In this book, Reuven Brenner argues that people bet on new ideas and are more willing to take risks when they have been outdone by their fellows on local, national, or international scales. Such bets mean that people deviate from the beaten path and either gamble, commit crimes, or come up with new ideas in art, business, or politics, and ideas concerning war and peace in particular. By using evidence on gambling, crime, and creativity now and during the Industrial Revolution, by examining innovations in English and French inheritance laws and the emergence of welfare legislation, and by looking at what has happened before and after wars, Brenner reaches the conclusion that hope and fear, envy and vanity, sentiments provoked when being leapfrogged, make humans race.
|Publisher:||University of Chicago Press|
|Product dimensions:||(w) x (h) x 0.70(d)|
Table of Contents
1. Why Do Nations Engage in Wars?
Appendix 1.1: On Probability, Thinking, and Stress
Appendix 1.2: On Making Up Our Minds . . .
Appendix 1.3: . . . on Political Thought, in Particular
2. On Gambling, Social Instability, and Creativity Now . . .
With Gabrielle A. Brenner
Appendix 2.1: Evidence on Patents: Diagrams and Comments
Appendix 2.2: Firms and International Trade: An Alternative Viewpoint
Appendix 2.3: On the Methodology of a Uniform Approach
3. . . . and during the Industrial Revolution
4. Why Did Inheritance Laws Change?
By Gabrielle A. Brenner
5. On Politics and Inflation
Appendix 5.1: Unemployment: A Note
6. What Insurance Can Indexation Provide?
The Canadian Experiment
Appendix 6.1: Indexation: Additional Viewpoints
7. The Choice
What People are Saying About This
Betting on Ideas is an ingenious and erudite creation, easily as much so as History - the Human Gamble. Its appeal like its predecessor's, is to a wide audience: historians, economists. sociologists, and anthropologists, among others. And like its predecessor, the book's greatest value is as a general, truly novel paradigm of large scale human behavior. -- (Jonathan Hughes, Northwestern University)
In my opinion, people who have "theories of the world," are either dangerous crackpots or visionary geniuses. Reuven Brenner has a "theory of the world", which he has already expounded in his 1983 book, History - the Human Gamble, and on which he now expands in this second book. I cannot decide into which category Brenner falls - since much of what he says makes sense ... Perhaps Brenner is a visionary genius? -- (John Hey, University of York, Economica, November 1987)
Certainly one of the most unusual and mind-challenging books I have read in a long time. -- (G.O.W. Mueller, Professor of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University)