February 10, 2009
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Freakonomics is a nonfiction informative book, written by economist Steve Levitt, who uses examples from everyday life, and turns them around through economics analysis. Through his rogue analysis, he is able to compare teachers to sumo wrestlers, the Klu Klux Klan to real estate agents, and is able to make the connection between abortion and the lowered crime rate in the United States. Through his breakdown of these every day subjects, he allows us to see a familiar world through a completely original lens.
Economics has always been viewed as a boring and highly educated subject, in which average Americans seem to ignore issues such as financial trends and market developments. Freakonomics was written for the average American, as it tackles the economic view of topics that we hear about in our everyday lives. Levitt is able to make connections between abnormal things, through economic standards, as well as ask questions that he later answers through economics analysis. He is able to make relationships between teachers and sumo wrestlers, on how they are dishonest so they may receive extra incentive to do their job for less work. The KKK and real estate agents kept knowledge away from every day Americans, until they were ousted by factors such as a mole or even as simple as the internet. He asks 'why do drug dealers still live with their moms?' The answer lies in economic analysis of their salaries, risks and incentives, as Levitt proves that it is not economically efficient to sell crack on the streets. One of the main topics in Freakonomics is how crime rate mysteriously dropped after experts agreed that America would soon be overrun by criminals. When in fact, the problem had been solved many years before, through the incorporation of Roe vs. Wade, in which abortion had become legal. Low income mom's whose child was at most risk of becoming a criminal now had the option of not bringing that criminal into the world.
Many times, economists see to it that they are recognized as the problem solvers of the world. They look to solve economic crisis, as well as predict market trends in order to evaluate the health of the economy. However, Steve Levitt took that arrogance that all economists have, and solved problems of our every day lives. They affect us in some way, be it having less crime on the streets, or knowledge that we are getting duped by high insurance rates. He is able to solve any human puzzle through economics analysis, and it is worth the read.

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