Fair Play has ratings and 14 reviews. In co-operation with his daughter, the author of this text sets out to demystify the laws of supply and demand. “Should be required reading for every high school senior, politician and newspaper editor. The quality of your own thinking, and your ability to detect faulty. Chapter Two. of. Fair Play. by. Steven E. Landsburg. What Cayley Knows. Nearly every economist in America is appalled by Pat Buchanan’s revival of.
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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.
How should we feel about taxes that redistribute income? Ask how parents feel about children who forcibly “redistribute” landsbueg children’s toys. How should we respond to those who complain that their neighbors are too wealthy?
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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. He uses parent-child interactions to explain the economics of free trade fxir 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 pkay 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 fakr 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.
Fiar is a professor of economics at the University of Rochester. He lives in Rochester, New York. Joe Queenan The Wall Street Journal Plzy economists are about as easy to find as anorexic mezzo-sopranos, natty mujahedeen, and cheerful Philadelphians. 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 landsbkrg 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.
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. Landsburg has done something extraordinary: He has expounded basic economic principles with wit and verve. Milton Friedman An ingenious and highly original presentation of some landaburg principles of economics for the proverbial Everyman.
Its breezy tone conceals the subtlety of the analysis.
Sign up and get a free eBook! Fair Play By Steven E. Price may vary by retailer. Food and sleep cheer me up. Somehow I reached adulthood without fully recognizing these truths. I knew them in the way that I knew Aaron Burr was the third Vice President of the United States, but I didn’t know them in the way that I know not to step in front of oncoming traffic.
They weren’t built into my instincts. With parenthood came wisdom. You can’t live with a toddler and fail to discover the palliative benefits of a meal or a nap. Observing those responses in my child, I discovered them in myself. It’s helped me to take better care of both of us.
My daughter Cayley, now aged nine and the apple of her father’s eye, strove from infancy to focus my attention on certain principles of applied economics, beginning with the importance of material comforts. Cayley and I have been teaching economics to each other ever since.
I also teach economics in another guise, as a professor at a university. Professors and parents have a lot in common.
A good professor, like a good parent, is there to teach, to learn, and, in the best of circumstances, to rejoice as his students surpass him. If you’re a parent, then you’re an economics teacher. Economics is about facing difficult choices: I want my students to think hard about those choices; I want my daughter to think hard about them too.
One of the great lessons of economics is that there is no single best way to resolve such choices; everything depends on circumstances; what’s right for you can be wrong for your neighbor. Economics is the science of tolerance. Good economics professors teach their students that people can live very differently than you do without being either foolish or evil. Good parents teach their children the same thing.
Economics breeds not just tolerance but compassion. The economist’s method is to observe behavior closely, the better to understand other people’s goals and other people’s difficulties.
That kind of understanding is the basis of all compassion. I teach a freshman honors seminar in economics. On the first day of class, I ask my students to tell me why today’s grocery shoppers demand larger carts than their parents did thirty years ago. Here are some of the better answers: Today’s working women can’t shop every week the way their mothers did; they or their husbands must stock up more on each infrequent trip.
Today’s working women can’t cook dinner for the entire family as their mothers did; instead they buy enough food so that mom, dad, and the kids can all fend for themselves.
Today’s wealthier families serve a greater variety of dishes at each meal. Today’s wealthier shoppers are willing to pay higher grocery prices for luxuries like wide aisles and the carts those aisles can accommodate. Today’s larger houses provide more storage space in the pantry. lancsburg
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Today’s ubiquitous ATM machines mean that shoppers are no longer constrained by their unwillingness to carry lots of cash. If things go well, students challenge each others’ answers in insightful ways. One student says that today’s shoppers buy more because advertising techniques have become more effective.
Another objects that with a given income, shoppers who buy more of one product must necessarily buy less of another. The point of the exercise is not to understand shopping carts; it’s to understand the technique of understanding. To succeed at this game, students must be sensitive to the problems of families very unlike their own. Learning to see the world through someone else’s eyes is an essential part of economic training; it’s also an essential part of growing up.
There are a lot of good questions to practice on. Next year I think I’ll ask my students why two-earner families generally save less than one-earner families with identical incomes. Is it because the two-earner family hires a housekeeper? Is it because working mothers care less about their children’s future than stay-at-home mothers do? Is it because working mothers provide such good role models that their children can make it on their own without a large inheritance?
Or else I’ll ask why, in every culture, men are far more likely than women to commit suicide. Is it because women feel a greater obligation to continue caring for their offspring? Or is it because women live longer, and can therefore look forward to surviving the spouse who is making life unbearable? Teaching this stuff is a lot like parenting, really.
When my daughter comes home in distress because she thinks she’s been slighted in the schoolyard, I can help by encouraging her to imagine events through the other kids’ eyes.
There’s a technique to that kind of imagination. You make a guess; you ask if it seems plausible; you check whether it’s consistent with all the evidence; you refine your guess. That’s exactly how a good economics student thinks about shopping carts. Economics is about more than just individual choices.
It’s also about social choices: In other words, we want to ask: My daughter is keenly interested in the same questions, more concretely posed: Is her allowance an entitlement or a reward for a clean room? Should she be free to ignore her parents’ advice and wear a summer jacket on a winter day? Should she and her friends choose a video that most of them love or a video that none of them hates?
Every time a child cries “That’s not fair! In the classroom, I speak the language of graphs and equations; in the living room I speak the language of dreams and imagination and the drying of tears. In the classroom I talk abstractly about the advantages of writing an enforceable contract; in the living room I talk concretely about why Cayley’s friend Jessica doesn’t like her to change the rules of checkers in the middle of a game. In the classroom I talk about the general problem of delineating property rights; in the living room I talk about the specific moral issues raised when one child lays claim to a quarter of the communal sandbox.
Being bilingual doesn’t mean you have twice as much to talk about; it means only that you get to talk about the same things twice.
But here’s something odd: Sometimes issues that seem murky and difficult in the language of the classroom become clear and simple in the language of the living room, and sometimes the reverse is true.
This suggests that parents and economists have a lot to teach each lanvsburg. That’s what this book is about. It’s a patchwork of essays about issues — basic human issues like fairness and justice and responsibility — that both parents and economists are forced to confront. It’s about principles of right and wrong which are obvious to every parent, but must be taught to wayward children and wayward economists.