With his witty and instructive book The Armchair Economist, Steven Landsburg won popularity and acclaim by using economics to illuminate the mysteries of daily life, and using daily life to illuminate the mysteries of economics.Now Landsburg returns to address fundamental issues like fairness, tolerance, morality and justiceÂ issues that are as important on the playground as they are in the marketplace. With the help of his daughter, Cayley, he contrasts the wisdom of parents with the wisdom of economistsÂ not always to the credit of the latter.How should we feel about taxes that redistribute income? Ask how parents feel about children who forcibly "redistribute" other children's toys. How should we respond to those who complain that their neighbors are too wealthy? Ask how parents respond when children complain that their siblings got too much cake. By insisting that fairness can't mean one thing for children and another for adults, Landsburg shows that the instincts of the parent have profound consequences for economic justice.Along the way, LandsburgÂ with his customary sharp wit and challenging logicÂ pauses to reflect on an astonishing variety of issues in economic theory, the philosophy of parenting, the true nature of family values, and how to get the most out of life. He uses parent-child interactions to explain the economics of free trade and immigration, progressive taxation, minimum wages, racial discrimination, and the role of money. He makes the best possible philosophical cases for and against progressive taxation, and weighs them against the wisdom of the playground. He explains why children are a good thing, and why economic theory tells us we don't have enough of them. He meditates on the role of authority in our lives, the effects of cultural bias, and why it's important to read poetry to your children. This lively and entertaining book will inform and delight readers who have forgotten the human side of the dismal science.
- Electronic book text
- 21 Jun 2011
- SIMON & SCHUSTER
- The Free Press
- United States
Table of contents
Acknowledgments1. THE ECONOMIST AS PARENT AND THE PARENT AS ECONOMIST2. THE LESSONS OF THE PLAYGROUND3. WHAT CAYLEY KNOWS4. AUTHORITY5. WHAT LIFE HAS TO OFFER6. CULTURAL BIASES7. FAIRNESS I: THE GRANDFATHER FALLACY8. FAIRNESS II: THE SYMMETRY PRINCIPLE9. THE PERFECT TAX10. THE PERFECT TAX, DECONSTRUCTED11. RESPONSIBILITY: WHO YA GONNA BLAME?12. BEQUESTS13. PEOPLE WANTED14. THE THIRD R15. THE ARITHMETIC OF GOVERNMENT DEBT16. THE ARITHMETIC OF DISCRIMINATION17. THE ARITHMETIC OF CONSERVATION18. WHAT MY DAUGHTER TAUGHT ME ABOUT MONEY19. WHAT MY DAUGHTER TAUGHT ME ABOUT TRADE20. ADVICE TO AN ECONOMIST'S DAUGHTERAPPENDIX: FURTHER READINGINDEX
Joe Queenan "The Wall Street Journal" Witty economists are about as easy to find as anorexic mezzo-sopranos, natty mujahedeen, and cheerful Philadelphians. But Steven F. Landsburg...is one economist who fits the bill. In a wide-ranging, easily digested, unbelievably contrarian survey of everything from why popcorn at movie houses costs so much to why recycling may actually reduce the number of trees on the planet, the University of Rochester professor valiantly turns the discussion of vexing economic questions into an activity that ordinary people might enjoy. Erik N. Jensen "The Cleveland Plain Dealer""The Armchair Economist" is a wonderful little book, written by someone for whom English is a first (and beloved) language, and it contains not a single graph or equation....Landsburg presents fascinating concepts in a form easily accessible to noneconomists. Milton Friedman An ingenious and highly original presentation of some central principles of economics for the proverbial Everyman. Its breezy tone conceals the subtlety of the analysis. Guaranteed to puncture some illusions and to make you think. Dan Seligman "Fortune" ...enormous fun from its opening page...Landsburg has done something extraordinary: He has expounded basic economic principles with wit and verve.