In the latest episode of the Get Illuminated podcast, I interviewed Steven E. Landsburg
, author of the delightfully thought provoking book, More Sex is Safer Sex: The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics
To get an idea of what we talked about, here's part of the preface to Landsburg's book:
Common sense tells you that promiscuity spreads AIDS, population growth threatens prosperity, and misers make bad neighbors. I wrote this book to assault your common sense.
My weapons are evidence and logic, especially the logic of economics. Logic is most enlightening -- and surely most fun -- when it challenges us to see the world in a whole new way. This book is about that kind of logic.
Daughters cause divorce. A thirst for revenge is healthier than a thirst for gold. A ban on elephant hunting is bad news for elephants, and disaster assistance is bad news for the people who receive it. Malicious computer hackers should be executed. The most charitable people support the fewest charities. Writing books is socially irresponsible; elbowing your way to the front of the water-fountain line is not. The tall, the slim, and the beautiful earn higher wages -- but not for the reasons you think.
Each of those statements is closer to the truth than you might imagine. If your common sense tells you otherwise, remember that common sense also tells you the earth is flat.
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