Name This Book!
Since Arnold is already pumping up my book, and it’s been accepted by a major university press, it’s time to announce my official Title Contest. If we’ve learned anything from the success of Freakonomics, it’s that titles matter. And while I don’t expect to be anywhere near the best-seller list, it would be great if I had a title to pique readers’ interest.
So here’s my offer: If I use the title you suggest, I’ll take you to lunch at Morton’s (Tyson’s Corner or Reston, your pick).
Main constraint: I’m looking for witty, not belligerant. I don’t want an “in-your-face” title that will alienate scholars. I’d rather sell fewer copies and be read by the economists and political scientists that I’m trying to engage.
For now, I’m calling the book The Logic of Collective Belief: The Political Economy of Voter Irrationality. It’s a slightly witty allusion to Olson’s classic, and hardly belligerant. But that’s faint praise. There’s probably a better title out there, and hopefully one of my readers knows what it is!
Before you suggest a title, of course, it would help to read a little of the book. Here’s an excerpt.
P.S. Arnold makes a number of interesting points about my book. I think I’ll hold off on responding, though, until it comes out.
Jan 27 2006 at 2:43pm
“Vote: It’s Easier Than Working”
“No Matter Who Wins, We Lose”
Jan 27 2006 at 2:47pm
I like your title, and looking forward to reading the book. Personally, I would just drop “The Logic of” and leave it as;
Collective Belief: The Political Economy of Voter Irrationality
Jan 27 2006 at 2:50pm
Jan 27 2006 at 2:51pm
Jan 27 2006 at 3:01pm
Uncommon Wisdom: A Look at the Economics of Voter Egalitarianism
Jan 27 2006 at 3:10pm
Blind Leading the Blind: An economic examination of political munchausen by proxy.
Jan 27 2006 at 3:17pm
These titles should get some heads turned without being particularly belligerent:
* “Voting considered harmful”
* “Democracy: Fatal if swallowed”
* “Democracy vs. Economy”
But I think the best title is probably “The Paradox of Democracy”
Jan 27 2006 at 4:11pm
Collective Ignorance: The Political Economy of Voter Irrationality
Jan 27 2006 at 4:19pm
Locke, Schlock and Porkbarrel
The seeming irrational outcomes of democratic choice
[I preface the title with an old joke] A masochist and sadist go out on a data. Things go well and the masochist turns seductively to the sadist and says “I want you hurt hurt me.” The sadist with an evil grins replies; “No.” Thus the title:
The Sadist Says “No”
Why we get hurt by getting what we ask for from democracy
Jan 27 2006 at 4:43pm
Chaos by Representation or Representaion by Chaos
Jan 27 2006 at 4:47pm
What price devotion
Jan 27 2006 at 4:47pm
Put your photo that you have at the top of the page on the cover of the book. Then title the book GEEKonomics!
Jan 27 2006 at 4:49pm
Jan 27 2006 at 6:03pm
What is wrong with “The Paradox of Democracy?” Perhaps with a subtitle “The Logic of Collective Belief”
Jan 27 2006 at 6:20pm
Here’s a thought:
A Simple Majority: The Political Economy of Voter Irrationality
Jan 27 2006 at 6:24pm
A nod to Donald Wittman:
The Myth of Democratic Success
That’s too confrontational for my tastes, however.
Jan 27 2006 at 6:37pm
Loopynomics: the Infinite Gullibility of the Masses.
Jan 27 2006 at 7:07pm
It would be best if you could quote the aliens from the Simpsons…something along the lines of “Go ahead, throw your vote away! It’s a two party system! Muhahahaha!”
Jan 27 2006 at 7:15pm
The Logic of Rational Irrationality: Why Governments Fail
(or reverse the order)
Why We Believe Lies
The Worst Form of Government
Jan 27 2006 at 7:21pm
I think the reason that Freakonomics is successful is everyone is buying it for the baby names section, which I happen to think is ill-researched.
Jan 27 2006 at 8:34pm
The Alchemy of Democracy
Jan 27 2006 at 10:09pm
Don’t Rock the Vote!
Jan 27 2006 at 11:27pm
Sorry to borrow one from the Fox network and the talented James Surowiecki, but…
The Ignorance of Crowds: Why voters choose bad policy.
The Religion of Bad Economics.
And a modification of your original…
The (Il)logic of Collective Belief: What voters don’t know hurts them.
Jan 27 2006 at 11:31pm
1. It’s come to my attention that my comments are not very constructive. Given that I value truth, I agree. In fact–my words–I’d say I’m pretty much a jerk. Ok, enough jerkdom.
2. I’ve not analyzed the excerpt yet. I will. In depth. In the mean time, given my quick read through the material, I’d call the book:
One Dollar, One Vote
Because I think that is the ultimate argument.
Jan 28 2006 at 12:39am
The Muddled Majority: Why Smart People Vote For Dumb Things
Jan 28 2006 at 6:00am
Running together some recently successful titles:
“Geeks, freaks and why you can never buy a successful democracy”.
Jan 28 2006 at 8:09am
The Political Economy of Voter Irrationality or How Much Democracy Do We Really Want.
or combined with D. Friedman’s suggestion (I really would like to share a table with him 🙂
The Worst Form of Government: How Much Democracy Do We Really Want
Jan 28 2006 at 8:44am
The Logic of Mass Delusion: How Voter Irrationality Originated and Why It Persists
or maybe Electoral Mass Delusion, etc.
Btw, have you read the recent book _Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy_ ?
It was reviewed in The Economist a few weeks ago but I haven’t seen it.
I love the mass delusion part. It’s fun!
Reminds me of the Clinton follies.
Jan 28 2006 at 9:20am
David Friedman beat me to “The Worst Form of Government”, but along the same lines:
“Three Wolves and a Sheep: The Fundamental Weaknesses of Democracy” (from the old aphorism “Democracy is three wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner”… I suppose this doesn’t work, actually, since the aphorism illustrates the problem of too MUCH rationalism in voting!)
“The Government We Deserve: Voter Irrationality and Democratic Outcomes”
Jan 28 2006 at 9:42am
One more –
Be Careful What You Wish (or Vote) For. The Logic of Collective Belief
Jan 28 2006 at 9:56am
Vote and Die
Jan 28 2006 at 11:23am
I’d say you’ve got another Chapter for your book. Can we be listed as Contributors? (just kidding)
Jan 28 2006 at 12:27pm
Voting Against Liberty
Jan 28 2006 at 1:20pm
The Logic of Voter Irrationality.
Concise, not rude, and paradoxical.
Jan 28 2006 at 1:22pm
Obviously this is why political parties try to develop an emotional bond with their members: “My party right or wrong”. If you’re not going to consider your vote rationally, as an attempt to make a collective decision that leads to the outcome you think best, you might as well vote in a way that makes you feel good.
How about a title along the lines of “Unwilling to See” or “Collective Blindness”.
Best of luck with this, I’ll get a copy when it comes out 🙂
Jan 28 2006 at 1:41pm
Politicians and Ballots: Weapons of Mass Stupidity
Jan 28 2006 at 4:10pm
The Madness of Crowds Who Vote
And the Popular Delusions that Drive Them
Obviously a MacKay reference…
Jan 28 2006 at 4:38pm
Good and Hard: How Democracy Doesn’t Work
Nice work, Mr Caplan.
Jan 28 2006 at 5:55pm
Benevolent Ignorance: How Democracy Acts as the Opiate of the Masses.
Jan 28 2006 at 6:07pm
The only problem – that didn’t really speak to the economics of it except as reference to Marx. You might want to add an additional subtitle :
“A Study of The Political Economy of Voter Irrationality”
Lawrence H. White
Jan 28 2006 at 8:30pm
Delusional Democracy: The Political Economy of Voter Irrationality
or: Delusions of Democracy
Jan 29 2006 at 12:16am
Electoral Brothels: giving the customer what he wants
Jan 29 2006 at 5:28am
“The Irony of Democracy”
No, wait… that’s been taken.
Jan 29 2006 at 9:10am
My suggested title for Bryan Caplan’s new book is:
RULES BY FOOLS
In the remote probability that this title might win, I’ll reluctantly forego the lunch, because I’m in West Palm Beach, FL. Instead, I would happily accept a signed copy of the book. Good luck with this admirable and important book.
Jan 29 2006 at 11:36am
Wishful Voting: Explaining Collective Voter Irrationality
Jan 29 2006 at 1:41pm
The Democratic Delusion: The Political Economy of Voter Irrationality
It’s a counterweight to James Marone’s The Democratic Wish, although his book is history, not theory.
Jan 29 2006 at 4:05pm
Fooling Ourselves: How We Harm Ourselves and America While in the Voting Booth.
PS. How about Arties instead of Mortons?
Jan 29 2006 at 4:34pm
“Dumocracy” (or “Dumbocracy,” but that starts with “Dumbo”)
“Ballots or Wallets?” (or some variation)
“The Butterfly Effect” (reference to both Chaos Theory and Florida elections)
James D. Miller
Jan 29 2006 at 6:35pm
Voters’ rational irrationality.
Jan 29 2006 at 8:59pm
Hijacking the Vote: An Economic Look at How Systematic Bias Undermines Our Future
Whatever you call it, I look forward to seeing it in print. Congratulations!
Jan 30 2006 at 9:35am
The Logic(?) of Crowds
Stupidity and Rational Self Interest
Jan 30 2006 at 11:12am
Slight modification of what I had earlier…
The Madness of Crowds Who Vote.
Why Extraordinary Popular Delusions Persist in Democracy
Jan 30 2006 at 2:45pm
How about any of these??
“Why our Best Interests Don’t get the Vote”
“Manufacturing Choice with Political Machines: An Economic Approach to Voter Irrationality”
“Creating the Illusion of Choice”
“Why People Voted for Bush and Other Logical Errors Made by Voters”
“Voting Against Yourself: Why we can’t get it right at the Ballot Box”
“I Voted for Freedom and all I got was this Stupid War?”
and… how could you not pick this one?
“Dude, Where’s my Choice? Sounding the Alarm against Voter Irrationality with Economics”
“Why your Best Interest Don’t Show Up at the Ballot Box: Explained by Economist Bryan Caplan”
Sorry, kinda got on a roll (probably downhill? heh.)
Jan 30 2006 at 2:46pm
As Good as it Gets: The Government of Irrational Voters
Jan 30 2006 at 4:14pm
Lying to ourselves
Preferences over beliefs
The Government We Deserve
Don’t Blame Me
The Cult of Democracy
Jan 31 2006 at 2:04am
A Chicken in Every Garage: The Absurdities Underlying Mass Franchise Democracy
The Whore is Us: The Poor Choices That Voters Make
Jasonomics: Bad Ideas That Voters Have That Won’t Die
Chinese Democracy is Coming Out This Year!*
Kiss This Baby!
* Sorry, weird joke.
Jan 31 2006 at 9:55am
The Right to be Wrong. An inquiry into the economics of voter irrationality.
Feb 1 2006 at 12:08am
Please Stop Us Before We Vote Again
Feb 2 2006 at 12:11am
So Crazy it Just Might Work: The Study of Rational Irrationality.
Feb 2 2006 at 4:33pm
I like the antithetical symmetry between ‘logic’ and ‘irrationality’ in your title. A shorter title might be better remembered and less confused with all the other book titles containing ‘logic’ and ‘collective’ – how about Presumed Rational?
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