17 October 2007

what we're reading (the economic naturalist)

Hello. We just finished a book called “The Economic Naturalist”. A Cornell professor found that very few of his students (and very few economic professionals) properly understood basic economic principles. For instance, only 21% of economic professionals correctly answered a multiple choice question related to Opportunity Cost. That is worse than if the answers were simply chosen randomly (4 answers would mean that the correct answer would be given 25% of the time in the case of blind guesses). What he found is that these principles are often so muddled in academic language as to completely useless to the common man and somewhat complicated even to professionals.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

This book fixes that. Ever wondered why soda comes in round cans and milk in square cartons? Ever wonder why tickets to Broadway shows are cheaper at the last minute but airplane tickets are more expensive? Are you curious as to why rural people marry earlier than urban people or why no one wants a date who is "too into them"? It’s these sort of simple questions that the professor uses to unlock the beauty of economics and seal them into your brain. Trust me – I don’t see a milk carton without thinking about the reason why it is the shape it is.


No comments:

Post a Comment