Freakonomics tries to turn the scalpel of the analytical and statistical methods intrinsic to Economics onto questions that the authors feel do not have definitive answers. Mostly because no one thought to ask the questions that would allow us (the world at large, not Economics students) to solve the problems that would lead to the answers, the authors feel.
Because of this, Freakonomics is attended by all the problems of the so-called soft sciences. The data, and the conclusions often seem susceptible to multiple interpretations. There is a relatively large “eye of the beholder” problem with books like Freakonomics, compounded by the authors’ failure to provide (or intentional decision to omit) the data from which they draw these conclusions. Because the data is hidden, it’s difficult for the reader to look behind the curtain and determine if he would come to similar conclusions. We can’t say if they’re right. All we can do is say whether we believe them or not. Not if we agree. Faith.
Freakonomics is of those books where if you agree with the conclusions then you say: Exactly. But if you don’t, you have to take it on faith that the authors are correct and you aren’t. There doesn’t seem to be any method to debunking this, other than to call out inconsistencies. I am troubled by this, it’s almost like turning science into a religion, rather than the explanation of phenomenon that we need Science to be so we can be better, or build the better world.
That being said, Freakonomics sometimes seems to come to inconsistent conclusions. Or at least ones that definitely seem susceptible to dispute.
Freakonomics concludes that more police officers leads to less crime. They come to this conclusion they say by analyzin...
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...nd know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” Tzu, Sun. Sun Tzu: The Art of War. [S.l.]: Pax Librorum Pub. H, 2009. And “The best victory is when the opponent surrenders of its own accord before there are any actual hostilities... It is best to win without fighting.” (Tzu, 2009)
Fate apparently was an excellent student. I mean it certainly can’t be argued that Fate isn’t inordinately successful at what she does. Moreover, according to Freakonomics (and the data) most of us never escape her machinations. Or as the Freakonomics data would likely show: Fate’s parents were well educated, had many books in the home, came from a high socioeconomic background. Makes you wonder what life would be like for all of us if Fate instead had grown up in the projects, or in the East in some poverty stricken hovel, and her parents had named her Karma.
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