Free Market Madness: Why Human Nature is at Odds with Economics--and Why it Matters

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Harvard Business Press, Jan 20, 2009 - Business & Economics - 257 pages
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.

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User Review  - jeffjardine - LibraryThing

Peter Ubel, a self-described "flaming moderate," begins the book describing some of the things free markets fail to address - redistribution to smooth out bad luck, externalities, irrational ... Read full review

Free Market Madness: Why Human Nature is at Odds with Economics--and Why it Matters

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Dr. Ubel (director, Ctr. for Behavioral and Decision Sciences in Medicine, Univ. of Michigan) takes on the intersection of markets and behavioral economics in this look at why humans don't always act ... Read full review


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Kinder Gentler Paternalism
Irrational Tastes and Bottomless Soup Bowls
Impulsive Behavior and the Battle Between Our Current and Future Selves
Risky Feelings and Cigarette Breaks
The Price of Life and the Cost of Health Care
Marketing and the Science of Persuasion
Balancing Liberty and the Pursuit of WellBeing
Can Government Combat Obesity Without Becoming a Nanny State?
About the Author

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About the author (2009)

Peter A. Ubel is a physician and behavioral scientist at the University of Michigan, where he directs the Center for Behavioral and Decision Sciences in Medicine. A prominent thinker in medicine and other fields, he has written for numerous science publications as well as the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and the Huffington Post. His appearances on radio and television shows include Talk of the Nation, All Things Considered, and Fresh Air.

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