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Author: John Lott
Publisher: Regnery Publishing • 2007 • 275 pages
3.57 out of 5 • View Ratings Details • 7 Ratings

Are free market economies really based on fleecing the consumer? Is the U.S. economy truly just a giant, Hobbesian free-for-all that encourages duplicity in our everyday transactions? Is everyone from corporate CEOs to your local car salesman really looking to make a buck at your expense?

In “Freedomnomics: Why the Free Market Works and Other Half-Baked Theories Don’t,” economist and bestselling author John Lott answers these and other common economic questions, fearlessly confronting the profound distrust of the market (exemplified by make-a-buck pseudo-analyses like the book Freakonomics) that has spread even among the citizens and governing elites in America and other wealthy, free nations — despite the proven success of the free market.

Lott explains why the U.S. economy embodies the best, most creative, and most honest aspects of our society — as long as people have the freedom to act on their own incentives. Showing the logic of free market economics through clear and hard-hitting examples, Lott details how countries that have stuck with the free market have prospered, and how giving people the chance to improve their own economic condition helps to make societies wealthier overall.

Freedomnomics is solidly researched — based on dozens of economic studies spanning decades — and persuasively argued. John Lott cheerfully bucks what passes for economic conventional wisdom these days, providing conservatives with an invaluable guide to exploding Leftist clichés about the free market.

  • How the free market actually creates incentives for people to behave honestly
  • Why free market economies have prospered not despite the pursuit of economic self-interest, but because of it
  • Why dishonest companies are relatively rare, and for every Enron, there are thousands of companies of all sizes in America that play by the rules, simply trying to make a profit by supplying people with something they want
  • How the potential loss of profits stemming from the loss of a good reputation helps keep businesses honest
  • Did Roosevelt’s New Deal begin the outrageous growth of Big Government? No it actually started nearly fifteen years earlier
  • Why, even when the state intervenes in the economy with the best intentions, it frequently only succeeds in making things worse
  • A complication in subsidizing products or practices that create social benefits: subsidies may not even be necessary because people often have enough incentive to do the desired action on their own, without government intervention
  • How lowered strength standards have made female cops more vulnerable to assault and less able to control resisting suspects by themselves — thus putting pressure on police departments to shift from one-officer to two-officer patrol units
  • How government policies have helped to create support for still more government
  • Why so many individuals and interest groups are sinking so much more money into politics than ever before
  • The Democratic strategist who estimates that George W. Bush suffered a net loss of up to 8,000 votes in Florida due to early calling of the results by the media
  • Stricter anti-fraud regulations in elections: do they increase or decrease voting turnout?
  • How restrictions on campaign financing inevitably create momentum for ever more limitations on public participation in elections
  • Why the proliferation of PACs was a natural reaction to campaign finance restrictions
  • How granting women the right to vote resulted in an estimated 33 percent expansion in the size of government
  • Single parents: how, with work and other demands on their time, they tend to devote less attention to their children than do married couples — with economic repercussions far beyond their presence in the work force
  • State intervention in the economy: how it can take many forms other than direct government spending or the operation of state-owned companies
  • Proof: laws that force people to lock up their guns or discourage them from owning them in the first place result in more deaths
  • Corporate greed and monopoly power: are these really the only possible explanations why gas prices began rising even before Hurricane Katrina hit land and disrupted oil production in the Gulf of Mexico?
  • Government regulation: how it tends to inadvertently hinder free competition
  • How criminals function a lot like consumers and businessmen do in a free market — and how analyzing their incentives can give a good indication of what policies will work in fighting crime
  • The death penalty: its beneficial effect even beyond deterring murders, in deterring rape, robbery, and aggravated assault as well
  • Why the free market is superior to government planning in part because the market creates incentives for people to consider the effects that their actions have on others — but government planning doesn’t
  • The real reason why there is constant resistance in academia to the idea that free market policies make people wealthier
  • How monopolies and price discrimination actually help save lives
  • How the idea that abortion lowers crime is derived from flawed statistics — and how legal abortion actually leads to a rise in crime
  • How, by abolishing the very concept of the family, totalitarian governments hope to create a government monopoly on the transmission of social values — and how government attempts to supplant parents as the primary source of social values are not limited to totalitarian countries
  • How public schooling has always been aimed, at least partially, at instilling government values — and why it shouldn’t be surprising that totalitarian states generally spend twice as much on education per student as free countries do
  • Proof: mainstream media headlines are between 10 and 20 percentage points more positive during a Democratic presidency than during a Republican one
  • Campaign finance records: TV network employees give overwhelmingly to Democratic candidates, with 98% of CBS’s employee donations going to Democrats in 2004, 100% of NBC’s, and an incredible 81% of the contributions from the allegedly conservative Fox network

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