Legalized Abortion Dropped the Crime Rate, Not the Police Nor Politicians

One of the  most interesting economic books in the last few years is Freakonomics, by Levitt and Dubner.

When people tell me they read the book, I’ve never had a case where they did not excitedly talk about the same example. Seems this example always strikes people, and if true, shows the benefits of cultivating your wisdom understanding of things, events, affairs. In Freakonomics, p. 139-141:

"In the early 1990s, just as the first cohort of children born after Roe v. Wade was hitting its late teen years –the years during which young men enter their criminal prime — the rate of crime began to fall. What this cohort was missing, of course, were the children who stood the greatest chance of becoming criminals. And the crime rate continued to fall as an entire generation came of age minus the children whose mothers had not wanted to bring a child into the world. Legalized abortion led to less unwantedness; unwantedness leads to high crime; legalized abortion, therefore, led to less crime."

People don’t believe this upon first reading it, but then the authors go into case after case lending weight to its veracity. Makes sense to me. Despite what each city mayor claimed during that time, thumping his or her chest during re-election campaigns, they probably had very little to do with stemming the crime rate. It was probably this and a general economic buoyancy rather than any actions on their part.

Go read the book. Controversial. Jarring results. Lots of wisdom in teaching you how to think.

And as we get near election time, don’t just trust the politicians with similar claims and trumping. I remember Al Gore claiming he invented the interent. Sheez.



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