William Bernstein talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the history of trade. Drawing on the insights from his recent book, A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World, Bernstein talks about the magic of spices, how trade in sugar explain why Jews ended up in Manhattan, the real political economy of the Boston Tea Party and the demise of the Corn Laws in England. The discussion closes with the political economy of trade today and the interaction between trade and income inequality.
EconTalk host Russ Roberts talks about the claim that for capitalism to succeed there have to be people at the bottom to do the unpleasant tasks and that the rich thrive because of the suffering of those at the bottom. He critiques the idea that capitalism is a zero sum game where to get ahead, someone has to fall back. He also looks at the evolution of the least pleasant jobs over time and how technology interacts with rising productivity to make the least pleasant jobs more pleasant.
Diane Coyle talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in her new book, The Soulful Science: What Economists Really Do and Why it Matters. The discussions starts with the issue of growth--measurement issues and what economists have learned and have yet to learn about why some nations grow faster than others and some don't grow at all. Subsequent topics include happiness research, the politics and economics of inequality, the role of math in economics, and policy areas where economics has made the greatest contribution.
Christopher Coyne of West Virginia University and George Mason University's Mercatus Center talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book, After War: The Political Economy of Exporting Democracy. They talk about the successes and failures of America's attempts to export democracy after a war. In some cases, Japan and Germany, for example, after World War II, American efforts have led to stability and democratic institutions. In many other cases, Cuba, Somalia, and Haiti, for example, and so far, Iraq, American efforts have failed, often repeatedly and have sometimes made things worse. Coyne tries to identify factors that lead to an improved likelihood of success or failure. Ultimately, he concludes that a non-interventionist posture accompanied by unilateral free trade is more likely to benefit citizens under repressive governments.