Analysis Of The Book ' Freakonomics ' By Steven Levitt And Stephen Dubner

Analysis Of The Book ' Freakonomics ' By Steven Levitt And Stephen Dubner

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The book “Freakonomics” by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner is a dissection of anecdotes. The authors intensely dismantle ideas that are social norms, using economic and demographic data. The book has no central theme other than to “explore the hidden side of… everything.”pg.14 One chapter the subject will be on corruption in the sumo wrestling community, then another on how legalizing abortion lowers crime rates, then another on what effect parenting has on children. Chapter three explains why the popular idea that most drug dealers were rich is almost entirely false. The authors blame the media for this idea. When crack cocaine first started to appear en masse, the cops and the media put an emphasis on how unfair the fight was, because the drug dealers “were armed with state-of-the-art weapons and a bottomless supply of cash”pg. 92. Soon after the media was “portraying crack dealing as one of the most profitable jobs in America.”pg. 93 As the authors explain, the vast majority of drug dealers are very poor. They use the data on the Black Disciples, a large Chicago gang, collected by Sudhir Venkatesh as the basis of their claims. The data showed that while one of the bosses, J.T, was making at least an hourly wage of sixty-six dollars, his lieutenants made seven dollars an hour, and all the other foot soldiers made three dollars and thirty cents per hour. J.T was not one of the head bosses, who made five hundred thousand a year, as opposed to his one hundred thousand. Out of the hundreds of drug dealers associated with the Black Disciples, only the twenty or so bosses could afford an actual house. That was very different than the public image of thousands of rich drug dealers that the media portrayed. What was unusual about the ...


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...o “explore the hidden side of everything”pg.14. Yet some might argue that a simple claim like ‘drug dealers are poor’ is a little mundane for such an unusual book. But the drug dealer claim has a vital function in the reader’s perception of “Freakonomics”. Because one of the arguments in the book is believable, the more unbelievable claims are strengthened by it. If the entire book was too unconventional, then a dubious reader could dismiss it as inaccurate. It is harder to discredit something when at least one part of it makes sense. However the book needs to be shocking or unorthodox enough that people will want to read it. No one wants to read a book about facts they already know, so the book has to be a balance of the ordinary and unordinary. Yet at it’s core, “Freakonomics” is unordinary, for it’s purpose is to disprove the ordinary, and in that area it excels.

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