WTF?!: An Economic Tour Of The Weird
By: Peter Leeson
Stanford Economics and Finance; 1 edition (October 17, 2017)
WTF?! An Economic Tour Of The Weird, is a compelling exploration of the behavioral of incentives bound up in basic economic theory. The book takes the reader on a “tour” of seemingly historical oddities. Leeson stops on each and explains how the behavior might not be so strange, after all. I enjoyed the book but have found myself growing tired of economics in general. Maybe it was a good thing I never finished that Ph.D. Maybe I have just had my full of economics. Economics is about all I studied for eight years and I have just grown a little exhausted of it all. It’s kind of sad, if you think about it.
Two of my favorite quotes:
I’ve found that people—all of them, regardless of time or place, religion or culture, wealth, poverty, or anything else—are rational. To be rational, as I see it, means simply to pursue your goals as best you can given your limitations and the limitations of your environment. In this form at least, the claim that people are rational isn’t one that most will find hard to accept. Yet the immediate and certain implication is that people don’t do senseless things. One of this tour’s purposes is to show you that what seems like senseless behavior actually makes sense, and thus what seems like irrationality is actually rational. Weird social institutions strike you as weird because you’re unfamiliar with the constraints that the people who developed them confront.
Incentives are the reason you go to work on days when you’d rather stay home or the reason you’re playing hooky right now. Why you paid to get into this museum instead of sneaking in—right? And why the fine folks at the Department of Motor Vehicles take their sweet, sweet time: I’ll just take my auto registration business elsewhere! Oh, wait. Incentives are shorthand for the relationship between benefits and costs, which attend every choice you make.