Friday, March 4, 2011

Freakonomics, I Love You

I've been checking out Freakonomics radio lately, and you should too! The best part about it, besides all the other stuff, is the refreshingly un-PC approach that Steven & Stephen bring. What's cool is that they don't go out of their way to be un-PC, it just flows from the nature of the fascinating art/science that is economics.

Here is an un-PC take on the sacred American act of voting that is just too good to go unread. The context is they were talking about the fact that of course your vote doesn't make a difference, that elections never come down to just one vote, and if they did they would go to the courts and be decided there anyway. So in actuality we only really need like a thousand people to vote, everyone else's time is better spent picking up trash or doing something else that is productive:

Levitt: "It depends on how you look at [voter turnout]. Economists would predict that almost nobody would vote, so in that regard 50% is quite high. On the other hand, compared to some other countries, especially the countries where they more or less mandate that you vote, it’s pretty low. I think ultimately it comes down to--if you worry about the people who do show up, and you might say, 'Well jese, the people who do show up are the ones who have the lowest value on their time, and the ones who don’t understand that voting can have no benefit, so maybe they’re not the smartest ones who are going out voting'—then you might worry about low voter turnout because you didn’t like the composition of who votes."

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