Russ Roberts

April 2007

A Monthly Archive (5 entries)
 

Podcast episode Taleb on Black Swans

EconTalk Episode with Nassim Taleb
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Nassim Taleb talks about the challenges of coping with uncertainty, predicting events, and understanding history. This wide-ranging conversation looks at investment, health, history and other areas where data play a key role. Taleb, the author of Fooled By Randomness and The Black Swan, imagines two countries, Mediocristan and Extremistan where the ability to understand the past and predict the future is radically different. In Mediocristan, events are generated by a underlying random process that is normally distributed. These events are often physical and observable and they tend to cluster around the middle. Most people are near the average height and no adult is more than nine feet tall. But in Extremistan, the right-hand tail of events is thick and long and the outlier, the seemingly wildly unlikely event is more common than our experience with Mediocristan would indicate. Bill Gates is more than a little wealthier than the average. The civil war in Lebabon or the events of 9/11 were more worse than just a typical bad day in the Beirut or New York City. Taleb's contention is that we often bring our intuition from Mediocristan for the events of Extremistan, leading us to error. The result is a tendency to be blind-sided by the unexpected.

Size: 19.2 MB
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Podcast episode Rabushka on the Flat Tax

EconTalk Episode with Alvin Rabushka
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Alvin Rabushka of Stanford University's Hoover Institution lays out the case for the flat tax, a reform of the current system that would replace the 66,000 page U.S. tax code with a single rate and no deductions other than personal exemptions. An individual tax return would fit on a simple postcard. Rabushka discusses the economic changes that would come with such a reform and the adoption of the flat tax around the world since Rabushka and Robert Hall proposed the idea in 1981.

Size: 14.8 MB
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Podcast episode Boudreaux on the Economics of "Buy Local"

EconTalk Episode with Don Boudreaux
Hosted by Russ Roberts

DonB.jpgProponents of buying local argue that it is better to buy from the local hardware store owner and nearby farmer than from the Big Box chain store or the grocery store headquartered out of town because the money from the purchase is more likely to "stay in the local economy." Don Boudreaux of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the economics of this idea. Is it better to buy local than from a seller based out of town? Is it better to buy American than to buy foreign products? Does the money matter? In this conversation, Boudreaux and Roberts pierce through the veil of money to expose what trade, whether local, national, or international, really accomplishes.

Size: 12.8 MB
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Podcast episode Bogle on Investing

EconTalk Episode with John Bogle
Hosted by Russ Roberts

The legendary John Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group and creator of the index mutual fund, talks about the Great Depression, the riskiness of bond funds, how he created the Index 500 mutual fund--now the largest single mutual fund in the world--how the study of economics changed his life and ours, and Sarbanes-Oxley. At the end of the conversation, he reflects on his life and career.

Size: 13.4 MB
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Podcast episode Mike Munger on the Division of Labor

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Michael MungerMike Munger of Duke University and EconTalk host Russ Roberts talk about specialization, the role of technology in aiding specialization and how the division of labor creates wealth.

Size: 14.2 MB
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