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Freedomnomics: Why the Free Market Works and Other Half-Baked Theories Don't Hardcover – June 4, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

How free-market economies really work

(and why they work so well)

Are free market economies really based on fleecing the consumer? Is the U.S. economy truly just a giant 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 R. Lott, Jr., answers these and other common economic questions, bravely confronting the profound distrust of the market that the bestselling book Freakonomics has helped to popularize. Using clear and hard-hitting examples, Lott shows how free markets liberate the best, most creative, and most generous aspects of our society--while efforts to constrain economic liberty, no matter

how well-intentioned, invariably lead to increased poverty and injustice. Extending

its rigorous economic analysis even further to our political and criminal justice

systems, Freedomnomics reveals:

● How the free market creates incentives for people to behave honestly

● How political campaign restrictions keep incumbents in power

● Why legalized abortion leads to family breakdown, which creates more crime

● Why affirmative action in police departments leads to higher crime rates

● How women's suffrage led to a massive increase in the size of government

· Why women become more conservative when they get married and more

liberal when they get divorced

● How secret ballots reduce voter participation

● Why state-owned companies and government agencies are much more likely to engage in unfair predation than are private firms

● Why the controversial assertions made in the trendy book Freakonomics are almost entirely wrong

Entertaining, persuasive, and based on dozens of economic studies spanning decades, Freedomnomics not only shows how free markets really work--but proves that, when it comes to promoting prosperity and economic justice, nothing works better.

About the Author

Economist JOHN R. LOTT, JR., is the author of The Bias Against Guns and More Guns, Less Crime. Having held positions at the University of Chicago , Yale University , Stanford University , UCLA, Wharton Business School , and Rice University , Lott was also the chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission during 1988 and 1989. He has published over ninety articles in academic journals and his opinion pieces have run in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and the Chicago Tribune. During the 2007-08 academic year, Lott will be a senior research scientist at the University of Maryland Foundation . He received his Ph.D. in economics from UCLA in 1984.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 275 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing; First Edition edition (June 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596985062
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596985063
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,106,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

180 of 218 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Bishop on June 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Personally, I liked Freakonomics. By pointing out "the hidden side of everything," it forces the reader to think about how things are connected in ways the average non-economist might not imagine. However, that's all the book is really good for. There's not a lot of serious economic analysis in there, only interesting ideas thrown about at almost at random. Thus, reading Freakonomics for the conclusions makes about as much sense as reading Playboy for the articles. For this reason, a book responding to Freakonomics shouldn't have been necessary. Given the buzz created by Freakonomics, though, it probably was, and Lott is as good an economist as any to do that.

For example, Levitt and Dubner wrote in Freakonomics that realtors keep their homes on the market a little longer than their customers do, and also make a bit more profit upon selling them. From this, Levitt and Dubner jumped to the conclusion that this meant realtors are systematically scamming their customers. Lott rightly countered with a much simpler and more straightforward explanation: every realtor follows his own sage advice, but not every realtor's customer does. Lott's conclusions regarding the interplay between crime and abortion are a bit more questionable. True, the fact that the U.S. and Canada experienced a similar drop in crime at the same time in the early 1990s, while Canada's version of Roe came a decade too late to fit neatly with Levitt and Dubner's theory, does appear at first blush to be problematic for their theory. However, at second blush it's not clear how how problematic that factor is, given that the very few Canadians live more than a couple hundred miles from the U.S. border, meaning that nearly all could have easily availed themselves of Roe in the interim.
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102 of 130 people found the following review helpful By James D. Miller on May 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent book showing the power of free markets and the harm that manifests when governments interfere in markets. Many economists claim that free markets work great in theory but there are many types of market failures that require government intervention. Lott points out how markets themselves can overcome these so called market failures and how government attempts to correct these failures often makes the situation much worse.

Lott takes on very politically incorrect topics that the mainstream media would never touch such as how affirmative action influences police effectiveness and how giving women the right to vote has influenced the size of the government.

The book is very readable and is clearly intended for a general audience. I would strongly recommend it to people who enjoy the writings of columnists such as Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell.
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77 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Bernard Chapin on June 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Even though I have no background in economics I picked up Dr. John Lott's Freedomnomics the other day and was somewhat surprised to find it as fascinating a read as it was. It's designed to be a direct response to the wildly successful Freakonomics, and the text here was definitely written with laymen in mind. In other words, the statistics he presents are more educational than they are overwhelming. As far as the politics goes, Dr. Lott is obviously a man of the right but the book is not a partisan affair. It is a sincere attempt to demystify the innerworkings of economics. There's no plugging of any candidates or of a party here. It's kind of sad to acknowledge but recognizing the inherent inefficiency of government, along with the way in which private individuals spend their earnings more efficiently, is often a partisan issue in this country but it really shouldn't be.

Dr. Lott emphasizes the liberty and justice inherent to capitalism, and debunks numerous arguments about the limitations of the free market along the way. The bottom line here is that capitalism is what has allowed America to become as well-off as we are. In how many other countries is the overeating of poor people a major concern? As far as what positions struck me as being the strongest, I'd have to say that his link between women's suffrage and the swelling of government was ironclad. Further, in but two pages, he gave one of the best explanations that I've heard for why college faculties are ideologically skewed. I also have to admit that the Myth of Double Giving was completely unknown to me before opening this book. I always just accepted the idea that corporations covered their bets by giving to both political parties simultaneously.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Agisthos on July 31, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I am a libertarian and agree with most of the general principles of this book. But I am giving it one star, this is the exact sort of book that is not going to convince anyone sitting on the fence that small government and free markets can make your life better, it will probably turn them off.


Besides the writing coming across as a sort of emotional right wing rant, Lott commits the error that is endemic to those in the small government and pro market intellectual circles.

That error is, intead of using logic and reason to argue the case for why freedom and laissez-faire capitalism increases the living standard of the ordinary person, he instead just refers to a litany of studies and data to prove his case. Page after page, every page, some statistic quoted, as an arguement from a higher authority.

Well let me give you a hard truth, for every study that Lott quotes as proof that his viewpoint is correct, some leftist academic can also point to data in a leftist study that will give the exact opposite conclusion. So it then becomes a circular arguement, with right wing and left wing academics just pointing to the data and statistics that back up their case.

Why does Lott do this? The answer is found on the very first page, where he declares Milton Friedman the greatest economist of all time. Friedman was a champion of the scientific approach to economics known as 'positivism'. Simply put, positivism means that theory, logic and reason have no place in explaining economic phenomena, only statistical data can be used and relied upon.
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