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Common sense tells us that HIV/AIDS is spread by promiscuous sexual behavior but respected economist Steven Landsburg argues that HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases are spread NOT by promiscuous sexual behaviour but by avoiding casual sex!

 

It is most unbelievable but Landsburg is able to provides proof through cogent arguments, that the chief culprits behind the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases are monogamy, chastity and other forms of extreme sexual conservatism.

 We have known all along, that unchecked population growth threatens the prosperity of nations but Landsburg argues that nations must be fruitful and multiple if they want to see prosperity!

 

He also advances sound arguments to back such outrageous postulates as “writing books is socially irresponsible but pushing and elbowing your way to the front of a queue is not”, “misers make good neighbours” and “it is better to thirst for revenge than to thirst for gold.”

 

He is even able to explain why it makes economic sense to allow firemen to keep property they rescue from fires, why disaster assistance is bad for the people of disaster-stricken areas and why members of court juries which acquit criminals, should themselves be put in the dock.

 

The respected economist himself concedes that his arguments go against common sense, but then, he also reminds us that common sense tells us that the earth is flat, but is it?

 

He applies the logic of economics and uses statistics, mathematics and appropriate fictional scenarios to gallantly back all his apparently ludicrous arguments.

 

This is one of the most brilliant attempts ever to demystify and make economics interesting and great fun for lay people constantly bamboozled by economists but he has probably ended up mystifying economics some more.

 

What we in Ghana see and experience around us and what our economists and statisticians keep telling us certainly make it impossible for us to determine the precise state of our national economy.

The state of Ghana’s economy is one of the most critical national concerns at the moment, to the extent that there are probably people who would strangle Finance Minister Seth Terpker with their bare hands and in broad daylight for what they believe is his mismanagement of our economy.

Sometimes politicians lend economists a little help to bamboozle us some ore: Two people stare intently at the same object. One of them says the object is black. The other swears to the outer heavens that the object is sparling white. It is the typical scenario when politicians and economists undertake an assessment of the national economy. What politicians say about the national economy generally depends on whether they are in power or in the opposition but we dont know what makes economists tick

Economics is the only field in which two people are known to have shared a Nobel Prize for promulgating ideas that are direct opposites: Professor Gunnar Myrdal and Professor Friedrich von Hayek who shared a Nobel Prize for their “contradicting” contributions to the field of economics.

Since we cannot rely on economists or politicians to tell us the truth regarding the state of the economy at any given time, the man walking in the street or returning from the market clutching a loaf of bread or a bowl of cassava is probably the most reliable source of information about the state of the economy.

Joel Anderson cuts economists a lot of slack: “Being an economist cannot be fun. Your job involves examining a system with literally, billions of different moving parts and then trying to come up with predictions or reasonable explanations that, quite frankly, don’t actually exist. You are re closer to anyone else in the world to being able to give a meaningful answer to WHY the things that happen, happen. The fact that most of the time you don’t really have anything better than an educated guess, should be a sign that economics is just too complex a discipline to be completely understood.” Well...?