Juxtaposition In Freakonomics

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There are a multitude of complex, intricate issues and problems that exist in modern day American society. In an effort to begin to fathom the complexity of such issues, society as a whole has created “conventional wisdoms” to explain the otherwise unexplainable phenomena. In addition, so-called “experts” on topics have tried to explain causes for such issues that may not even be causing them in the first place. Perhaps these causal hypotheses and conventional wisdoms are true, or perhaps there is more to the puzzle than meets the eye. In Freakonomics, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner use juxtaposition and selection of details to convince readers to dig deeper into the world and find the truth behind what seems like reality. The first…show more content…
Through this, the authors effectively convince readers to dig deeper and find the truth behind reality. Another instance where the authors use juxtaposition is when they compare the Ku Klux Klan to real estate agents, showing how both have used informational asymmetry to their benefit. The Ku Klux Klan instilled fear into the population by having so called “information” that the public didn’t have: when they would attack. Because fear was implanted into the minds of the public, most of the Ku Klux Klan’s “threatened violence never [went] beyond the threat stage” (Levitt 53). By having an informational advantage, the Ku Klux Klan could voice threats without having to execute them because people would comply with them out of fear. Likewise, real estate agents essentially use the same informational asymmetry to their benefit. Because they are the so-called “expert” in their field, real estate agents will pressure sellers into accepting a lower offer on their house, so the agent can swiftly close a deal and collect commission. An agent will only gain slightly more from a seller selling at a higher price, “so her job is to convince you that a [lower] offer is a very good offer, even a generous offer” (Levitt 65). Because…show more content…
The first detail the authors selected is the fact that drug dealers still live with their mothers at home. Drug dealing has been painted by the media as “one of the most profitable jobs in America” (Levitt 83). However, that is not the case. Drug dealing works much like a business in America, namely crack dealing in Chicago. In the novel, there is the example of the Black Disciples, a crack gang in Chicago. Their group is organized into a multitude of franchises that report back to the board of directors, providing the board with a large cut of the profits made on the streets. The leader of each gang made a large sum of up to $100,000, but “the foot soldiers earned just about $3.30 an hour, less than the minimum wage” (Levitt 93). This detail of the drug dealers was selected to appear in the novel to show how “conventional wisdoms” are false and misleading. The media at the time was stating that drug dealers made large sums of money participating in the illicit drug trade, but that was not the case. Drug dealers did not even make enough money to move out of their mother’s home. Foot soldiers worked for less than the federal minimum wage at the time, but the “conventional wisdom” was that the foot soldiers were making large sums of money. This detail causes the reader to question what they see in the media, and readers see that there exists a complexity behind

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