University of Chicago Press, Hardcover, 9780226041018, 384pp.
Publication Date: November 1, 2009
On December 5, 2004, the still-developing blogosphere took one of its biggest steps toward mainstream credibility, as Nobel Prize winning economist Gary S. Becker and renowned jurist and legal scholar Richard A. Posner announced the formation of the Becker-Posner Blog.
In no time, the blog had established a wide readership and reputation as a reliable source of lively, thought-provoking commentary on current events, its pithy and profound weekly essays highlighting the value of economic reasoning when applied to unexpected topics. Uncommon Sense gathers the most important and innovative entries from the blog, arranged by topic, along with updates and even reconsiderations when subsequent events have shed new light on a question. Whether it's Posner making the economic case for the legalization of gay marriage, Becker arguing in favor of the sale of human organs for transplant, or even the pair of scholars vigorously disagreeing about the utility of collective punishment, the writing is always clear, the interplay energetic, and the resulting discussion deeply informed and intellectually substantial.
To have a single thinker of the stature of a Becker or Posner addressing questions of this nature would make for fascinating reading; to have both, writing and responding to each other, is an exceptionally rare treat. With Uncommon Sense, they invite the adventurous reader to join them on a whirlwind intellectual journey. All they ask is that you leave your preconceptions behind.
Richard A. Posner is Circuit Judge, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.
“In the vast wasteland that most assume the blogosphere to be, Becker and Posner''s work is a gem. Authentic, responsive, and enormously fun, it should be read both in real time, and in the reflection of a published work.”—Lawrence Lessig
"The best way of getting into the economics of what is known as the ''Chicago School'' without paying tuition."—Elizabeth Taylor, Chicago Tribune
“An excellent book . . . . For anyone who wants a quick and easy crash course on Chicago economics-style thinking, this book is as good as it gets. . . . I read nearly the whole book in one sitting.”—Steven D. Levitt, Freakonomics blog, New York Times
-Steven D. Levitt
"In December 2004, Gary Becker and Judge Richard Posner, two intellectual superstars, created a weekly Internet blog that examines a wide variety of topics with the tools of economics. This book culls from the blog''s first 28 months 49 posts that they consider their best, most interesting, and most lasting. Becker and Posner do not persuade by using authority or clever rhetoric--they write in a dry academic style--but they attempt to make a clear, logical case for their positions using economic reasoning. Occasionally they discuss conventional economic topics, but more often they write about broader and more provocative issues such as sex and population, universities, crime and punishment, the environment and disasters, and a miscellany of world problems. Both write on each issue; they usually agree with each other, but not always. The book''s primary appeal is that it shows how two first-rate economic thinkers analyze issues. . . . Highly recommended. All levels and libraries."--Choice