No Rest For The Rational



Wesley: Well, I'll be off. Farewell Angel. Who knows when our paths will cross.


Angel: Wesley.

Cordelia: Do you even know where you're headed?

Wesley: Rogue Demon Hunters rarely do. Wherever evil lurks, wherever the forces of darkness threaten humanity, that's where I'll be.

Cordelia: Oh, okay. Well, keep in touch.

Wesley: Yes, yes, I will. But now evil lurking everywhere bids me onwards! So, I go.

Cordelia: Take care!

Wesley: Yes.

Wesley: No rest for the wicked fighters. Through storm and rain, heat and famine, deep painful gnawing hunger, I go.

Angel: Breakfast?

Wesley: Ooo! I suppose so.

-- Parting Gifts, Angel, season 1

I haven't yet figured out what's more annoying: the shameless, endless marketing done by Levitt and Dubner for Freakonomics - for example, see the photo in this article linked by MargRev in which Levitt cannot help but pose with book in hands - or the description of Levitt as a "rogue economist".

"Rogue economist" sounds every bit as dangerous as "rogue IT specialist" or "rogue librarian."

He's a rogue economist on the loose, and he's charting utility functions. Look out, he's about to insist you're being irrational with respect to your self-interest.

Oh no... he's becoming... intrigued by the incentives!

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The photographer probably

The photographer probably asked him to hold the book - I doubt it was Levitt's idea. I don't think the (sub) title of his book was his idea either.

That's Hazlitt's book's name

That's Hazlitt's book's name anyway.

What Makes a "Rogue

What Makes a "Rogue Economist"?
I don't disagree with Catallarchy in the context of Freakonomics, but I think that, using a different denotation of "rogue," it would be appropriate to classify Paul Krugman as a "rogue economist" -- and to describe him as "dangerous."

One can also argue (and as a

One can also argue (and as a rogue commentator, I must!), that the goods being offered are different. You sell the sizzle, not the steak. Normal economics offer shoddy goods - just dry intellectual stuff. Levitt has found a way to make econ sizzle. Freak-o-dyn-o-nomics offers the chance to wow your friends and coworkers with dramatic insights from the dangerous cutting edge! Wow! Abortion is great because it culls the criminal classes (especially the poor and black!)! Zoiks! I can say un-PC things like that with the backing of a NYT reporter and a rogue Freak-o-conomist!

He has a NYT bestselling

He has a NYT bestselling book on economics. Yeah, it took some marketing. Maybe if other economists had better marketing, they'd sell more books.

If it takes silly labels (or hot girls, or free beer, or whatever) to sell this fundamentally important science about which most people are ignorant...that's too bad, but its worth it.

If it takes silly labels (or

If it takes silly labels (or hot girls, or free beer, or whatever) to sell this fundamentally important science about which most people are ignorant…that’s too bad, but its worth it.

If it's "worth it" why aren't people educating themselves about it without being manipulated?

I'm a rogue commentator.

I'm a rogue commentator. Look at me go. Uh... I DISAGREE! :beatnik:

Patri, If it takes silly

Patri,

If it takes silly labels (or hot girls, or free beer, or whatever) to sell this fundamentally important science about which most people are ignorant…that’s too bad, but its worth it.

I have read that Econ is in the top 10 college majors. Unfortunately though, I think most of the time it teaches people that they can manipulate the economy for the better and that models are the key to understanding everything.

Leonard,

One can also argue (and as a rogue commentator, I must!), that the goods being offered are different. You sell the sizzle, not the steak. Normal economics offer shoddy goods - just dry intellectual stuff. Levitt has found a way to make econ sizzle.

I was reading Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and he talked about how covers sold books more than content. He told the story of a publisher who sold approximately a million more copies by just changing the cover and title of a book. I got to admit though, "Freakonomics" has a more interesting name than "Economics in One Easy Lesson."

That was the answer I was

That was the answer I was trying to flush out.

If it’s “worth it” why

If it’s “worth it” why aren’t people educating themselves about it without being manipulated?

In the context of democracy, the benefits of economic education are mostly external.

If it’s “worth it” why

If it’s “worth it” why aren’t people educating themselves about it without being manipulated?

Am I being manipulated? My Honors Macroeconomics teacher read off of powerpoint slides that came with the book *every day*. We had multiple choice tests. The highlight of the course was when she had a friend from the Fed come in to plug his economic doomsday book.

I sat in on an IHS seminar when I was a junior in high school and read all the books they gave me. Libertarian blogs are a lot more informative than anything Northeastern University has to offer. Because, you know, you can't really get a job in the "real world" with those sorts of "idealistic" and "impractical" economics. They could probably teach you to suck up to the New York Times, though.

Then it hardly seems "worth

Then it hardly seems "worth it."

Because it's boring. It's

Because it's boring. It's the same reason I never have to worry about a math textbook being checked out when I got to the library.

If they were selling linear algebra with hot girls and free beer, I probably wouldn't have had to taken it twice.