Russ Roberts

November 2017

A Monthly Archive (7 entries)
 

elevator.jpg This week, EconTalk host Russ Roberts welcomed back Tim Harford to discuss his new book, Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy, based on a BBC podcast series he did by the same name. Their conversation (and Harford's book) is a whirlwind tour of the mundane, and that's exactly what makes it beautiful. According to Harford, his goal with each of his 50 picks was to "teach people a lesson about the way the world economy works through the medium" of each invention. Their chat is full of economic "mysteries," such as, "Why is Manhattan one the greenest cities in America?" And "Why is it better for the environment to ship juice boxes rather than oranges?"

So let's hear what you took away from this week's conversation. Pose a question, suggest a new economic "mystery," or answer one of ours. We'd love to continue the conversation.

1. Both Roberts and Harford muse that we don't even know that names of many of the people who originated these transformative inventions. In thinking about invention and innovation, why do you think we have a tendency to think in terms of the spectacular?

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CATEGORIES: Books , Extras



Podcast episode Tim Harford on Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy

EconTalk Episode with Tim Harford
Hosted by Russ Roberts

50%20Inventions.jpg Financial Times columnist and author Tim Harford talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Harford's latest book, Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy. Highlights include how elevators are an important form of mass transit, why washing machines didn't save quite as much time as you'd think, and the glorious illuminating aspects of light throughout history.

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To Tip or Not to Tip

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

kids tip.jpg Is tipping a relic of the past that has outlived its usefulness? Should restaurant servers work for tips or a living wage? This week, EconTalk host Russ Roberts welcomed back political scientist Anthony Gill to discuss his recent piece on teaching about tipping.

Now we'd like to hear more from you. Use the prompts here to share your reaction to this week's episode, or to spark your own conversation offline. Feel free to post your own questions here, too. We'd love to converse with you.

1. Did your parents teach you to tip for service? If so, what was their rationale, and was there a guideline for how much to tip?

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CATEGORIES: Extras



Podcast episode Anthony Gill on Tipping

EconTalk Episode with Anthony Gill
Hosted by Russ Roberts

tipping.jpg Why does tipping persist? Despite the efforts of some restaurants to stop tipping, it remains a healthy institution and has recently spread to Uber. Political scientist Anthony Gill of the University of Washington talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about why tipping persists and what it achieves despite there being no formal way of enforcing this norm.

Size:30.2 MB
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The Infidel or the Professor?

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

letters.jpg Longtime EconTalk listeners have had much occasion to consider the influence of Adam Smith. In this week's episode, discussion of Smith takes an interesting turn as host Russ Roberts welcomes political scientist Dennis Rasmussen to the show. Rasmussen's new book, The Infidel and the Professor, explores the deep and enduring friendship between Smith and philosopher David Hume, twelve years Smith's senior. How did their friendship and works influence each other? What circumstances of time and place have made their influence so profound? And how were the two men able to sustain such a meaningful friendship when they spent practically no time together?

As usual, we'd love to hear your own musings and Smith, Hume, philosophy, and friendship. Share your response to any of the prompts here below...Or use them as prompts in your classroom, at the dinner table, or even at Happy Hour. We'd love to hear about your conversation.

1. We're used to thinking of Adam Smith as a champion of commerce and exchange. Yet Rasmussen argues that Hume may in fact be the greater champion. Have a look at Hume's essay, "Of Refinement in the Arts" On what moral grounds does Hume make the case for commerce? To what extent do you find his case convincing, either on its own or in comparison to Smith?

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CATEGORIES: Adam Smith , Books , Extras



Podcast episode Dennis Rasmussen on Hume and Smith and The Infidel and the Professor

EconTalk Episode with Dennis Rasmussen
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Infidel%20and%20Professor.jpg How did the friendship between David Hume and Adam Smith influence their ideas? Why do their ideas still matter today? Political Scientist Dennis Rasmussen of Tufts University and author of The Infidel and the Professor talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book--the intellectual and personal connections between two of the greatest thinkers of all time, David Hume and Adam Smith.

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The Dance

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

English dance.jpg Mike Munger, "the Tom Brady of EconTalk, returned to EconTalk this week to talk with host Russ Roberts about what he deems the most important concept in political economy, permissionless innovation. Should innovators ask permission first or forgiveness later, and under what circumstances? And why aren't economists generally any good at predicting innovation?

1. While Munger claims permissionless innovation as the most important concept in political economy, he dubs opportunity cost the most important in economics. What do you think is the most important concept in economics, and why?

CONTINUE READING...

CATEGORIES: Extras



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