George Szpiro on "Risky Decisions: How Mathematical Paradoxes and Other Conundrums Have Shaped Economic Science"

George Szpiro on \

Wednesday, April 29, 2020 | 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM

Event Location:
48 Wall Street*
5th Floor
New York City


At its core, economics is about making decisions. In the history of economic thought, great intellectual prowess has been exerted toward devising exquisite theories of optimal decision making in situations of constraint, risk and scarcity. Yet not all of our choices are purely logical, and so there is a long-standing tension between those emphasizing the rational and irrational sides of human behavior. One strand develops formal models of rational utility maximizing, while the other draws on what behavioral science has shown about our tendency to act irrationally.

In this talk, George Szpiro will give examples of mathematical paradoxes and psychological conundrums that have led to advancements in economic science. He will challenge the audience with questions about how to make decisions, and thereby show how people who believe themselves to be rational can be led astray.

About the Author
George G. Szpiro is an award-winning author and journalist. A longtime correspondent for the Swiss daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung, his many books include Numbers Rule: The Vexing Mathematics of Democracy, from Plato to the Present (2010) and Pricing the Future: Finance, Physics, and the 300-Year Journey to the Black-Scholes Equation (2011).

Talk followed by Q&A and book signing. Admission $5; MoAF members, students and press FREE. 

*Please note: MoAF staff members will be on hand at the entrance to 48 Wall Street to direct attendees to the 5th floor event space.