Saturday, January 26, 2008

Sounds right but seems terribly wrong

From a NYT review of Tim Harford‘s The Logic of Life: The Rational Economics of an Irrational World.
Finally, a poke in the eye. Mr. Harford, in the coolest possible language, sets out to prove that there was no point in voting for Al Gore in Florida in 2000. There’s no point in voting at all, for that matter, as a purely logical act. So if you stayed home that day, relax. If you really want to make a difference, buy lottery tickets — your chances of hitting the jackpot are roughly equal to your chances of swinging an election — and devote your winnings to political lobbying.

And don’t bother to read up on the issues, either. “Because the chance of any individual’s vote making any difference to the result is tiny, the benefits of turning an uninformed vote into an informed vote are also tiny,” Mr. Harford writes. “Rationally speaking, why bother?”

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