Thursday, May 30, 2019

Book Review Freakonomics Essay -- Steven Levitt

Anybody living in the United States in the early 1990s and paying even a whisper of attention to the periodic news or a daily paper could be forgiven for having been scared out of his skin... The culprit was crime. It had been rising relentlessly - a graph plotting the crime consecrate in any American city over recent decades looked like a ski slope in profile... Death by gunfire, intentional and otherwise, had let commonplace, So in like manner had carjacking and crack dealing, robbery, and rape. Violent crime was a gruesome and constant companion...The culprit was the so-called superpredator. For a time, he was everywhere. Glowering from the go forward of newsweeklies. Swaggering his way through foot-thick government reports. He was a scrawny, big-city teenager with a cheap gun in his hand and nothing in his embrace but ruthlessness. There were thousands out there just like him we were told, a generation of killers about to hurl the country into deepest chaos...Criminologist James Alan Fox predicted two outcomes. The positive that the rate of teen homicides would rise another fifteen percent over the next decade. The pessimistic that it would more than double...Then all of a sudden, instead of difference up and up and up, the crime rate began to fall. And fall and fall and fall some more. The crime drop was startling in several respects. It was ubiquitous, with every family line of crime in every part of the country. It was persistent, with incremental decreases year after year. And it was entirely unanticipated, especially because the public had been anticipating the opposite...Even though the experts had failed to anticipate the crime drop, which was in fact well under way even as they made their horrifying predictions, they now hurried to... ...age. Levitt searchs this passage with the same approach that he uses to explore the cloak-and-dagger side of many other such examples in society that have been overlooked and accepted as conventional wis dom for far too long. Take the parents who feel confident that they have made the right decision to forbid their child to play at a friend?s business firm whose family owns a gun, but allows their child to play at a friend?s house that has a pool. Levitt shows that the child is about ten thousand time more likely to drown in the swimming pool than in a gun accident, but that the violent conventional mindset associated with guns wrongly portrays their capableness of causing death. Through these examples, Levitt establishes Freakonomics as a way by which the reader should live their life, never totally accepting something until every stone has been upturned, eventually exposing its hidden

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