Free Market Madness

Free Market Madness

Why Human Nature Is at Odds With Economics--and Why It Matters

Book - 2009
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Perseus Publishing
Humans just aren't entirely rational creatures.

We decide to roll over and hit the snooze button instead of going to the gym. We take out home loans we can't possibly afford. And did you know that people named Paul are more likely to move to St. Paul than other cities? All too often, our subconscious causes us to act against our own self-interest.

But our free-market economy is based on the assumption that we always do act in our own self-interest. In this provocative book, physician Peter Ubel uses his understanding of psychology and behavior to show that in some cases government must regulate markets for our own health and well-being. And by understanding and controlling the factors that go into our decisions, big and small, we can all begin to stop the damage we do to our bodies, our finances, and our economy as a whole.

Ubel's vivid stories bring his message home for anyone interested in improving the way our society works.

Book News
Ubel (medicine and psychology, Center for Behavioral and Decision Sciences in Medicine, U. of Michigan) argues that restricting certain kinds of freedom can help preserve health and well-being. He details the harms of capitalism, which gives consumers too many choices to make bad decisions, and argues for a more restrained market that will help protect people from their nature to overconsume. He discusses problems such as obesity, impulsive behavior, and behaviors like smoking; concepts of rationality, persuasion, and behavioral economics; how society might benefit from soft paternalism; and the problem of free market medical care. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: Boston : Harvard Business Press, 2009
ISBN: 9781422126097
Characteristics: xiv, 257 p. ; 24 cm


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Apr 24, 2012

Finaly we are getting the other side of the free market debates that ran during the 90's and earlier. How can it be? Totally opposite from the free tradist positioning! People lie, and big lies benefit big people.
Many examples presented to bolster the authors contention that regulation is necessary to:
preserve assets that other people, businesses even, might want to use. Regulation is necessary to 'save' people from themselves, given the world is a totally complex place and with no regulations (see derivative fiasco), no one ,mau understand what they are doing, nor the implications. Dumb politicians abound. Idiologues pollute. Why one might ask is it so hard for a politician to be concerned about those he has agis over?

Oct 27, 2009

easy read, argues that people can be irrational and can be manipulated by advertising (hence all those fat people in the US), believes behavioral economics has advantages over neoclassical rational approach (favored by the libertarians), wants more government involvement in the market

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