Russ Roberts

June 2011

A Monthly Archive (4 entries)
 

Podcast episode Otteson on Adam Smith

EconTalk Episode with James Otteson
Hosted by Russ Roberts

James Otteson of Yeshiva University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Adam Smith. The conversation begins with a brief sketch of David Hume and his influence on Smith and then turns to the so-called Adam Smith problem--the author of The Wealth of Nations appears to have a different take on human nature than the author of The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Smith worked on both books throughout his life, yet their perspectives seem so different. Otteson argues that the books focus on social behavior and the institutions that sustain that behavior--market transactions in The Wealth of Nations and moral behavior in The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Both books use the idea of emergent order to explain the evolution of both kinds of social behavior and social institutions. The conversation concludes with a discussion of what Smith got right and wrong.

Size: 32.7 MB
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Podcast episode Munger on Exchange, Exploitation and Euvoluntary Transactions

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Mike Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the psychology, sociology, and economics of buying and selling. Why are different transactions that seemingly make both parties better off frowned on and often made illegal? In theory, all voluntary transactions should make both parties better off. But Munger argues that some transactions are more voluntary than others. Munger lists the attributes of a truly voluntary transaction, what he calls a euvoluntary transaction and argues that when transactions are not euvoluntary, they may be outlawed or seen as immoral. Related issues that are discussed include price gouging after a natural disaster, blackmail, sales of human organs, and the employment of low-wage workers.

Size: 28.8 MB
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Podcast episode Buchholz on Competition, Stress, and the Rat Race

EconTalk Episode with Todd Buchholz
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Todd Buchholz, author of Rush: Why You Need and Love the Rat Race, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in the book. Buchholz argues that competition and striving for excellence is part of our evolutionary inheritance. He criticizes attempts to remake human beings into gentle creatures who long to return to an Eden-like serenity. He argues that it is action, creativity, and planning for the future that makes us happy. The discussion includes the implications of our interest in the future for theater and story-telling.

Size: 27.4 MB
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Podcast episode Eichengreen on the Dollar and International Finance

EconTalk Episode with Barry Eichengreen
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Barry Eichengreen of University of California, Berkeley and author of Exorbitant Privilege talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the history and importance of the dollar as the dominant international currency. Eichengreen explains the advantages to the United States of the dollar's dominance, the historical circumstances that led to its dominance, and the likelihood that the dollar might be supplanted by a competitor. Along the way they discuss China's currency policy, the state of U.S. monetary policy, the causes of the crisis, the risk of inflation in the United States, and the future of the Federal Reserve.

Size: 30.0 MB
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