Undercover Economist at Sydney Ideas
25 February 2008
UK-based Undercover Economist Tim Harford will reveal how economics rules every aspect of our lives when he presents the first Sydney Ideas lecture of 2008.
In his lecture, to be held at the University of Sydney's Seymour Centre tomorrow night, the media commentator and best-selling author of The Undercover Economist will discuss how the most unexpected situations can be explained by modern economic theory.
According to Harford, even the most intimate decisions - to have sex, take drugs or lead an honest life - have an economic rationalist base.
"I've always thought the whole idea of economics is to solve people's problems," says Harford, who has continued his insightful and witty application of new economics in his latest book The Logic of Life (Little, Brown).
"Economics isn't necessarily about money. It's about power, information, trying to tell whether people are telling the truth, credibility commitments, making promises, proving you can keep promises."
While The Undercover Economist showed how there were hidden economics in everyday life, The Logic of Life - also the title of Harford's Sydney Ideas lecture - takes the theories further, explaining how a chain of modern phenomena such as drug addiction, suburban sprawl and even racism and office politics can be rational.
Harford will be introduced to the Sydney Ideas stage by Associate Professor Russell Ross, Chair of the Discipline of Economics at the University of Sydney. His lecture kicks off the 2008 season of Sydney Ideas, the University of Sydney's international lecture series.
Tim Harford is a columnist for the UK's Financial Times where he writes a Dear Economist problem page. He is the presenter of the BBC Radio series More or Less, has worked for the World Bank and Shell and as a tutor for Oxford University. In 2006 he won the Bastiat Prize for economic journalism. Undercover Economist has sold more than 600,000 copies worldwide and has been translated into 21 languages. Harford is in Australia as a guest of the Perth Writers Festival.
Praise for The Logic of Life:
"It's a sparky mix of pure and applied, of history and current affairs, of biography and the geography of knowledge…Even a chapter on the workplace - on pay, productivity and incentives - fizzes with insight and variety… Harford is a sickeningly talented young man."
- The Australian Financial Review
"Tim Harford is an economist but - thanks be to God - he doesn't write like one. The Logic of Life is as lively as it is smart, charming, penetrating, and wise."
- Stephen J. Dubner, co-author of Freakonomics.
What: "The Logic of Life" - Tim Harford at Sydney Ideas, the University of Sydney's international public lecture series. A co-presentation with Gleebooks.
When: 6.30pm on Tuesday, 26 February, 2008
Where: The Seymour Theatre Centre, Cnr of City Road and Cleveland Street, the University of Sydney
Cost: $20/$15 concession. A limited number of free tickets are available for University of Sydney students and staff. Contact the Seymour Theatre Centre office for details.
Bookings: 02 9351 7940
More information: http://www.usyd.edu.au/sydneyideas
Contact: Katrina O'Brien
Phone: 02 9036 7842