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

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Harvard Business Press, Dec 30, 2013 - Business & Economics - 257 pages
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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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Free Market Madness: Why Human Nature is at Odds with Economics--and Why it Matters

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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

Contents

The Invisible Hand Meets the Unconscious Brain
3
Is the Obesity Epidemic a Consequence of Rational Choice?
13
Bank Tellers Fighter Pilots and the Limits of Rationality
33
Cashews Coffee Mugs and the Birth of Behavioral Economics
47
Kinder Gentler Paternalism
65
Irrational Tastes and Bottomless Soup Bowls
79
Impulsive Behavior and the Battle Between Our Current and Future Selves
91
Risky Feelings and Cigarette Breaks
129
The Price of Life and the Cost of Health Care
151
Marketing and the Science of Persuasion
171
Balancing Liberty and the Pursuit of WellBeing
191
Can Government Combat Obesity Without Becoming a Nanny State?
205
Notes
227
Index
241
About the Author
257
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About the author (2013)

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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