Essay Sex Drugs and Econ

1535 Words Sep 19th, 2008 7 Pages
Sex, Drugs, and Economics" –A Book Review:

Despite economists’ frequent use of graphs and figures in justifying their theories and predictions, economics has never been either an exact or an abstract science. Economics attempts to describe patterns of human behavior and human choices that often seem unpredictable and irrational, unless these choices are closely examined in their specific context. Diane Coyle’s book Sex, Drugs, and Economics uses examples as far-reaching as the sex industry, illegal drugs, and sports, as well as other unlikely sources such as the behavior of modern teenagers and popular music, to illustrate such basic economic concepts as supply and demand. Coyle suggests that, as economics attempts to explain human
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(4) The fact that customers are mainly men limits the available market, too, to sellers, causing sellers to keep prices high. However, the Internet has reduced barriers to entry into the industry. The overhead of maintaining a shop, even of hiring models to pose for pictures now that computer graphics can substitute, has reduced costs. The Internet has also increased demand as it has taken away much of the embarrassment of ‘real life’ purchasing. Thus, technological change can fundamentally change both the supply and demand sides of the equation of any industry.
Coyle analyzes the drug industry to examine the ways in which the industry functions much like a legitimate market. For example, dealers give away free samples, like marketers do with new forms of soap or shampoo, to get potential customers addicted or ‘hooked’ upon the product. (9) However, despite the fact that up to 50 percent of Americans have tried some form of illicit drug, not all drug consumers become hooked—the core market of persons who are addicted drive the incentive of sellers to continue to supply their habit, and the lack of comparable substitute goods for growers that yield a competitive profit creates an incentive to maintain the
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