The most interesting excerpt of “Freakonomics” was the connection made between crime rates and abortions. This passage was fascinating for a few reasons. The first reason being that it makes absolute and complete sense, so much so that it should be common sense. This correlation between the legalization of abortion and the rate of crime going down is so simple, yet so incredibly profound. This piece of information, if used correctly, can totally obliterate the argument that pro-choice is a negative thing for society. On a more personal note, I found the concept that the crime rate really is not as high as it was in the 90’s to be encouraging. One thing I really do not enjoy is when an adult says something along the lines of, “The world really isn’t what it used to be,” when referring to safety. As much as I do understand that “back in the day” things were much more relaxed and safer, all I can do is accept how the world is now and not let it get in the way of my life. With the decline of the crime rate in the 90’s due to abortion, it is a great feeling to think that where our world is, safety-wise, is not at its lowest point, and therefore we know that it can be handled.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. Even the parts I did not like very much still caught my attention. An example of this is the section pertaining to how real estate agents may not try their very hardest to get you the best deal. Although this makes absolute sense in the simplest manner, much like everything in this book, it is not the easiest to stomach. While the real estate agents only lose a couple hundred dollars in commission, a buyer or seller can lose thousands of dollars because of an antsy real estate agent. Another example of a part that I did not like was the excerpt on the teachers cheating for their students. I was completely put off by this because in the end, the students ended up in a worse spot than where they were original. Standardized testing is put in place to make sure that no children fall too far behind in school.
While I don’t believe in all of the repercussions of standardized testing such as lack of funding for low scores or teachers solely teaching to the test, I do believe that standardized testing does serve a really important purpose in schools. Standardized testing is a benchmark that the teachers should strive to reach for with every child in their class. This testing ensures that kids are learning the fundamentals needed throughout life, such as reading comprehension and critical thinking. The fact that the teachers were cheating for their children proved that the teachers did not believe they have done a good enough job at teaching these fundamentals. These teachers therefore, while they believe the contrary, are doing a disservice to their students.
The biggest thing I learned from “Freakonomics” was that economics is simple, sometimes so simple in fact that the general public a majority of the time over thinks it. Not only that, but economics can also be extremely interesting. This is because at the core of economics, is us. When I say us I mean, us, the people that buy and sell and keep the economy going. Without us, the economy would not exist. So essentially, the study of economics is the study of people and the decisions we make.