Thomas Schelling is a political economist "conspicuous for wandering"-an errant economist. In Choice and Consequence, he ventures into the area where rationality is ambiguous in order to look at the tricks people use to try to quit smoking or lose weight. He explores topics as awesome as nuclear terrorism, as sordid as blackmail, as ineffable as daydreaming, as intimidating as euthanasia. He examines ethical issues wrapped up in economics, unwrapping the economics to disclose ethical issues that are misplaced or misidentified.
With an ingenious, often startling approach, Schelling brings new perspectives to problems ranging from drug abuse, abortion, and the value people put on their lives to organized crime, airplane hijacking, and automobile safety. One chapter is a clear and elegant exposition of game theory as a framework for analyzing social problems. Another plays with the hypothesis that our minds are not only our problem-solving equipment but also the organ in which much of our consumption takes place.
What binds together the different subjects is the author's belief in the possibility of simultaneously being humane and analytical, of dealing with both the momentous and the familiar. Choice and Consequence was written for the curious, the puzzled, the worried, and all those who appreciate intellectual adventure.
Thomas C. Schelling was Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Economics and School of Public Affairs at the University of Maryland and Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Political Economy, Emeritus, at Harvard University. He was co-recipient of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Economics.
1. Economic Reasoning and the Ethics of Policy 2. Command and Control 3. The Intimate Contest for Self-Command 4. Ethics, Law, and the Exercise of Self-Command 5. The Life You Save May Be Your Own 6. Strategic Relationships in Dying 7. Economics and Criminal Enterprise 8. What Is the Business of Organized Crime? 9. Strategic Analysis and Social Problems 10. What Is Game Theory? 11. A Framework for the Evaluation of Arms Proposals 12. The Strategy of Inflicting Costs 13. Who Will Have the Bomb? 14. Thinking about Nuclear Terrorism 15. The Mind as a Consuming Organ Notes Sources Index