sex? Do you know why tall people earn more money than shorter competitors? (Hint: it isn't just unfair, unconscious prejudice.) Do you know why it makes no sense for you to give charitable donations to more than one organization?

Landsburg's solutions to the many ways that modern life is unfair or inefficient are both jaw-dropping and maddeningly defensible. We should encourage people to cut in line at water fountains on hot days. We should let firefighters keep any property they rescue from burning houses. We should encourage more people to act like Scrooge, because misers are just as generous as philanthropists.

Best of all are Landsburg's commonsense solutions to the political problems that plague our democracy. We should charge penalties to jurors if they convict a felon who is later exonerated. We should let everyone vote in two congressional districts: their own, and any other one of their choice. While we're at it, we should redraw the districts according to the alphabetical lists of all voters, rather than by geography. We should pay FDA commissioners with shares of pharmaceutical company stocks, and pay our president with a diversified portfolio of real estate from across the country.

Why do parents of sons stay married more often than parents who have only daughters? Why does early motherhood not only correlate with lower income, but actually cause it? Why do we execute murderers but not the authors of vicious computer viruses? The lesson of this fascinating, fun, and endlessly provocative book is twofold: many apparently very odd behaviors have logical explanations, and many apparently logical behaviors make no sense whatsoever.

Review:

"Economics books full of 'uncommon sense' are more common after the success of Freakonomics, but this rambling survey of hot-button and quotidian issues viewed from a libertarian economic perspective doesn't measure up. Landsburg (The Armchair Economist) is sometimes pleasantly counterintuitive, but too often simply contentious. In using cost/benefit calculations to argue in favor of racial profiling or why we shouldn't care about the looting of Baghdad's museums, he strains to celebrate 'all that is counter, original, spare and strange.' While positing multiple solutions to interesting problems, he forces logical readers to confront uncomfortable positions — as in the title essay, urging chaste citizens to sleep around, thereby diluting the pool of potential sex partners with AIDS. But the chapters typically conclude without resolution — at one point, the author shrugs: 'It's not easy to sort out causes from effects.' One suspects that a rival economist could swiftly debunk many of Landsburg's arguments — for instance, his chapter praising misers (who produce but don't consume) depends on the assumption that all resources are fixed and finite. By the time he makes the head-scratching case that 'it's always an occasion for joy when other people have more children,' the reader may be in the mood for some plain old common sense." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

About the Author

Steven E. Landsburg is a Professor of Economics at the University of Rochester. He is the author of More Sex Is Safer Sex, The Armchair Economist, Fair Play, two textbooks on economics, and over thirty journal articles in mathematics, economics, and philosophy. He writes the popular “Everyday Economics” column in Slate magazine and has written for Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, and other publications.

Table of Contents

CONTENTS

Acknowledgments

Preface: Unconventional Wisdom

PART I: The Communal Stream

1. More Sex Is Safer Sex

Addendum

2. Be Fruitful and Multiply

3. What I Like about Scrooge

4. Who's the Fairest of Them All?

5. Children at Work

PART II: How to Fix Everything

6. How to Fix Politics

7. How to Fix the Justice System

8. How to Fix Everything Else

How to Fight Fires

How to Fight Crime

How to Prevent Accidents

How to Fight Pollution

How to Solve the Kidney Shortage

How to Fight Grade Inflation

How to Shorten Waiting Lines

PART III: Everyday Economics

9. Go Figure

10. Oh No! It's a Girl!

11. The High Price of Motherhood

PART IV: The Big Questions

12. Giving Your All

A Defense of Pure Reason

13. The Central Banker of the Soul

14. How to Read the News

Racial Profiling

Disaster Relief

The Sack of Baghdad

Global Warming, Local Crowding

My Barnes and Noble Trade Deficit

An Outsourcing Fable

The New Racism

15. Matters of Life and Death

16. Things That Make Me Squirm

Appendix

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9781416532217
Subtitle:
The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics
Publisher:
Free Press
Author:
Landsburg, Steven E.
Subject:
Economics
Subject:
Macroeconomics
Subject:
Paradoxes
Subject:
Economics - Macroeconomics
Subject:
Economics -- Sociological aspects.
Publication Date:
20070417
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8.44 x 5.5 in 13.58 oz

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Economics » General

More Sex Is Safer Sex: The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 288 pages Free Press - English 9781416532217 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Economics books full of 'uncommon sense' are more common after the success of Freakonomics, but this rambling survey of hot-button and quotidian issues viewed from a libertarian economic perspective doesn't measure up. Landsburg (The Armchair Economist) is sometimes pleasantly counterintuitive, but too often simply contentious. In using cost/benefit calculations to argue in favor of racial profiling or why we shouldn't care about the looting of Baghdad's museums, he strains to celebrate 'all that is counter, original, spare and strange.' While positing multiple solutions to interesting problems, he forces logical readers to confront uncomfortable positions — as in the title essay, urging chaste citizens to sleep around, thereby diluting the pool of potential sex partners with AIDS. But the chapters typically conclude without resolution — at one point, the author shrugs: 'It's not easy to sort out causes from effects.' One suspects that a rival economist could swiftly debunk many of Landsburg's arguments — for instance, his chapter praising misers (who produce but don't consume) depends on the assumption that all resources are fixed and finite. By the time he makes the head-scratching case that 'it's always an occasion for joy when other people have more children,' the reader may be in the mood for some plain old common sense." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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