Freakonomics Revenge: Authors That Credited Abortion for Lower Crime Now Blaming Feminism for Society Ills
We'll have to wait and see if the so-called outside-the-box thinking once praised by some of liberal media elites will get the same reception with this latest edition.
In 2005, University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt and New York Times journalist Stephen J. Dubner released the book "Freakonomics" that provided cover for the pro-abortion movement in America by suggesting legalized abortion lowered crime and had a positive impact on society.
However, in their new book "SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance," Levitt and Dubner blame what is generally accepted to be a liberal cause, women's liberation, for the rise of high-end prostitution in America and a failing public education system. The authors appeared on ABC's Oct. 23 "20/20" to elaborate on their theories.
"And with ‘SuperFreakonomics,' they won't make a lot of friends among women, as they argue gender equality, the women's liberation movement, hasn't really done that much for female teachers or financiers, but has been great for high-end prostitutes." ABC "20/20" correspondent Bill Weir said.
Dubner expanded on that point by saying it was a case of a demand being fulfilled by a nefarious means.
"Prostitution is one of the few, if not only sector of the labor force that is dominated by women, always has been," Dubner said. "And that arises from the very simple fact that, you know, there's a lot of men who want to have a lot of sex more than they're able to get for free."
"We're not saying prostitution is good or bad, but if you want to go out and save women from prostitution, you should understand why they're responding to the market and becoming prostitutes in the first place," Dubner continued.
Another unintended consequence of the women's liberation movement has been the deterioration in the education system - mainly the availability of the best teachers.
"Now if Alley [high-end prostitute featured in the segment] does ever have a daughter, chances are a private education will provide her best hope for a good life," Weir said. "Because, much like prostitution, America's education system has been split into two markets - the haves and the have-nots. At the bottom are mostly public schools, horribly broken since the ‘70s. Once again, Levitt and Dubner chalk it up to empowerment of women and the one invention that gave them more control over their professional destiny - the birth control pill."
And because of birth control, women were able to take on other professions besides teaching.
"Before the pill, women were not able to make the investments to be doctors and lawyers," Levitt said. "Instead they would find career tracks that would allow them to get in and out of the labor force."
"A lot of the best and brightest women stopped becoming school teachers in order to become bankers, lawyers and doctors," Dubner added. "As a result, the overall talent level of school teachers in this country began to fall quite precipitously."
Although some in the feminism movement are still crying foul over gender income disparities, according to the book's authors, it is not discrimination but decisions women make early in life that takes them on a different life path than a professional male.
"The best study that I've ever seen about men and women and their earnings is done by a collection of Harvard and Chicago economist," Levitt said. "And in the end they concluded it doesn't seem to be discrimination really at all. The problem is that women just like babies. One of, again, the unintended consequences is that women go to the very best MBA programs in the country and what they end up doing is marrying incredibly successful male MBA [students] and staying home and raising the kids."
Weir suggested there would be a lot of pushback over there conclusions, but Levitt explained that's how economics works - a system of "trade-offs."
"We live in a world of trade-offs, so if a woman decides not to have a family, children - no doubt she can make it further in her career," Levitt said. "Does it mean she can't have a career at all if she has a family and children? That's not true either, but I mean that's the beauty of economics. It's all about trade-offs and how people make them and what the prices are that go with those choices."