Here`s the opening:
Harry Truman longed for a one-armed economist who couldn`t tell him, "But, on the other hand â€¦" As the economic mismanagement of the 1970s is forgotten and the profession`s confidence soars, however, the opposite has emerged: the two-fisted economist. These scholarly brawlers self-assuredly venture far beyond their traditional topics.
Steven D. Levitt`s 2005 pop economics bestseller Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything featured his views on the Ku Klux Klan (he`s against it), real estate agents (they`re kind of like the KKK), sumo wrestling (it`s dishonest), and, most famously, the legalization of abortion in the 1970s (it reduced crime in the 1990s by, in effect, pre-emptively executing unwanted babies more likely to become criminals).
Freakonomics, which sold three million copies, included a half page of scandalmongering about rival economist John R. Lott Jr., author of More Guns, Less Crime, who had attacked Dr. Levitt`s abortion-cut-crime theory. Dr. Lott responded by suing Dr. Levitt for defamation. Now, Dr. Lott has struck back more constructively with his endlessly thought-provoking Freedomnomics: Why the Free Market Works and Other Half-Baked Theories Don`t (Regnery, pp. 275, $27.95).