Betting on Ideas: Wars, Invention, Inflation

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, Jul 10, 1989 - History - 247 pages
In this book, Reuven Brenner argues that people bet on new ideas and are more willing to take risks when they have been outdone by their fellows on local, national, or international scales. Such bets mean that people deviate from the beaten path and either gamble, commit crimes, or come up with new ideas in art, business, or politics, and ideas concerning war and peace in particular. By using evidence on gambling, crime, and creativity now and during the Industrial Revolution, by examining innovations in English and French inheritance laws and the emergence of welfare legislation, and by looking at what has happened before and after wars, Brenner reaches the conclusion that hope and fear, envy and vanity, sentiments provoked when being leapfrogged, make humans race.
 

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Contents

Why Do Nations Engage in Wars?
1
On Probability Thinking and Stress
29
On Making Up Our Minds
38
on Political Thought in Particular
53
On Gambling Social Instability and Creativity Now
57
Evidence on Patents Diagrams and Comments
88
Firms and International Trade An Alternative Viewpoint
90
On the Methodology of a Uniform Approach
100
On Politics and Inflation
131
Unemployment A Note
164
What Insurance Can Indexation Provide? The Canadian Experiment
166
IndexationAdditional Viewpoints
184
The Choice
186
Notes
199
References
225
Index
241

and during the Industrial Revolution
102
Why Did Inheritance Laws Change?
117

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