Chapter one Summary of Freakonomics - Essay - Mike

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The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead

Mr. Leslie’s volume is partly a republication of essays which have appeared during the last three years in periodicals. But they are as fresh, and as germane to the present state of the question, as if they had been written yesterday; and they are supplemented by others which bring up the information and discussion to the latest date. They all relate to some of the aspects of the question of Land Tenure, and may be classed under three heads: the land question as it is in Ireland, the land question as it is in England, and the agricultural economy of those continental countries which the author has had the means of personally observing. We cannot attempt to give an adequate view of the contents of the volume; but in the hope of directing readers to the work itself, we will touch cursorily on a few of the points on which most stress is laid.

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If an example is desired, one will be found in the work before us, the production of a distinguished Italian political economist. Political economy, it is true, is no new subject to Italian intellect; the study of it may almost be said to have originated in Italy: its early cultivators who have left a reputation behind them were generally Italians, and chiefly (we leave the explanation to historians) Southern Italians; indeed, the speculative movement of Italy had for centuries its chief seat in the southern portion of the peninsula, as the political, commercial, and artistic had theirs in the northern. Owing, however, to the general slackening of the intellectual movement in Italy, caused by her unfortunate political situation in the last three centuries, she was outstripped in this as in other departments by more fortunate nations, and it was left to them to originate all the great improvements in this branch of knowledge. But, since restored to freedom, active minds in Italy have not only revived the study of scientific economics, but have placed themselves at once at the most advanced point which that study has yet reached. The work of Mr. Constantine Baer on “Property and Taxation” shows not only a familiar knowledge of the best English, French, and German authorities, but a mastery of their most improved doctrines not often met with even in England; and along with it, no ordinary degree of the ability required for what is a very different thing from a knowledge of economic truths—the power of applying them. We say this, although we have to add that as regards the specific proposal which the book is written to recommend—a matter not of principle, but of application—we do not consider it to be successful. But we have seldom seen a greater amount of sound practical argument brought to the support of a conclusion that we think practically unsound. Like everything written on such subjects by a person thoroughly competent in knowledge and ability, whether right or wrong on the particular point in question, the discussion is highly instructive.

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Lawrence P. R. (2010). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. [The author applies the four drive theory of human behavior (to acquire, to defend, to comprehend, to bond) to the leadership realm, and explains the history of leadership in political, economic, and symbolic institutions as a result of one of three types of leadership: good leadership, misguided leadership; and evil leadership. This innovative book outlines a framework of human behavior that can be used to cultivate stellar leadership/leaders which balances the four drives while avoiding negative leadership and leaders who are missing the drive to bond.] I believe that the Renewed Darwinian theories presented in this book are stronger theories of human behavior and of leadership than any of the current alternatives. They are theories that are universal, testable, and actionable. Now it is up to you, the reader, to decide whether or not this outrageously bold claim is justified. . . . I believe that the Renewed Darwinian Theory enables us to reclassify these "inexplicable" people [psychopaths] as human beings genetically lacking the innate, independent drive to bond—rare but entirely understandable products of the history of the human gene pool. . . . . This book strongly reinforces the existence of psychopaths in top power positions, documents the case that Mao was an especially deadly head-of-state person-w/o-conscience, and comes to the same conclusions I have regarding Rome, Hitler, and Enron. But its title is seriously confusing since it proposes, in a rather figurative way only, that there are "evil" genes behind psychopathy. I, of course, hypothesize that the absence of the genes for bonding is the explanation of psychopathy. I worry that it will be impossible to find the genes causing psychopathy if the search is for "evil" genes.

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Salekin, R. T. (2002). Psychopathy and therapeutic pessimism: clinical lore or clinical reality? (1), 79-112. doi: 10.1016/S0272-7358(01)00083-6 It is a widely held belief that psychopathic individuals are extremely difficult to treat, if not immune to treatment. This therapeutic pessimism is pervasive and undermines motivation to search for effective modes of intervention for psychopathic individuals. A review of 42 treatment studies on psychopathy revealed that there is little scientific basis for the belief that psychopathy is an untreatable disorder. Three significant problems with regard to the research on the psychopathy-treatment relation cast doubt on strident conclusions that deem the disorder untreatable. First, there is considerable disagreement as to the defining characteristics of psychopathy. Second, the etiology of psychopathy is not well understood. Third, there are relatively few empirical investigations of the psychopathy-treatment relationship and even fewer efforts that follow up psychopathic individuals after treatment. Psychologists are encouraged to investigate the psychopathy-treatment relation from multiple perspectives as well as to conduct long-term follow-up studies to establish a modern view of the psychopathy-treatment relation. . . . It seems clear from the current review that the widely held clinical belief that psychopathy is an untreatable disorder is unwarranted and that conclusions either way for this first generation of research are premature.

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In order to judge of these proposals, it is not necessary to have come to a positive conclusion on the rather difficult legislative question, whether and in what cases settlements should be permitted; in other words, whether and to what extent an owner of property should have power to bequeath to one person a life-interest, and to another or others the succession after the death of the first. It is evident that settlement of property may be permitted without permitting settlement of land. It would be sufficient to enact that testamentary dispositions which do not confer unrestricted ownership on the person in whose favour they are made, shall not be valid for the land itself, but only for the proceeds of its sale. There are not the same objections to tying up consols and similar representative wealth from alienation, which there are in the case of the actual sources of production; and if, without forbidding the landowner to regulate, within certain limits, the descent of his pecuniary means beyond his immediate successor, it were put out of his power to detain for this purpose any portion of the land of the country from general circulation, he would be obliged either to bequeath the land in full ownership, implying liberty of sale, or if he thought it indispensable to tie the hands of his successor, the land would be sold by operation of law at his decease, and the restriction would only apply to the proceeds. Mr. Leslie, as we saw, proposes a sale of land at every succession to the extent necessary for clearing the remainder from all existing incumbrances. Without pledging ourselves to this proposal, which requires mature discussion, we may remark that if it were adopted, the proprietor, being no longer able to charge the land beyond his own life with a provision for younger children, must choose between leaving them a portion of the land itself, and selling a portion to raise money for their benefit. These provisions combined would greatly restrict the power of keeping together large masses of land in a particular line of descent; and it might fairly be anticipated that a great increase would take place in the quantity of land which would annually be brought into the market.