The Price of Everything: Finding Method in the Madness of What Things Cost [NOOK Book]

Overview

"Porter's work out to ring up the audience for Steven Levitt's Freakonomics."
-Booklist


Many of the prices we pay seem to make little sense. We shell out $2.29 for coffee at Starbucks when a nearly identical brew can be had at the corner deli for less than a dollar. We may be less willing to give blood for $25 than to donate it for free. ...
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The Price of Everything: Finding Method in the Madness of What Things Cost

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Overview

"Porter's work out to ring up the audience for Steven Levitt's Freakonomics."
-Booklist


Many of the prices we pay seem to make little sense. We shell out $2.29 for coffee at Starbucks when a nearly identical brew can be had at the corner deli for less than a dollar. We may be less willing to give blood for $25 than to donate it for free. And we pay someone to cart away trash that would be a valuable commodity in poorer parts of the world.

The Price of Everything starts with a simple premise: there is a price behind each choice, whether we're deciding to have a baby, drive a car, or buy a book. We often fail to appreciate just how critical prices are as motivating forces. But their power becomes clear when distorted prices steer our decisions the wrong way. Eduardo Porter uncovers the true story behind the prices we pay and reveals what those prices are actually telling us.


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Editorial Reviews

Megan Buskey
Porter marshals an impressive array of research to show all the ways consumers can be shortsighted, self-indulgent, oblivious and inconsistent—not to mention hugely vulnerable to profit-eyed marketers…Most of Porter's evidence is culled from sources like the National Bureau of Economic Research and The Journal of Economic Perspectives—outlets that routinely publish fascinating research cloaked in jargon. His main feat lies in scouring, translating and synthesizing the latest findings of social science into something that the curious layperson would actually enjoy reading.
—The New York Times
Kirkus Reviews

A sweeping examination of the relationships between humans and money.

New York Times editorial board member Porter is fascinated by what individuals pay for tangible commodities. After a chapter devoted toconsumer goods, the author covers a wide range of topics, examining what people in the United States and other societies believe a human life is worth, how to value happiness, whether a free lunch really exists andhow to rethink capitalist economies when predictable market behaviors become out of kilter. The author finds that husbands pay for brides in some cultures to maximize reproductive success. In other cultures, parents abort female fetuses to avoid the costs of marrying off their daughters. Porter also asks why it has evolved that employers pay workers rather than enslave them, and why many wealthy individuals believe their most valuable commodity is scarce free time. Given the power of pricing to change behaviors, the author is surprised that governments generally avoid price manipulations to control the behaviors of the governed. He marvels at the differences between the U.S. government and various European governments regarding the price of gasoline for motorized vehicles. In the United States, relatively cheap gas priceslead to urban sprawl and dangerous air-pollution levels, while in Europe, higher taxation on consumer purchases of gas has helped control sprawl and pollution. Porter writes that global warming is partly a failure ofpolluting nations' economies to place a proper price on theendowments of nature. Failing to determine socially conscious pricesdemonstrates a lack of will, not a lack of science.

A sometimes abstract, sometimes philosophical and sometimes anecdotal mélange of chapters not always easy to follow, but almost always interesting.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101444511
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 1/4/2011
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • File size: 432 KB

Meet the Author

Eduardo Porter has been on the staff of The New York Times since January 2004, covering economics, and joined the paper’s editorial board in July 2007. He began his journalism career in 1990 as a financial reporter for Notimex, the Mexican news agency, in Mexico City. He was a correspondent in Tokyo (1991-1992) and in London (1992-1996). In 1996, Porter was appointed editor of the Brazilian edition of América Economía, a business and economics magazine based in Sao Paulo. In 2000, he became senior special writer for The Wall Street Journal, based in Los Angeles, covering the Hispanic population in the United States. He is a graduate of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. He has an MSc in quantum fields and fundamental forces from Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in London.


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Table of Contents

Introduction Prices Are Everywhere 1

Chapter 1 The Price of Things 15

Chapter 2 The Price of Life 40

Chapter 3 The Price of Happiness 59

Chapter 4 The Price of Women 79

Chapter 5 The Price of Work 110

Chapter 6 The Price of Free 130

Chapter 7 The Price of Culture 155

Chapter 8 The Price of Faith 179

Chapter 9 The Price of the Future 201

Epilogue: When Prices Fail 226

Acknowledgments 247

Notes 251

Index 285

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 11, 2011

    pricing

    Two observations: Nook price too high....kinda reminds me of the pricing unstrategy on Rumsfeld's new book
    I am also skeptical of someone who would copy another author's book title.

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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