December 6, 2009

Freakonomics in Social Work

I'm not sure if any of you have ventured into the world of Freakonomics, but if you haven't, it's quite a treat. Many of the things that they talk about are outside of the realm of social work, but many things are right in line. For example, they talk a lot about drugs, prostitution and a range of other social problems.

The authors of the book also write a blog that I follow quite regularly, and was surprise to find them talking about a social worker that had applied their principals to his work. What this guy did is look at different ways to increase his efficiency, and earn more money. He applied economic principals to social work, to his benefit.

Here's the article, if anyone's interested: Introducing "Applied Freakonomics"


Leslie Ann Lovett, MSW, LCSW said...

This is one of my favorite books but I didn't know about their blog. And thanks for the link to the Appied Freakonomics. TY for sharing how you've found this helpful!! I think your post speaks to a greater need for social workers to understand macro economics. So many social problems are rooted in inequities in our capitalist economy. No doubt, the captialist system works well BUT there are so many who do not benefit from it. Social workers need to understand these dynamics AND figure out ways to make the economy work for our clients. Thanks for a great post!

antiSWer said...

Thanks for the comment, Leslie. What's funny is that if we knew more about economics, we could sell social programs to legislators in a whole new way. If they're worried about the bottom line, I've done some research on Cost Benefit Analysis on social programs, and if you look at ALL the costs and benefits (beyond the basic dollars and cents), then many social programs have a high ratio. I know a bit about it, but definitely not enough.

Reas Kroicowl said...

Excellent. I love this book, but didn't know about the blog. And the fitting for me!

My Social Work Network said...

Well, I'll have to read this book. I was a policy major myself in graduate school. I'm really into framing social work issues so they are more palatable to legislators and the general public. What gets me, is you can talk until you are blue in the face about facts and how people benefit from our programs and still not get support. We need to think more like the media when framing our issues...short sound bites that speak to values and identity and are constantly repeated. Which is hard to do when we deal with complicated issues. I think metaphors work pretty well. Anyways, I probably totally went off subject and this probably has nothing to do with Freakonomics -LOL!

On a side note, I invite all on here to join My Social Work Network ( It's a free online community for social workers to network, blog, job hunt, get news, post and browse resource, etc. We are always looking for social workers to blog and participating on the site should help you increase your readership. Just thought I'd offer this as a free resource :)

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