Read the book by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. The movie, “Freakonomics,” which I saw on Sunday at Tucson’s cool Loft Cinema, helped me understand all the freakiness better, even if its lengthy examination of corruption and Sumo wrestling was too overwrought for me. Almost put me to sleep.
My favorite part was their clever explanation of the significant reduction of crime during the ’90s. There were the usual suspects, more police on the streets, less crack, and such. But what accounted for a 50 percent reduction in crime was the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. That’s right.
Here’s how it plays: When women were able to abort unwanted fetuses in the ’70s, it greatly reduced the number of unhappy young adults and unhappy not-so-good mothers in the 1990s, and voila — less crime. How elegant.
And best of all, the discovery proves that you never know why things happen the way they do. How lucky these guys were to have big-kid work, pursuing questions that intrigue them, then enlightening the rest of us, proving that it’s always good to use your imagination.