16 Aug 2012
I've bought this book for like 3 years and bought it again on Kindle a year ago, but I never did read it until last monday, in which I decide to read the physical book…
It's a popular economics book, like the other 10 books I've read.
There is nothing new to me… but it's a good book; it sparks a lot of deep thinking.
I particularly like the reverse incentive example, where parents are fined for picking up their kids late. It turns out that when fine is enforced, more parents pick up their kids late. It is because parents feel that they already pay fine, so it's ok to be late.
The story about how the broken-glasses theory did not reduce crime is totally contradictory with the story told by Malcolm Gladwell.
I don't know which one to believe, but the broken-glasses theory is very beautiful. In Germany, the theory is also applied on the bus system, in which everybody must present a ticket after 9pm.
As I remember, the broken-glasses theory operates under the assumption that criminals usually commit a tiny crime (like don't buy a bus ticket) as well as a big crime.
Actually, that is not a precise definition; It is that when people see minor crimes, they are inclined to do crimes because they think no police will arrest them.
By strictly checking bus tickets, criminals cannot commit a tiny crime, therefore, they will think that they will be caught if they commit a big crime, since, well, even small crimes are caught.
Moreover, criminals cannot travel during the night, which, in turn, reduces crime to certain degree. And I'm sure criminals won't buy a bus ticket in order to commit crime. They are not investors, ya know?
I am somehow not interested in this kind of books anymore, but it is a good book.