Russ Roberts

Books Podcast Episodes and Extras

Category Archive with 196 podcast episodes and extras
 

This week, there was a new sheriff in town! Russ Roberts was the guest in this week's episode, while EconTalk fave Mike Munger stood in as interviewer. The subject was Roberts's new book, How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life. Whether your life changes have already happened or are still pending, we want to hear from you.

Use the prompts below to share your thoughts in the comments, use them as a classroom assignment, or use them to spark conversation at a cocktail party. But do let us know your thoughts; we love to hear from you.

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CATEGORIES: Books , Extras

   

Podcast episode Russ Roberts and Mike Munger on How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life

EconTalk Episode with Russ Roberts
Hosted by Russ Roberts

EconTalk host Russ Roberts is interviewed by long-time EconTalk guest Michael Munger about Russ's new book, How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness. Topics discussed include how economists view human motivation and consumer behavior, the role of conscience and self-interest in acts of kindness, and the costs and benefits of judging others. The conversation closes with a discussion of how Smith can help us understand villains in movies.

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Podcast episode Martha Nussbaum on Creating Capabilities and GDP

EconTalk Episode with Martha Nussbaum
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Martha Nussbaum of the University of Chicago and author of Creating Capabilities talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about an alternative to GDP for measuring economic performance at the national level. She is a proponent of the capabilities approach that emphasizes how easily individuals can acquire skills and use them, as well as the capability to live long and enjoy life. Nussbaum argues that government policy should focus on creating capabilities rather than allowing them to emerge through individual choices and civil society.

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This week, EconTalk host Russ Roberts talked with Thomas Piketty, author of the controversial and best-selling tome, Capital in the 21st Century.

As always, we'd like to hear your thoughts on this episode. Use the prompts below and share in the comments section, or use them to prompt discussion offline. Either way, we know you have something to say, and we love to hear from you.

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CATEGORIES: Books , Extras , Income Inequality

   

Podcast episode Thomas Piketty on Inequality and Capital in the 21st Century

EconTalk Episode with Thomas Piketty
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Capital.jpg Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics and author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century talks to Econtalk host Russ Roberts about the book. The conversation covers some of the key empirical findings of the book along with a discussion of their significance.

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In this week's episode, EconTalk host Russ Roberts spoke with education journalist Elizabeth Green about her new book, Building a Better Teacher. Their conversation covers teaching as a craft, the role and history of schools of education, and the efficacy of various education reforms.

Now we'd like to hear your reaction to this week's conversation. Reply to the prompts below in the comments, or use them to spark your own conversation offline. And let us know how it goes...As always, we love to hear from you.

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CATEGORIES: Books , Education , Extras

   

Podcast episode Elizabeth Green on Education and Building a Better Teacher

EconTalk Episode with Elizabeth Green
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Better Teacher.jpg Elizabeth Green, author of the new book Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (and How to Teach it to Anyone), talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the art of teaching and the history of various reforms, mostly failed, trying to improve teaching in America. Specific topics include the theoretical focus of undergraduate education programs and various techniques being used in charter schools and elsewhere to improve teaching performance.

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This week Roberts discussed free-market environmentalism with Terry Anderson, of the Property and Environment Research Center and the Hoover Institution.

FME's unique combination of free-market principles and environmental stewardship may not be as radical as when it was introduced, yet still is not mainstream. Let us know your thoughts on its potential. We hope you find the prompts below useful. As always, we love to hear from you!

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This week's episode featured two guests, Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha of LinkedIn and co-authors of The Alliance and The Start-Up of You.

Whether you're looking to improve your own employment prospects, build a better team at work, or interested in the newest in tech and V.C., we'd love to hear from you. Use the prompts below the fold to join the conversation in this forum, or start your own conversation offline, and let us know how it goes.

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Podcast episode Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha on LinkedIn and The Alliance

EconTalk Episode with Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Reid Hoffman, co-founder of professional networking site LinkedIn, and Ben Casnocha, former Chief-of-Staff of LinkedIn, talk to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about LinkedIn and their book The Alliance. Hoffman and Casnocha discuss the founding and vision of LinkedIn along with their ideas in The Alliance on how to improve employee/employer relations when turnover is high and loyalty on each side is low.

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This week, Roberts spoke with Gregory Zuckerman about his new book, The Frackers, and the renaissance of energy production in the United States.

Use the prompts behind the fold to encourage conversation, either online or off. As always, we love to hear from you!

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CATEGORIES: Books , Environment , Extras

   

Podcast episode Gregory Zuckerman on the Frackers and the Energy Revolution

EconTalk Episode with Gregory Zuckerman
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Gregory Zuckerman of the Wall Street Journal and author of The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters, talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his new book, the rise of hydraulic fracturing (fracking), how this technology developed, and the vibrant personalities that pioneered the energy revolution. Topics discussed along the way include the history and future of fracking, environmental concerns about the process, and how the story of fracking is the classic tale of the successes and failures of determined risk-takers. The role of market forces in driving that success and failure runs through the entire conversation.

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A Chance to Write for EconTalk!

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

In this week's episode, Roberts talks "The Tyranny of Experts" with guest William Easterly.

For this week's Extra, we thought we'd change things up a bit...

Choose one of the four questions (below the fold) and compose an answer of 600 words or less. Send it to mail@econtalk.org by midnight Sunday June 22. Put "Easterly Essay" in the subject line. Selected entries chosen by Roberts will be posted the following week on EconTalk.org, and the authors will receive a complimentary Liberty Fund book.

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Podcast episode William Easterly on the Tyranny of Experts

EconTalk Episode with William Easterly
Hosted by Russ Roberts

William Easterly of New York University and author of The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his book. Easterly argues that poverty endures in many poor countries because of a lack of economic and political freedom for its poorest members. He argues that the aid process and the role experts play in that process reinforces the oppression of the poor. Other topics discussed include data-oriented solutions, autocracy vs. democracy, and Easterly's perspective on development from Bill Gates and recent EconTalk guest Jeffery Sachs.

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Podcast episode Yuval Levin on Burke, Paine, and the Great Debate

EconTalk Episode with Yuval Levin
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Yuval Levin, author of The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left, talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas of Burke and Paine and their influence on the evolution of political philosophy. Levin outlines the differing approaches of the two thinkers to liberty, authority, and how reform and change should take place. Other topics discussed include Hayek's view of tradition, Cartesian rationalism, the moral high ground in politics, and how the "right and left" division of American politics finds its roots in the debates of these thinkers from the 1700s.

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This week, Roberts talks about the challenges confronting U.S. cities today with Charles Marohn of Strong Towns. We'd like to hear what you think about the prospect of making cities stronger.

Questions below the fold:

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CATEGORIES: Books , Growth

   

In this week's episode, Roberts talks with Diane Coyle about her new book on GDP. We'd like to hear your thoughts on this episode, too!

Questions below the fold:

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CATEGORIES: Books , Data and Evidence

   

Podcast episode Diane Coyle on GDP

EconTalk Episode with Diane Coyle
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Diane Coyle, author of GDP: A Brief but Affectionate History, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the history of GDP, its uses, and its abuses. Topics discussed include the origins of GDP in the developed countries, the challenges of measuring the service sector, the challenges of dealing with innovation and product diversity, whether GDP should be supplemented with other measures of human well-being, and the challenges of dealing with internet-based goods that produce a great deal of satisfaction but make a much smaller impact on measured economic activity.

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Megan McArdle spoke to Roberts this week about her new book, The Up Side of Down. Let's keep the conversation flowing; we love to hear from you, your students, your kids, your friends...

Questions below the fold.

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Podcast episode McArdle on Failure, Success, and the Up Side of Down

EconTalk Episode with Megan McArdle
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Megan McArdle of Bloomberg View and author of The Up Side of Down talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her book. McArdle argues that failure is a crucial part of success in personal life and in the large economy. Topics covered include the psychology of failure, unemployment, and bankruptcy and parole.

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Podcast episode John Christy and Kerry Emanuel on Climate Change

EconTalk Episode with John Christy and Kerry Emanuel
Hosted by Russ Roberts

John Christy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville and Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology talk with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about climate change. Topics discussed include what we know and don't know about global warming, trends in extreme weather such as hurricanes, rising sea level, the likely change in temperature in the next hundred years. Both scientists also give their perspective on what policies might be put in place to reduce risk from climate change. This episode was recorded before a live audience at the College of Business Administration at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

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Podcast episode Richard Epstein on Classical Liberalism, Libertarianism, and Lochner

EconTalk Episode with Richard Epstein
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Richard Epstein, of New York University and Stanford University's Hoover Institution, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the differences between classical liberalism and hard-line libertarianism. What is the proper role of the state? Topics discussed include the Constitution, prudent regulation, contract enforcement, intellectual property, and the Supreme Court case, Lochner vs. New York.

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Richard Epstein on Classical Liberalism, Libertarianism, and Lochner
Russ Roberts and Richard Epstein
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Podcast episode Velasquez-Manoff on Autoimmune Disease, Parasites, and Complexity

EconTalk Episode with Moises Velasquez-Manoff
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Moises Velasquez-Manoff, author of An Epidemic of Absence, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book--a discussion of why allergies and autoimmune diseases have been on the rise in the developed world for the last half-century. Velasquez-Manoff explores a recent hypothesis in the epidemiological literature theorizing the increase is a response to the overly hygienic environment in rich countries and the absence of various microbes and parasites. Velasquez-Manoff also considers whether reintroducing parasites into our bodies can have therapeutic effects, a possibility currently under examination through FDA trials. The conversation continues a theme of EconTalk--the challenge of understanding causation in a complex world.

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Podcast episode Robert Frank on Coase

EconTalk Episode with Robert Frank
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Robert Frank of Cornell University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the implications of Ronald Coase's views on externalities. Drawing on his book, The Darwin Economy, Frank explores the implications of Coase's perspective for assessing public policy challenges where one person's actions affect others. Examples discussed include pollution, cigarette smoking and related issues.

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Podcast episode Calomiris and Haber on Fragile by Design

EconTalk Episode with Charles Calomiris and Stephen Haber
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Charles Calomiris of Columbia University and Stephen Haber of Stanford University, co-authors of Fragile by Design: The Political Origins of Banking Crises and Scarce Credit, talk with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about their book. The conversation focuses on how politics and economics interact to give some countries such as Canada a remarkably stable financial system while others such as the United States have a much less stable system. The two authors discuss the political forces that explain the persistence of seemingly bad financial regulation. The conversation includes a discussion of the financial crisis of 2008.

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Podcast episode Paul Sabin on Ehrlich, Simon and the Bet

EconTalk Episode with Paul Sabin
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Paul Sabin of Yale University and author of The Bet talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book. Sabin uses the bet between Paul Ehrlich and Julian Simon--a bet over whether natural resources are getting scarcer as population grows--as a lens for examining the evolution of the environmental movement and its status today. Sabin considers the successes and failures of the movement and the challenges of having nuanced public policy discussions on issues where both sides have passionate opinions.

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CATEGORIES: Books , Environment , Paul Sabin

   

Podcast episode Brynjolfsson on the Second Machine Age

EconTalk Episode with Erik Brynjolfsson
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Erik Brynjolfsson of MIT and co-author of The Second Machine Age talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in the book, co-authored with Andrew McAfee. He argues we are entering a new age of economic activity dominated by smart machines and computers. Neither dystopian or utopian, Brynjolfsson sees this new age as one of possibility and challenge. He is optimistic that with the right choices and policy responses, the future will have much to celebrate.

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Podcast episode Nina Munk on Poverty, Development, and the Idealist

EconTalk Episode with Nina Munk
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Nina Munk, journalist and author of The Idealist: Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her book. Munk spent six years following Jeffrey Sachs and the evolution of the Millennium Villages Project--an attempt to jumpstart a set of African villages in hopes of discovering a new template for development. Munk details the great optimism at the beginning of the project and the discouraging results after six years of high levels of aid. Sach's story is one of the great lessons in unintended consequences and the complexity of the development process.

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Podcast episode Jonathan Haidt on the Righteous Mind

EconTalk Episode with Jonathan Haidt
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Jonathan Haidt of New York University and author of The Righteous Mind talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book, the nature of human nature, and how our brain affects our morality and politics. Haidt argues that reason often serves our emotions rather than the mind being in charge. We can be less interested in the truth and more interested in finding facts and stories that fit preconceived narratives and ideology. We are genetically predisposed to work with each other rather than being purely self-interested and our genes influence our morality and ideology as well. Haidt tries to understand why people come to different visions of morality and politics and how we might understand each other despite those differences.

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Podcast episode Doug Lemov on Teaching

EconTalk Episode with Doug Lemov
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Doug Lemov of Uncommon Schools and author of Teach Like a Champion talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about teaching and education. Drawing on his experience working in charter schools with children in poverty, Lemov discusses what makes a great teacher and a great school. Lemov argues that practice and technique can transform teaching and education. The conversation concludes with a discussion of how EconTalk might be made more valuable to its listeners.

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Podcast episode Lant Pritchett on Education in Poor Countries

EconTalk Episode with Lant Pritchett
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Lant Pritchett of Harvard University and author of The Rebirth of Education talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in the book. Pritchett argues that increases in years of schooling for students in poor countries do not translate into gains in education, learning, or achievement. This tragic situation is due to corruption and poor incentives in the top-down educational systems around the world. School reforms that imitate successful systems fail to take into account the organic nature of successful school systems that cause various external attributes to be effective. The conversation concludes with a discussion of school systems in rich countries and possible lessons for reform that might apply there.

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Podcast episode Deaton on Health, Wealth, and Poverty

EconTalk Episode with Angus Deaton
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Angus Deaton of Princeton University and author of the Great Escape talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the book--the vast improvements in health and standard of living in recent times. Deaton surveys the improvements in life expectancy and income both in the developed and undeveloped world. Inequality of both health and wealth are discussed as well. The conversation closes with a discussion of foreign aid and what rich nations can do for the poor.

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Podcast episode Edmund Phelps on Mass Flourishing

EconTalk Episode with Edmund Phelps
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Edmund Phelps of Columbia University, Nobel Laureate in economics, and author of Mass Flourishing talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in the book. Phelps argues that human flourishing requires challenges, struggles, and success and goes beyond material prosperity. He argues that in recent decades, policy has discouraged innovation and mass flourishing resulting in a slow-down in growth rates. Phelps emphasizes the non-material benefits of economic growth and the importance of small innovations over big inventions as key to that growth.

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Podcast episode John Ralston Saul on Reason, Elites, and Voltaire's Bastards

EconTalk Episode with John Ralston Saul
Hosted by Russ Roberts

John Ralston Saul, author and head of PEN International, speaks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book, Voltaire's Bastards, and the role of reason in the modern world. Saul argues that the illegitimate offspring of the champions of reason have led to serious problems in the modern world. Reason, while powerful and useful, says Saul, should not be put on a pedestal above other values including morality and common-sense. Saul argues that the worship of reason has corrupted public policy and education while empowering technocrats and the elites in dangerous and unhealthy ways.

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Podcast episode Oster on Pregnancy, Causation, and Expecting Better

EconTalk Episode with Emily Oster
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Emily Oster of the University of Chicago and author of Expecting Better talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her book on pregnancy and the challenges of decision-making under uncertainty. Oster argues that many of the standard behavioral prescriptions for pregnant women are not supported by the medical literature. The conversation centers around the general issue of interpreting medical evidence in a complex world using pregnancy advice as an application. Alcohol, caffeine, cats, gardening and deli-meats and their effect on pregnant women are some of the examples that come up. The conversation closes with a discussion of Oster's work on hepatitis-B and the male-female birth ratio.

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Podcast episode Tyler Cowen on Inequality, the Future, and Average is Over

EconTalk Episode with Tyler Cowen
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Tyler Cowen of George Mason University and blogger at Marginal Revolution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his latest book, Average is Over. Cowen takes a provocative look at how the growing power of artificial intelligence embodied in machines and technologies might change labor markets and the standard of living. He tries to predict which people and which skills will be complementary to smart machines and which people and which skills will struggle.

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Podcast episode David Epstein on the Sports Gene

EconTalk Episode with David Epstein
Hosted by Russ Roberts

David Epstein, writer for ProPublica and author of The Sports Gene, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the book. Epstein discusses a number of the ideas in the book including what we have learned about the nature vs. nurture debate, the role of practice in achieving mastery, why a small part of Kenya produces so many champion marathoners, why major league all-stars can't hit a fast-pitch softball, the strange nature of body types in the NBA and why Michael Phelps's body gives him an advantage.

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Podcast episode Hanushek on Education and Prosperity

EconTalk Episode with Eric Hanushek
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Eric Hanushek of Stanford University's Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his new book, Endangering Prosperity (co-authored with Paul Peterson and Ludger Woessmann). Hanushek argues that America's educational system is mediocre relative to other school systems around the world and that the failure of the U.S. system to do a better job has a significant negative impact on the American standard of living. Hanushek points to improving teacher quality as one way to improve education.

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Podcast episode Bhagwati on India

EconTalk Episode with Jagdish Bhagwati
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Jagdish Bhagwati of Columbia University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the economy of India based on his book with Arvind Panagariya, Why Growth Matters. Bhagwati argues that the economic reforms of 1991 ushered in a new era of growth for India that has reduced poverty and improved the overall standard of living in India. While supportive of social spending on the poor, Bhagwati argues that growth should precede higher levels of spending, providing the tax revenue for expanded spending.

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Podcast episode Weingast on the Violence Trap

EconTalk Episode with Barry Weingast
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Barry Weingast, the Ward C. Krebs Family Professor of Political Science at Stanford University and a Senior Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the role of violence and the threat of violence in maintaining destructive economic policies that reduce growth and development. Weingast argues that the threat of violence encourages leaders to create monopolies and other unproductive policies to pay off special interests that would otherwise threaten a coup or revolution. Weingast shows there is a surprising amount of violent regime change in modern times and discusses how this discourages growth-enhancing economic policies. The conversation closes with an analysis of similar ideas in Book III of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations.

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Podcast episode Pallotta on Charity and the Culture of the Non-Profit Sector

EconTalk Episode with Dan Pallotta
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Dan Pallotta, Chief Humanity Officer of Advertising for Humanity and author of Uncharitable talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his book. Pallotta argues that charities are deeply handicapped by their culture and how we view them. The use of overhead as a measure of effectiveness makes it difficult for charities to attract the best talent, advertise, and invest for the future. Pallotta advocates a new culture for non-profits that takes the best aspects of the for-profit sector to enhance the mission and effectiveness of charities.

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Podcast episode Kling on the Three Languages of Politics

EconTalk Episode with Arnold Kling
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Arnold Kling, author of The Three Languages of Politics, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in the book. Kling argues that Progressives, Conservatives, and Libertarians each have their own language and way of looking at the world that often doesn't overlap. This makes it easier for each group to demonize the others. The result is ideological intolerance and incivility. By understanding the language and mindset of others, Kling suggests we can do a better job discussing our policy disagreements and understand why each group seems to feel both misunderstand and morally superior to the other two.

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Podcast episode Epstein on the Constitution

EconTalk Episode with Richard Epstein
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Richard Epstein of New York University and Stanford University's Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the U.S. Constitution. Topics covered in this wide-ranging conversation include how the interpretation of the Constitution has changed over time, the relationship between state and federal power, judicial activism, the increasing importance of administrative agencies' regulatory power, and political influences on the Supreme Court.

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Podcast episode Bernstein on Communication, Power and the Masters of the Word

EconTalk Episode with William Bernstein
Hosted by Russ Roberts

William Bernstein talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his latest book, Masters of the Word. Bernstein traces the history of language, writing, and communication and its impact on freedom. The discussion begins with the evolution of language and the written word and continues up through radio and the internet. A particular focus of the conversation is how tyrants use information technology to oppress their people but at the same time, technology can be used to liberate people from oppression.

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Podcast episode Galbraith on Inequality

EconTalk Episode with James Galbraith
Hosted by Russ Roberts

James Galbraith of the University of Texas and author of Inequality and Instability talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about inequality. Galbraith argues that much of the mainstream analysis of inequality in the economics literature is flawed. Galbraith looks at a variety of different measures and ways of analyzing income data. In the podcast he focuses on how much of measured inequality is due to changes in specific counties or industries. Other topics discussed include the state of economics in the aftermath of the Great Recession and the importance of the government safety net and other social legislation.

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Podcast episode Glaeser on Cities

EconTalk Episode with Edward Glaeser
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Edward Glaeser of Harvard University and author of The Triumph of Cities talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about American cities. The conversation begins with a discussion of the history of Detroit over the last century and its current plight. What might be done to improve Detroit's situation? Why are other cities experiencing similar challenges to those facing Detroit? Why are some cities thriving and growing? What policies might help ailing cities and what policies have helped those cities that succeed? The conversation concludes with a discussion of why cities have such potential for growth.

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CATEGORIES: Books , Education , Edward Glaeser , Growth

   

Podcast episode Sachs on the Crisis, the Recovery, and the Future

EconTalk Episode with Jeffrey Sachs
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University and author of The Price of Civilization talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of the American economy. Sachs sees the current malaise as a chronic problem rather than a short-term challenge caused by the business cycle. He lists a whole host of issues he thinks policymakers need to deal with including the environment, inequality, and infrastructure. He disagrees with the Keynesian prescriptions for stimulating the economy and believes that the federal government budget deficits are a serious problem. The conversation closes with a discussion of the state of economics.

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Podcast episode Admati on Bank Regulation and the Bankers' New Clothes

EconTalk Episode with Anat Admati
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Anat Admati of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her new book (co-authored with Martin Hellwig), The Bankers' New Clothes. Admati argues that the best way to reduce the fragility of the banking system is to increase capital requirements--that is, require banks to finance their activities with a greater proportion of equity rather than debt. She explains how debt magnifies returns and losses while making each bank more fragile. Despite claims to the contrary, she argues that the costs of reducing debt are relatively small for society as a whole while the benefits are substantial.

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Podcast episode Topol on the Creative Destruction of Medicine

EconTalk Episode with Eric Topol
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Eric Topol of the Scripps Research Institute and the author of The Creative Destruction of Medicine talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his book. Topics discussed include "evidence-based" medicine, the influence of the pharmaceutical industry, how medicine is currently conducted for the "average" patient, the potential of genomics to improve health care and the power of technology, generally, to transform medicine.

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Podcast episode Burgin on Hayek, Friedman, and the Great Persuasion

EconTalk Episode with Angus Burgin
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Angus Burgin of Johns Hopkins University and the author of The Great Persuasion talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the idea in his book--the return of free market economics in the aftermath of the Great Depression. Burgin describes the reaction to Hayek's Road to Serfdom, the creation of the Mont Pelerin Society, and the increasing influence of Milton Friedman on public policy.

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Podcast episode Searls on the Intention Economy

EconTalk Episode with Doc Searls
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Doc Searls, author of The Intention Economy and head of Project VRM at Harvard University's Berkman Center talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the how the relationship between buyers and sellers might evolve as the internet evolves. Searls imagines a world where buyers would advertise their intentions and desires and sellers would respond with offers. Other topics discussed include Google and Apple's business strategies and the role of the cable and telephone companies in providing access to the internet.

Size: 29.0 MB
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Podcast episode Boettke on Living Economics

EconTalk Episode with Pete Boettke
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Peter Boettke of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book, Living Economics. Boettke argues for embracing the tradition of Smith and Hayek in both teaching and research, arguing that economics took a wrong turn when it began to look more like a branch of applied mathematics. He sees spontaneous order as the central principle for understanding and teaching economics. The conversation also includes a brief homage to James Buchanan who passed away shortly before this interview was recorded.

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Podcast episode Jerven on Measuring African Poverty and Progress

EconTalk Episode with Morten Jerven
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Morten Jerven of Simon Fraser University, author of Poor Numbers, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the quality of data coming out of Africa on income, growth, and population. Jerven argues that the inconsistency of the numbers and methodology both across countries and within a country across time, makes many empirical studies of African progress meaningless. The conversation closes with a discussion of what might be done to improve data collection in poor countries.

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Podcast episode Pettit on the Prison Population, Survey Data and African-American Progress

EconTalk Episode with Becky Pettit
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Becky Pettit of the University of Washington and author of Invisible Men talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the growth of the prison population in the United States in recent decades. Pettit describes the magnitude of the increase particularly among demographic groups. She then discusses the implications of this increase for interpreting social statistics. Because the prison population isn't included in the main government surveys used by social scientists, data drawn from those surveys can be misleading as to what is actually happening among demographic groups, particularly the African-American population.

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Podcast episode Boudreaux on Reading Hayek

EconTalk Episode with Don Boudreaux
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Don Boudreaux of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the work of F. A. Hayek, particularly his writings on philosophy and political economy. Boudreaux provides an audio annotated bibliography of Hayek's most important books and essays and gives suggestions on where to start and how to proceed through Hayek's works if you are a beginner.

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Podcast episode Chris Anderson on Makers and Manufacturing

EconTalk Episode with Chris Anderson
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Chris Anderson, author of Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his new book--the story of how technology is transforming the manufacturing business. Anderson argues that the plummeting prices of 3D printers and other tabletop design and manufacturing tools allows for individuals to enter manufacturing and for manufacturing to become customized in a way that was unimaginable until recently. Anderson explores how social networking interacts with this technology to create a new world of crowd-sourced design and production.

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Podcast episode Mulligan on Redistribution, Unemployment, and the Labor Market

EconTalk Episode with Casey Mulligan
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Casey Mulligan of the University of Chicago and the author of The Redistribution Recession, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in the book. Mulligan argues that increases in the benefits available to unemployed workers explains the depth of the Great Recession that began in 2007 and the slowness of the recovery particularly in the labor market. Mulligan argues that other macroeconomic explanations ignore the microeconomic incentives facing workers and employers.

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Podcast episode Angell on Big Pharma

EconTalk Episode with Marcia Angell
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Marcia Angell of Harvard Medical School and the author of The Truth About the Drug Companies talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the impact of pharmaceutical companies on academic research, clinical trials and the political process. Angell argues that the large pharmaceutical companies produce little or no innovation and use their political power to exploit consumers and taxpayers.

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Podcast episode Robert Skidelsky on Money, the Good Life, and How Much is Enough

EconTalk Episode with Robert Skidelsky
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Robert Skidelsky, noted biographer of John Maynard Keynes and author (with his son Edward) of the recently published How Much is Enough, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about materialism, growth, insatiability, and the good life. Skidelsky argues that we work too hard and too long. He argues that the good life has more leisure than we currently consume and that public policy should be structured to discourage work in wealthy countries where work can still be uninspiring. Skidelsky criticizes the discipline of economics and economists for contributing to an obsession with growth to the detriment of what he says are more meaningful and life-enhancing policy goals.

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Podcast episode Paul Tough on How Children Succeed

EconTalk Episode with Paul Tough
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Paul Tough, author of How Children Succeed, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about why children succeed and fail in school and beyond school. He argues that conscientiousness--a mixture of self-control and determination--can be a more important measure of academic and professional success than cognitive ability. He also discusses innovative techniques that schools, individuals, and non-profits are using to inspire young people in distressed neighborhoods. The conversation closes with the implications for public policy in fighting poverty.

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Podcast episode Barofsky on Bailouts

EconTalk Episode with Neil Barofsky
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Neil Barofsky, author of Bailout and the former Special Inspector General for the TARP program, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book and the government bailouts by the Bush and Obama Administrations. Barofsky recounts what he learned about how Washington works and the incentives facing politicians and bureaucrats. His book and this interview are a workshop in public choice economics. Along the way he unravels some of the acronyms of the last few years including TARP, TALF, and HAMP. The conversation concludes with lessons learned by Barofsky and what might be done in the future to prevent the corruption and ineffectiveness of past bailouts.

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Podcast episode Scott Atlas on American Health Care

EconTalk Episode with Scott Atlas
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Scott Atlas, Senior Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and author of In Excellent Health, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the U.S. health care system. Atlas argues that the U.S. health care system is top-notch relative to other countries and that data that show otherwise rely on including factors unrelated to health care or on spurious definitions. For example, life expectancy in the United States is unexceptional. When you take out suicides and fatal car accidents, factors that Atlas argues are unrelated to the health care system, the United States has the longest life expectancy in the world. A similar change occurs when measuring infant mortality--foreign data do not include as many at-risk births as in the United States and the measure of a birth is not comparable. In a number of other areas including cancer survival rates, access to hip replacement surgery and waiting times to see a physician, Atlas argues that the United States is also at or near the top. The discussion concludes with a discussion of access to health care for the poor and the failure of Medicaid.

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Podcast episode Taubes on Why We Get Fat

EconTalk Episode with Gary Taubes
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Gary Taubes, author of Why We Get Fat, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about why we get fat and the nature of evidence in a complex system. The current mainstream view is that we get fat because we eat too much and don't exercise enough. Taubes challenges this seemingly uncontroversial argument with a number of empirical observations, arguing instead that excessive carbohydrate consumption causes obesity. In this conversation he explains how your body reacts to carbohydrates and explains why the mainstream argument of "calories in/calories out" is inadequate for explaining obesity. He also discusses the history of the idea of carbohydrates' importance tracing it back to German and Austrian nutritionists whose work was ignored after WWII. Roberts ties the discussion to other emergent, complex phenomena such as the economy. The conversation closes with a discussion of the risks of confirmation bias and cherry-picking data to suit one's pet hypotheses.

Size: 36.8 MB
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Podcast episode Stiglitz on Inequality

EconTalk Episode with Joseph Stiglitz
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his recent book, The Price of Inequality. Stiglitz argues that the American economy is dysfunctional, benefitting only those at the very top while the bulk of the workforce sees little or no gain in their standard of living over recent decades. Stiglitz blames this result on deregulation and the political power of the financial sector and others at the top. He wants an increase in regulation and the role of government in the economy and a more transparent Federal Reserve Bank that he blames for coddling the financial sector. The conversation also includes a discussion of the Keynesian multiplier.

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Podcast episode Zingales on Capitalism and Crony Capitalism

EconTalk Episode with Luigi Zingales
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Luigi Zingales of the University of Chicago and author of A Capitalism for the People talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his book. Zingales argues that the financial sector has used its political power to enhance the size of the sector and the compensations executives receive. This is symptomatic of a larger problem where special interests steer resources and favors based on their political influence. Zingales argues for a capitalism for the people rather than a capitalism for cronies or the politically powerful. The conversation concludes with a plea by Zingales to his fellow economists to speak out against behavior that is legal but immoral--lobbying Congress for special treatment that exploits others to benefit one's own industry, for example.

Size: 30.3 MB
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Podcast episode Moretti on Jobs, Cities, and Innovation

EconTalk Episode with Enrico Moretti
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Enrico Moretti of the University of California, Berkeley and the author of the New Geography of Jobs talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his book. Moretti traces how the economic success of cities and the workers who live there depends on the education of those workers. Moretti argues that there are spillover effects from educated workers--increased in jobs and wages in the city. He uses changes in the fortunes of Seattle and Albuquerque over the last three decades as an example of how small changes can affect the path of economic development and suggests a strong role for serendipity in determining which cities become hubs for high-tech innovation. The conversation concludes with Moretti making the case for increasing investments in education and research and development.

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Podcast episode Manzi on Knowledge, Policy, and Uncontrolled

EconTalk Episode with Jim Manzi
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Jim Manzi, author of Uncontrolled, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the reliability of science and the ideas in his book. Manzi argues that unlike science, which can produce useful results using controlled experiments, social science typically involves complex systems where system-wide experiments are rare and statistical tools are limited in their ability to isolate causal relations. Because of the complexity of social environments, even narrow experiments are unlikely to have the wide application that can be found in the laws uncovered by experiments in the physical sciences. Manzi advocates a trial-and-error approach using randomized field trials to verify the usefulness of many policy proposals. And he argues for humility and lowered expectations when it comes to understanding causal effects in social settings related to public policy.

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Podcast episode Jonah Lehrer on Creativity and Imagine

EconTalk Episode with Jonah Lehrer
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Jonah Lehrer, staff writer for The New Yorker and author of Imagine: How Creativity Works, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the science of creativity. They discuss focusing vs. ignoring as a way to solve problems, the potential for computer-based creativity, how W. H. Auden used drugs to improve his poetry, Bob Dylan, Steve Jobs, and the creative power of mindless relaxation. The conversation closes with a discussion of what policies might increase creativity.

Size: 32.2 MB
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Podcast episode Larry White on the Clash of Economic Ideas

EconTalk Episode with Lawrence White
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Lawrence H. White of George Mason University and author of The Clash of Economic Ideas talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the economists and their ideas of the past one hundred years. They discuss Keynes and Hayek, monetary policy and the Great Depression, Germany after the Second World War, the economy of India, and the future of monetary policy.

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Podcast episode Coase on Externalities, the Firm, and the State of Economics

EconTalk Episode with Ronald Coase
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Nobel Laureate Ronald Coase of the University of Chicago talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his career, the current state of economics, and the Chinese economy. Coase, born in 1910, reflects on his youth, his two great papers, "The Nature of the Firm" and "The Problem of Social Cost". At the end of conversation he discusses his new book on China, How China Became Capitalist (co-authored with Ning Wang), and the future of the Chinese and world economies.

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Podcast episode Owen on Parenting, Money, and the First National Bank of Dad

EconTalk Episode with David Owen
Hosted by Russ Roberts

David Owen, author of The First National Bank of Dad, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how to educate our children about money and finance. Owen explains how he created his own savings accounts for his kids that gave them an incentive to save and other ways to teach them about postponing gratification, investing, keeping money in perspective and other life lessons. The conversation closes with a discussion of the value of reading to your kids.

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Podcast episode Schmidtz on Rawls, Nozick, and Justice

EconTalk Episode with David Schmidtz
Hosted by Russ Roberts

David Schmidtz of the University of Arizona talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the work of John Rawls and Robert Nozick. The conversation covers the basic ideas of Rawls and Nozick on inequality and justice and the appropriate role of the state in taxation and property rights.

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Podcast episode Taylor on Rules, Discretion, and First Principles

EconTalk Episode with John Taylor
Hosted by Russ Roberts

John Taylor of Stanford University's Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his new book, First Principles: Five Keys to Restoring America's Prosperity. Taylor argues that when economic policy adhere to the right basic principles such as keeping rules rather than using discretion, then the economy thrives. Ignoring these principles, Taylor argues, leads to bad economic outcomes such as recessions, inflation, or high unemployment. Taylor illustrates these ideas with a whirlwind tour of the last half century of American economic policy and history. The focus is on monetary and fiscal policy but Taylor also discusses health care reform and other policy areas. The conversation closes with a look at the likelihood that economic policy will change dramatically after 2012.

Size: 28.4 MB
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Podcast episode Cowen on Food

EconTalk Episode with Tyler Cowen
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Tyler Cowen of George Mason U. and author of An Economist Gets Lunch, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about food, the economics of food, and his new book. In this wide-ranging conversation, Cowen explains why American food was once a wasteland, the environmental impacts of plastic and buying local, why to stay away from fancy restaurants in the central city, and why he spent a month shopping only at an Asian supermarket while living in Northern Virginia.

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Podcast episode Boudreaux on Public Debt

EconTalk Episode with Don Boudreaux
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Don Boudreaux of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the nature of public debt. One view is that there is no burden of the public debt as long as the purchasers of U.S. debt are fellow Americans. In that case, the argument goes, we owe it to ourselves. Drawing on the work of James Buchanan, particularly his book Public Principles of Public Debt: A Defense and Restatement, Boudreaux argues that there is a burden of the debt and it is borne by future taxpayers. Boudreaux argues that all public expenditures have a cost--the different financing mechanisms simply determine who bears the burden of that cost. Boudreaux discusses the political attractiveness of debt finance because the taxes lie in the future and those who will pay for them may not be clearly identified. The conversation closes with a discussion of the role of expectations in both politics and economics of debt finance.

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Podcast episode Acemoglu on Why Nations Fail

EconTalk Episode with Daron Acemoglu
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Daron Acemoglu of MIT and author (with James Robinson) of Why Nations Fail talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his book: why some nations fail and others succeed, why some nations grow over time and sustain that growth, while others grow and then stagnate.  Acemoglu draws on an exceptionally rich set of examples over space and time to argue that differences in institutions--political governance and the inclusiveness of the political and economic system--explain the differences in economics success across nations and over time. Acemoglu also discusses how institutions evolve and the critical role institutional change plays in economic success or failure. Along the way, he explains why previous explanations for national economic success are inadequate. The conversation closes with a discussion of the implications of the arguments for foreign aid and attempts by the wealthy nations to help nations that are poor.

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Podcast episode Derman on Theories, Models, and Science

EconTalk Episode with Emanuel Derman
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Emanuel Derman of Columbia University and author of Models. Behaving. Badly talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about theories and models, and the elusive nature of truth in the sciences and social sciences. Derman, a former physicist and Goldman Sachs quant [quantitative analyst], contrasts the search for truth in the sciences with the search for truth in finance and economics. He critiques attempts to make finance more scientific and applies those insights to the financial crisis. The conversation closes with a discussion of career advice for those aspiring to work in quantitative finance.

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Podcast episode Weinberger on Too Big to Know

EconTalk Episode with David Weinberger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

David Weinberger of Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society and author of Too Big to Know, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in the book--how knowledge and data and our understanding of the world around us are being changed by the internet. Weinberger discusses knowledge and how it is attained have changed over time, particularly with the advent of the internet. He argues the internet has dispersed the power of authority and expertise. And he discusses whether the internet is making us smarter or stupider, and the costs and benefits of being able to tailor information to one's own interests and biases.

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Podcast episode David Owen on the Environment, Unintended Consequences, and The Conundrum

EconTalk Episode with David Owen
Hosted by Russ Roberts

David Owen of the New Yorker and author of The Conundrum talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his book. Owen argues that innovation and energy innovation have increased energy use rather than reduced it and similarly, other seemingly green changes do little to help the reduce humanity's carbon footprint or are actually counter-productive. Only large reductions in consumption are likely to matter and that prescription is unappealing to most people. Owen points out that New York City, ironically perhaps, is one of the greenest places to live because of the efficiencies of density. The conversation concludes with a discussion of how to best approach global warming given these seeming realities.

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Podcast episode William Black on Financial Fraud

EconTalk Episode with William Black
Hosted by Russ Roberts

William Black of University of Missouri-Kansas City and author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about financial fraud, starting with the Savings and Loan debacle up through the current financial crisis. Black explains how bank executives can use fraudulent loans to inflate the size of their bank in order to justify large compensation packages. He argues that "liar loans" were a major part of the crisis and that policy changes made it easy to generate such loans without criminal repercussions.

Size: 37.9 MB
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Podcast episode David Rose on the Moral Foundations of Economic Behavior

EconTalk Episode with David Rose
Hosted by Russ Roberts

David Rose of the University of Missouri, St. Louis and the author of The Moral Foundation of Economic Behavior talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the book and the role morality plays in prosperity. Rose argues that morality plays a crucial role in prosperity and economic development. Knowing that the people you trade with have a principled aversion to exploiting opportunities for cheating in dealing with others allows economic actors to trust one another. That in turn allows for the widespread specialization and interaction through markets with strangers that creates prosperity. In this conversation, Rose explores the nature of the principles that work best to engender trust. The conversation closes with a discussion of the current trend in morality in America and the implications for trust and prosperity.

Size: 32.9 MB
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Podcast episode Taleb on Antifragility

EconTalk Episode with Nassim Taleb
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Nassim Taleb, author of Fooled By Randomness and The Black Swan, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about antifragility, the concept behind Taleb's next book, a work in progress. Taleb talks about how we can cope with our ignorance and uncertainty in a complex world. Topics covered include health, finance, political systems, the Fed, your career, Seneca, shame, heroism, and a few more.

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Podcast episode Tabarrok on Innovation

EconTalk Episode with Alex Tabarrok
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Alex Tabarrok of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his new book, Launching the Innovation Renaissance. Tabarrok argues that innovation in the United States is being held back by patent law, the legal system, and immigration policies. He then suggests how these might be improved to create a better climate for innovation that would lead to higher productivity and a higher standard of living.

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Podcast episode Klein on Knowledge and Coordination

EconTalk Episode with Daniel Klein
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Dan Klein of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in Klein's new book, Knowledge and Coordination. Klein argues that allegory is a powerful way to think about outcomes of emergent order. He goes deeply into the concept of the invisible hand and creates a novel way to evaluate processes that not under any one's control. Klein then suggests novel ways of evaluating economic outcomes outside of the traditional metrics and techniques. Along the way, Klein emphasizes the role of uncertainty and imperfection in the entrepreneurial process.

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Podcast episode Simon Johnson on the Financial Crisis

EconTalk Episode with Simon Johnson
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Simon Johnson of MIT and the author (with James Kwak) of 13 Bankers talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the origins of the financial crisis and how the next one might be prevented. Invoking the work of George Stigler, Johnson argues that the financial sector has captured the regulatory process and the result is that regulation and government intervention have been steered more by the interests of the financial sector than to the benefit of the general public. Johnson argues for capping the size of banks in order to reduce the danger of systemic risk and the too-big-to-fail excuse for bailing out banks. Johnson also discusses the role of the Fed in subsidizing risk-taking and leverage in the financial sector.

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Podcast episode Taubes on Fat, Sugar and Scientific Discovery

EconTalk Episode with Gary Taubes
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Gary Taubes, author of Good Calories, Bad Calories, talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about what we know about the relationship between diet and disease. Taubes argues that for decades, doctors, the medical establishment, and government agencies encouraged Americans to reduce fat in their diet and increase carbohydrates in order to reduce heart disease. Taubes argues that the evidence for the connection between fat in the diet and heart disease was weak yet the consensus in favor of low-fat diets remained strong. Casual evidence (such as low heart disease rates among populations with little fat in their diet) ignores the possibilities that other factors such as low sugar consumption may explain the relationship. Underlying the conversation is a theme that causation can be difficult to establish in complex systems such as the human body and the economy.

Size: 38.0 MB
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Podcast episode Baumeister on Gender Differences and Culture

EconTalk Episode with Roy Baumeister
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Roy Baumeister of Florida State University and the author of Is There Anything Good About Men talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the differences between men and women in cultural and economic areas. Baumeister argues that men aren't superior to women nor are women superior to men. Rather there are some things men are better at while women excel at a different set of tasks and that these tradeoffs are a product of evolution and cultural pressure. He argues that evolutionary pressure has created different distributions of talent for men and women in a wide variety of areas. He argues that other differences in outcomes are not due to innate ability differences but rather come from different tastes or preferences.

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Podcast episode Avent on Cities, Urban Regulations, and Growth

EconTalk Episode with Ryan Avent
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Ryan Avent of the Economist and author of The Gated City talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about The Gated City and how cities have restricted access to land and housing. Avent argues that restricted access has raised housing prices artificially on both the east and west coast of the United States, reducing urban populations and restricting access to labor markets. He argues that this in turn has artificially depressed growth in the United States by keeping workers from their most productive opportunities. The conversation closes with a discussion of possible policy changes that might make cities more accessible to development and growth.

Size: 30.1 MB
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Podcast episode Wapshott on Keynes and Hayek

EconTalk Episode with Nicholas Wapshott
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Nicholas Wapshott, author of Keynes Hayek: The Clash That Defined Modern Economics, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich A. Hayek--their ideas, their disagreements, their friendship and how the two men influenced economists and public policy during their lifetimes and beyond.

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Podcast episode Frank Rose on Storytelling and the Art of Immersion

EconTalk Episode with Frank Rose
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Frank Rose, author of The Art of Immersion and correspondent for Wired Magazine, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how the web has changed the art of storytelling and the interactions between the web, advertising, games, movies, and television. Rose argues that when a new medium is introduced, whether it is the book, movies, or the web, there is always a period of exploration as to how storytelling, the author, and the audience will interact. While there have always been readers, viewers, and listeners who immerse themselves in good stories, the web allows this immersion to expand dramatically, partly because the audience can share reactions and insights with each other as well as becoming part of the creation of the story in ways that past media have not allowed. Rose chronicles these developments with specific examples and speculates on where storytelling on the web might be headed. The conversation closes with a brief discussion of the passing of Steve Jobs.

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Podcast episode Frank on Competition, Government, and Darwin

EconTalk Episode with Robert Frank
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Robert Frank of Cornell University and author of The Darwin Economy talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about competition, government and the relevance of Darwin for economics. In a lively and spirited discussion, Frank argues that because people care about their relative standing with their neighbors, standard conclusions about the virtues of competition are misleading. He argues that competition is often wasteful and he suggests directions for tax policy and other forms of government intervention to take these effects into accounts.

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Podcast episode Winston on Lawyers

EconTalk Episode with Clifford Winston
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Clifford Winston of the Brookings Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the market for lawyers and the role of lawyers in the political process. Drawing on a new co-authored book, First Thing We Do, Let's Deregulate All the Lawyers, Winston argues that restrictions on the supply of lawyers and increases in demand via government regulation artificially boost lawyers' salaries. Deregulation of the supply (by eliminating licensing) would lower price and encourage innovation.

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Podcast episode Satz on Markets

EconTalk Episode with Debra Satz
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Debra Satz, Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her book, Why Some Things Should Not Be For Sale: The Moral Limits of the Market. Satz argues that some markets are noxious and should not be allowed to operate freely. Topics discussed include organ sales, price spikes after natural disasters, the economic concept of efficiency and utilitarianism. The conversation includes a discussion of the possible limits of political intervention and whether it would be good to allow voters to sell their votes.

Size: 28.6 MB
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Podcast episode Banerjee on Poverty and Poor Economics

EconTalk Episode with Abhijit Banerjee
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Abhijit Banerjee of MIT talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Banerjee's book (co-authored with Esther Duflo), Poor Economics. The conversation begins with how randomized control trials (a particular kind of social experiment) have been used to measure the effectiveness of various types of aid to the poor. Banerjee goes on to discuss hunger, health, and education--the challenges in each area and what we have learned about what works and what does not. The conversation closes with a discussion of the role of the labor market in the private sector.

Size: 23.0 MB
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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 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 Harford on Adapt and the Virtues of Failure

EconTalk Episode with Tim Harford
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Tim Harford, author and journalist, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Adapt, Harford's book on the virtues of failure and the trial and error process. Harford argues that success is more likely when there is experimentation and trial and error followed by adapting, rather than following a top-down, ex ante plan driven by expertise. The conversation looks at the what war can teach us about information, knowledge, and planning, the challenge of admitting mistakes, and the implications of trial and error for our daily lives.

Size: 26.9 MB
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Podcast episode Byers on the Blind Spot, Science, and Uncertainty

EconTalk Episode with William Byers
Hosted by Russ Roberts

William Byers of Canada's Concordia University and author of The Blind Spot talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the nature of knowledge, science and mathematics. Byers argues that there is an inherent uncertainty about science and our knowledge that is frequently ignored. Byers contrasts a science of wonder with a science of certainty. He suggests that our knowledge of the physical world will always be incomplete because of the imperfection of models and human modes of thought relative to the complexity of the physical world. The conversation also looks at the implications of these ideas for teaching science and social science.

Size: 32.3 MB
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Podcast episode Caplan on Parenting

EconTalk Episode with Bryan Caplan
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Bryan Caplan of George Mason University and EconLog talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in Caplan's new book, Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids. Caplan argues that parents spend too much time trying to influence how their kids will turn out as adults. Using research on twins and adopted children, Caplan argues that nature dominates nurture and that parents have little lasting influence on many aspects of their children's lives. He concludes that parents should spend less time and energy trying to influence their children. If parenting takes less time, then have more kids, says Caplan. The conversation concludes with a discussion of whether a larger population is bad for the planet.

Size: 31.1 MB
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CATEGORIES: Books , Bryan Caplan , Family

   

Podcast episode Coyle on the Economics of Enough

EconTalk Episode with Diane Coyle
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Diane Coyle, author of The Economics of Enough, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the future and the ideas in her book. Coyle argues that the financial crisis, the entitlement crisis, and climate change all reflect a failure to deal with the future appropriately. The conversation ranges across a wide range of issues including debt, the financial sector, and the demographic challenges of an aging population that is promised generous retirement and health benefits. Coyle argues for better measurement of the government budget and suggests ways that the political process might be made more effective.

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Podcast episode Cowen on the Great Stagnation

EconTalk Episode with Tyler Cowen
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Tyler Cowen of George Mason University and author of the e-book The Great Stagnation talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in the book. Cowen argues that in the last four decades, the growth in prosperity for the average family has slowed dramatically in the United States relative to earlier decades and time periods. Cowen argues that this is the result of a natural slowing in innovation and that we expect too much growth relative to what is possible. Cowen expects improvements in the rate of growth in the future when new areas of research yield high returns. The conversation includes a discussion of the implications of Cowen's thesis for politics and public policy.

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Podcast episode Caldwell on Hayek

EconTalk Episode with Bruce Caldwell
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Bruce Caldwell of Duke University and the General Editor of the Collected Works of F. A. Hayek, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Hayek, his life, his ideas, his books, and articles. The conversation covers Hayek's intellectual encounters with Keynes, Hayek's role in the socialist calculation debate, Hayek's key ideas, and a discussion of which of Hayek's works are most accessible.

Size: 34.5 MB
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Podcast episode Boettke on Mises

EconTalk Episode with Pete Boettke
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Pete Boettke of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the life, work, and legacy of Ludwig von Mises. Boettke outlines Mises's most important contributions to economics--business cycle theory, the socialism/calculation debate, and the application of economics to a wide range of behavior beyond the financial. Boettke discusses how Mises fits into the Austrian tradition and how he influenced scholars who came after him. The conversation closes with a discussion of Mises's most important works and suggests which books and articles are most accessible to a beginner who wants to explore Mises's ideas.

Size: 34.6 MB
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Podcast episode Nocera on the Crisis and All the Devils Are Here

EconTalk Episode with Joe Nocera
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Joe Nocera, New York Times columnist and co-author with Bethany McLean of All the Devils Are Here, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the origins of the financial crisis. Drawing on his book, Nocera identifies many people he considers devils for contributing to the crisis and a few angels who tried but failed to stop it. The discussion covers the history and development of securitization and the peculiar incentives created by securitization and the relative lack of regulation of the securitization process. The conversation also includes a discussion of whether past bailouts contributed to the crisis.

Size: 28.0 MB
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Podcast episode Kelly on Technology and What Technology Wants

EconTalk Episode with Kevin Kelly
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Kevin Kelly, author of What Technology Wants, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about technology and the ideas in the book. Kelly argues that technology is best understood as an emergent system subject to the natural forces underpinning all emergent systems. He argues that any technology creates benefits and costs but that the benefits typically outweigh the costs (perhaps by a small amount) leading to human progress. This is a wide-ranging conversation that includes discussion of the Unabomber, the Amish, the survival of human knowledge, and the seeming inevitability of the advancement of knowledge. The conversation closes with a discussion of the potential for technology to make an enormous leap in self-organization.

Size: 35.8 MB
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Podcast episode Phillipson on Adam Smith

EconTalk Episode with Nicholas Phillipson
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Nicholas Phillipson, author of Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life, talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the life of Adam Smith. Drawing on his recent biography of Smith, Phillipson discusses his intellectual roots, his intellectual journey, and what we know of his influences and achievements. Phillipson argues that Smith was shy, ambitious and very well-liked. He highlights the influence of Francis Hutcheson and David Hume on Smith's thinking. Phillipson gives his take on how the ideas of The Theory of Moral Sentiments mesh with The Wealth of Nations and argues that the Theory of Moral Sentiments was a response to Mandeville and Rousseau.

Size: 32.5 MB
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Podcast episode Quiggin on Zombie Economics

EconTalk Episode with John Quiggin
Hosted by Russ Roberts

John Quiggin of Crooked Timber and the author of Zombie Economics talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about ideas in economics that should stay dead and buried. Quiggin argues that many economic theories such as the Great Moderation, the efficient markets hypothesis and others have been discredited by recent events and should be relegated to the graveyard. Roberts challenges some of Quiggin's claims and wonders whether proposed alternatives might do even worse than the policies Quiggin is criticizing. Much of the conversation focuses on the role of government in the financial sector and how that might be improved going forward.

Size: 29.8 MB
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Podcast episode Ridley on Trade, Growth, and the Rational Optimist

EconTalk Episode with Matt Ridley
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Matt Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about why he is optimistic about the future and how trade and specialization explain the evolution of human development over the millennia. Ridley argues that life is getting better for most of the people on earth and that the underlying cause is trade and specialization. He discusses the differences between Smith's and Ricardo's insights into trade and growth and why despite what seems to be strong evidence, people are frequently pessimistic about the future. Ridley also addresses environmental issues.

Size: 27.5 MB
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Podcast episode Greenberg on Depression, Addiction, and the Brain

EconTalk Episode with Gary Greenberg
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Gary Greenberg, psychologist and author of The Noble Lie and Manufacturing Depression, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the nature of addiction, depression and mental illness. Drawing on ideas in the two books, Greenberg argues that there are strong monetary incentives to define various problems as illnesses that psychiatrists "cure" with drugs. Greenberg argues that this distorts science and has strong impacts, good and bad, on how we view ourselves and the challenges of life. The conversation looks at the scientific basis for addiction and the role brain chemistry in depression. The conversation closes with a discussion of Greenberg's correspondence with the Unabomber.

Size: 33.6 MB
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CATEGORIES: Books , Gary Greenberg , Health

   

Podcast episode de Botton on the Pleasures and Sorrows of Work

EconTalk Episode with Alain de Botton
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Author Alain de Botton talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his latest book, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work. How has the nature of work changed with the increase in specialization? Why is the search for meaningful work a modern phenomenon? Has the change in the workplace changed parenting? Why does technology become invisible? These are some of the questions discussed by de Botton in a wide-ranging discussion of the modern workplace and the modern worker.

Size: 27.1 MB
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Podcast episode Kling on Knowledge, Power, and Unchecked and Unbalanced

EconTalk Episode with Arnold Kling
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Arnold Kling of EconLog and author of Unchecked and Unbalanced, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the book and the relationship between knowledge and power. In a modern economy, specialization has increased and knowledge is increasingly dispersed. But political power has become more concentrated and fails to exploit the potential for decentralization. Kling discusses these trends and the potential for decentralization of power under different policies.

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Podcast episode Kennedy on the Great Depression and the New Deal

EconTalk Episode with David Kennedy
Hosted by Russ Roberts

David Kennedy of Stanford University and the author of Freedom from Fear talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the Great Depression and its political and economic relevance. Kennedy talks about the economic policies of Hoover and Roosevelt, and how the historical narrative was shaped and evolved over the decades. The conversation concludes with Kennedy's thoughts on the nature and value of history.

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Podcast episode Laughlin on the Future of Carbon and Climate

EconTalk Episode with Robert Laughlin
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Robert Laughlin of Stanford University and the 1998 co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about energy use and the future of the earth's climate. Drawing on his forthcoming book on energy, Laughlin predicts that we will continue to use cars and planes and electricity long after coal and petroleum are exhausted and speculates as to how that might play out in the future. The conversation concludes with discussions of other concerns of Laughlin's--the outlawing via legislation and taboo of certain forms of knowledge, and the practice of reductionism rather than emergence in the physical sciences.

Size: 39.2 MB
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Podcast episode Robert Service on Trotsky

EconTalk Episode with Robert Service
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Robert Service of Stanford University's Hoover Institution and the University of Oxford talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the life and death of Leon Trotsky. Based on Service's biography of Trotsky, the conversation covers Trotsky's influence on the Russian Revolution, his influence on policy alongside Lenin, his expulsion from Soviet Union in 1928 and his murder in 1940 by Stalin's order.

Size: 38.0 MB
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Podcast episode Gregory on Politics, Murder, and Love in Stalin's Kremlin

EconTalk Episode with Paul Gregory
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Paul Gregory of the University of Houston and a Research Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Nikolai Bukharin's power struggle with Stalin and Bukharin's romance with Anna Larina, who was 26 years younger than Bukharin. Based on Gregory's book, Politics, Murder, and Love in Stalin's Kremlin, the conversation explores the career and personal life of Bukharin and how his career and personal life intersected. Bukharin was one of the key founders of the Bolshevik Revolution that led to the creation of the Soviet Union. In the late 1920s, he disagreed with Stalin's policy of collectivization. Stalin ruthlessly pursued him, eventually had him arrested, tried and convicted in the one of the infamous Show Trials, and executed. Anna, his wife, is then sentenced to the Gulag and later exiled. The power and poignancy of the story lies in Bukharin's refusal to believe that his old friend Stalin is out to kill him. Gregory also discusses Bukharin's economic policies and whether Stalin or someone like him was inevitable.

Size: 28.6 MB
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Podcast episode Caplan on Hayek, Richter, and Socialism

EconTalk Episode with Bryan Caplan
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Bryan Caplan of George Mason University and blogger at EconLog talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about two books: Eugene Richter's Pictures of the Socialistic Future and F. A. Hayek's The Road to Serfdom. Both books warn against the dangers of socialism. Pictures of a Socialistic Future, published in 1891 is a dystopian novel imagining what life would be like after a socialist revolution. The Road to Serfdom, published in 1944, explores the links between economic freedom and political freedom and the inherent similarities between communism and fascism. Both books look at the German roots of centralized planning and the nature of the people who rise to power when the State is powerful. The conversation includes discussion of the these topics as well as the rule of law and the amount of state control of the economy in Nazi Germany.

Size: 31.7 MB
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Podcast episode Okrent on Prohibition and His Book, Last Call

EconTalk Episode with Daniel Okrent
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Daniel Okent, author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, talks about the book with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. They discuss how the 18th Amendment banning the manufacture, sale, and transport of intoxicating beverages came to pass in 1920, what life was like while it was in force, and how the Amendment came to be repealed in 1934. Okrent discusses how Prohibition became entangled with the suffrage movement, the establishment of the income tax, and anti-immigration sentiment. They also discuss the political economy of prohibition, enforcement, and repeal--the quintessential example of bootleggers and baptists.

Size: 31.2 MB
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Podcast episode Ravitch on Education

EconTalk Episode with Diane Ravitch
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Diane Ravitch of NYU talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in her new book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. Ravitch argues that the two most popular education reform movements, accountability and choice, have had unintended consequences that have done great harm to the current generation of students. She argues that the accountability and testing provisions in legislation like No Child Left Behind and similar reforms have actually corrupted the testing process, taken time away from subjects other than math and reading, and failed even to boost success in math and reading. She argues that the empirical record has provided little evidence that school choice as it has been implemented has boosted achievement. The discussion closes with a discussion of what reforms might indeed make a difference.

Size: 27.7 MB
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CATEGORIES: Books , Diane Ravitch , Education

   

Podcast episode Newman on Low-wage Workers

EconTalk Episode with Katherine Newman
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Katherine Newman, Professor of Sociology at Princeton University, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Newman's case studies of fast-food workers in Harlem. Newman discusses the evolution of their careers and fortunes over time along with their dreams and successes and failures. The conversation concludes with lessons for public policy in aiding low-wage workers.

Size: 27.8 MB
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Podcast episode Ritholtz on Bailouts, the Fed, and the Crisis

EconTalk Episode with Barry Ritholtz
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Barry Ritholtz, author of Bailout Nation: How Greed and Easy Money Corrupted Wall Street and Shook the World Economy, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the history of bailouts in recent times, beginning with Lockheed and Chrysler in the 1970s and continuing through the current financial crisis. In addition to the government role in aiding ailing companies, Ritholtz also looks at the role of the Fed in discouraging prudence through its efforts to keep asset prices and the stock market at high levels. The conversation closes with a discussion of what Ritholtz has learned from the crisis.

Size: 33.8 MB
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Podcast episode Rustici on Smoot-Hawley and the Great Depression

EconTalk Episode with Thomas Rustici
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Thomas Rustici of George Mason University and author of Lessons from the Great Depression talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the impact of the Smoot-Hawley Act on the economy. The standard view is that the decrease in trade that followed Smoot-Hawley was not big enough to be a significant contributor to the Great Depression. Rustici argues that this Keynesian approach that looks at aggregate spending misses a crucial mechanism for understanding the impact of Smoot-Hawley. Rustici focuses on the impact of Smoot Hawley on bank closings and the money supply. Smoot-Hawley launched an international trade war that reduced world trade dramatically. This had large concentrated regional effects in the United States and around the world in areas that depended on trade. Those were the areas where the first banks collapsed, contracting the money supply via the fractional reserve banking system. Rustici argues that the Keynesian indictment of the price system ignores the policy failures that destroyed the institutions that make the price system work.

Size: 39.0 MB
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Podcast episode Winston on Market Failure and Government Failure

EconTalk Episode with Clifford Winston
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Clifford Winston of the Brookings Institution talks about the ideas in his book, Market Failure vs. Government Failure, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Winston summarizes a large literature on antitrust, safety regulation and environmental regulation. He finds that government regulation often fails to meet its objectives. While markets are imperfect, so is government. Winston argues that idealized theories of government intervention based on textbook theories of market failure are not the way regulation turns out in practice. He argues that special interest politics explains much of the disappointing outcomes of government regulation.

Size: 30.4 MB
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Podcast episode Kling on Prosperity, Poverty, and Economics 2.0

EconTalk Episode with Arnold Kling
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Arnold Kling of EconLog and the author (with Nick Schulz) of From Poverty to Prosperity: Intangible Assets, Hidden Liabilities and the Lasting Triumph over Scarcity talks about the book with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Kling discusses how modern economists think about growth in both developed and undeveloped countries and contrasts those ideas with earlier views in economics. The focus of the modern understanding is on ideas and the ability of ideas to improve technology, leading to prosperity. Unlike physical capital, ideas can be enjoyed by many people at once, explaining why past models that ignored ideas and focused on physical capital failed to account for the observed magnitude of economic development. Kling also discusses the success of China and India.

Size: 26.8 MB
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Podcast episode Boettke on Elinor Ostrom, Vincent Ostrom, and the Bloomington School

EconTalk Episode with Pete Boettke
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Peter Boettke of George Mason University and author of Challenging Institutional Analysis and Development: The Bloomington School (co-authored with Paul Dragos Aligica), talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the Bloomington School--the political economy of Elinor Ostrom (2009 Nobel Laureate in Economics), Vincent Ostrom, and their students and colleagues at Indiana University. The discussion begins with the empirical approach of Elinor Ostrom and others who have studied the myriad of ways that actual communities have avoided the tragedy of commons. Boettke emphasizes the distinction between privatization vs. informal norms and cultural rules that prevent overuse. The conversation also looks at urban development and the benefits and costs of multiple municipalities vs. a single, large city. Throughout, Boettke embeds the conversation in the Ostroms' interest in how the citizenry can be self-governing and the challenges of implementing local knowledge.

Size: 29.0 MB
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Podcast episode Reinhart on Financial Crises

EconTalk Episode with Carmen Reinhart
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Carmen Reinhart of the University of Maryland talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in her book This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly (co-authored with Kenneth Rogoff). They discuss the role of capital inflows in financial crises, the challenges of learning the right lessons, and what is generally true about financial crises over time and place. Reinhart applies these observations to the current crisis, discusses the possibility of the U.S. defaulting on its sovereign debt, and discusses the possibility of financial reforms that might make a difference.

Size: 30.9 MB
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Podcast episode Posner on the Financial Crisis

EconTalk Episode with Richard Posner
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Richard Posner, federal judge and prolific author, discusses the financial crisis with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Posner (despite the title of his recent book on the crisis, A Failure of Capitalism) places most of the blame for the crisis on the Federal Reserve, inattentive regulators and the subsidization of risk. He also criticizes economists for complacency in the face of impending disaster. A recent convert of sorts to Keynesianism, Posner confesses some disillusion with the implementation of the stimulus plan and the expanding role of the Federal government.

Size: 29.0 MB
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Podcast episode Heller on Gridlock and the Tragedy of the Anticommons

EconTalk Episode with Michael Heller
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Michael Heller of Columbia Law School and author of The Gridlock Economy talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the book and the idea that fragmented ownership is a barrier to innovation. Heller makes an analogy between the tragedy of the commons and what he calls the tragedy of the anticommons--the problem of bundling together numerous individual claims to a resource. Examples discussed include drug innovation when the innovator wants to use technologies of multiple patent holders, new music or visual media where the creator wants to use multiple copyrighted works, and allocation of spectrum rights and its role in wireless innovation.

Size: 26.9 MB
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Podcast episode Willingham on Education, School, and Neuroscience

EconTalk Episode with Daniel Willingham
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Daniel Willingham of the University of Virginia and author of the book Why Don't Students Like School? talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how the brain works and the implications for teaching, learning, and educational policy. Topics discussed include why we remember some things but not others (and what we can do about it), the central role of memory in problem solving and abstract reasoning, the current state of math education in America, and what makes a good teacher.

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Podcast episode Gary Stern on Too Big to Fail

EconTalk Episode with Gary Stern
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Gary Stern, former President of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Stern's book, Too Big To Fail (co-authored with Ron Feldman), a prescient warning of the moral hazard created when government rescues creditors of financial institutions from the consequences of bankruptcy. Stern traces the origins of "too big to fail" to the rescue of Continental Illinois in 1984 and then follows more recent rescues including those of the current crisis. The conversation explores the incentive effects of such rescues on the decision-making by executives in large financial institutions. The discussion concludes with Stern's ideas for alternative ways to deal with large, troubled financial institutions.

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Podcast episode Cohan on the Life and Death of Bear Stearns

EconTalk Episode with William Cohan
Hosted by Russ Roberts

William Cohan, author of House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Steet, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the life and death of Bear Stearns. The discussion starts with how Bear Stearns and other Wall Street firms made money and how they financed their operations. The conversation then turns to the collapse of Bear Stearns's hedge funds in the summer of 2007 and how that collapse and the firm's investments in subprime mortgages led to the death of the firm in March of 2008. Cohan explains the role of borrowed money in the financial crisis and Bear Stearns in particular. The conversation concludes with the incentives facing Wall Street executives and the price they paid or didn't pay for the gambles they made with other people's money.

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Podcast episode Cowen on Culture, Autism, and Creating Your Own Economy

EconTalk Episode with Tyler Cowen
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Tyler Cowen of George Mason University and author of Create Your Own Economy talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his recent book. The conversation ranges across a wide array of topics related to information, the arts, and the culture of the internet. Topics include how autistics perceive information and what non-autistics can learn from them, what Buddhism might teach us about our digital lives, the pace of change in the use of technology, Nozick's experience machine and the relative importance of authenticity and what the Alchian and Allen theorem has to do with the internet and culture.

Size: 26.0 MB
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Podcast episode Hitchens on Orwell

EconTalk Episode with Christopher Hitchens
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Christopher Hitchens talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about George Orwell. Drawing on his book Why Orwell Matters, Hitchens talks about Orwell's opposition to imperialism, fascism, and Stalinism, his moral courage, and his devotion to language. Along the way, Hitchens makes the case for why Orwell matters.

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Podcast episode John Taylor on the Financial Crisis

EconTalk Episode with John Taylor
Hosted by Russ Roberts

John Taylor of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the fundamental causes of the financial crisis of 2008. Taylor argues that the housing bubble of the early 2000s was caused by excessively loose monetary policy, in particular, a sustained period of excessively low interest rates pursued by the Federal Reserve. Other topics covered include rules vs. discretion in monetary policy and the risks of inflation in the coming months. The conversation concludes with a discussion of the impact of the current crisis on future monetary policy and the field of macroeconomics.

Size: 26.4 MB
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Podcast episode Justin Fox on the Rationality of Markets

EconTalk Episode with Justin Fox
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Justin Fox, author of The Myth of the Rational Market, talks about the ideas in his book with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Fox traces the history of the application of math and economics to finance, particularly to the question of how markets and prices process information, the so-called efficient markets hypothesis in its various forms. The conversation includes discussions of systemic risk, the current financial crisis and the lessons for policy reform.

Size: 26.7 MB
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CATEGORIES: Books , Finance , Justin Fox

   

Podcast episode Collier on Democracy and Violence

EconTalk Episode with Paul Collier
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Paul Collier of Oxford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his new book, Wars, Guns, and Votes, a study of democracy and violence. Collier lays out the incentives facing a dictator who is considering the seductive appeal of holding an election. He defends his empirical work that forms the basis for many of the policy ideas in the book. Collier then makes the case for international military intervention to support democracies in poor countries.

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Podcast episode Helprin on Copyright

EconTalk Episode with Mark Helprin
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Novelist Mark Helprin talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about copyright and the ideas in his book, Digital Barbarism. Helprin argues for an extension rather than a reduction in the length of time that authors have control over their work. He also argues that technology is often not attuned to human needs and physical constraints, claiming that tranquility is elusive in modern times. He sees the movement against copyright and intellectual property generally as part of an educational and social trend toward collective rather than individual work.

Size: 28.4 MB
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Podcast episode Rebonato on Risk Management and the Crisis

EconTalk Episode with Riccardo Rebonato
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Riccardo Rebonato of the Royal Bank of Scotland and author of Plight of the Fortune Tellers talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the challenges of measuring risk and making decisions and creating regulation in the face of risk and uncertainty. Rebonato's book, written before the crisis, argues that risk managers often overestimate the reliability of the measures they use to assess risk. In this conversation, Rebonato applies these ideas to the crisis and to the challenges of designing effective regulation.

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This is the sixth and concluding podcast in the EconTalk Book Club discussion of The Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith. In this episode, Dan Klein of George Mason University and EconTalk host Russ Roberts discuss Parts VI and VII of the book. They close by putting the book in context.

Size: 44.3 MB
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Podcast episode Leeson on Pirates and the Invisible Hook

EconTalk Episode with Peter Leeson
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Peter Leeson of George Mason University and author of The Invisible Hook talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the economics of 18th century pirates and what we can learn from their behavior. Leeson argues that pirates pioneered a number of important voluntary institutions such as constitutions as a way to increase the profitability of their enterprises. He shows how pirates used democracy and a separation of powers between the captain and the quartermaster to limit the potential for predation or abuse on the part of the captain. He explains the role of the Jolly Roger in limiting damages from conflict with victims. The conversation closes with a discussion of the lessons for modern management.

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Podcast episode Boldrin on Intellectual Property

EconTalk Episode with Michele Boldrin
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Michele Boldrin of Washington University in St. Louis talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about intellectual property and Boldrin's book, co-written with David Levine, Against Intellectual Monopoly. Boldrin argues that copyright and patent are used by the politically powerful to maintain monopoly profits. He argues that the incentive effects that have been used to justify copyright and patents are exaggerated--few examples from history suggest that the temporary and not-so-temporary monopoly power from copyright and patents were necessary to induce innovation. Boldrin reviews some of that evidence and talks about the nature of competition.

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This is the fifth podcast in the EconTalk Book Club discussion of The Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith. In this episode, Dan Klein of George Mason University and EconTalk host Russ Roberts finish discussing Part III and discuss Parts IV and V of the book.

Size: 41.5 MB
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Podcast episode Wolfe on Liberalism

EconTalk Episode with Alan Wolfe
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Alan Wolfe, Professor of Political Science at Boston College and author of The Future of Liberalism, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about liberalism. Wolfe argues that the essence of liberalism is giving as many people as possible control over their own lives. Wolfe traces the evolution of liberalism through Western civilization. He rejects the distinction between modern liberalism and classical liberalism seeing Adam Smith as a liberal but not F. A. Hayek. The conversation closes with a discussion of the role of competition in encouraging religiosity in the United States.

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Podcast episode Leamer on Macroeconomic Patterns and Stories

EconTalk Episode with Ed Leamer
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Ed Leamer, of UCLA and author of Macroeconomic Patterns and Stories, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how we should use patterns in macroeconomic data and stories about those patterns to improve our understanding of the economy. Leamer argues that economics is not a science, but rather a way of thinking, and that economic models are neither true nor false, but either useful or not useful. He discusses various patterns in the recessions and recoveries in the United States since 1950. The conversation closes with a discussion of the reliability of econometric analysis.

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Podcast episode Klein on The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Episode 4--A Discussion of Part III

EconTalk Episode with Daniel Klein
Hosted by Russ Roberts

This is the fourth podcast in the EconTalk Book Club discussion of The Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith. In this episode, Dan Klein of George Mason University and EconTalk host Russ Roberts discuss Part III of the book.

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Podcast episode Klein on The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Episode 3--A Discussion of Part II

EconTalk Episode with Daniel Klein
Hosted by Russ Roberts

This is the third podcast in the EconTalk Book Club discussion of The Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith. In this episode, Dan Klein of George Mason University and EconTalk host Russ Roberts discuss Part II of the book.

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Podcast episode Klein on The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Episode 2--A Discussion of Part I

EconTalk Episode with Daniel Klein
Hosted by Russ Roberts

This is the second podcast in the EconTalk Book Club discussion of The Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith. In this episode, Dan Klein of George Mason University and EconTalk host Russ Roberts discuss Part I of the book.

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Podcast episode Klein on The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Episode 1--An Overview

EconTalk Episode with Daniel Klein
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Dan Klein, of George Mason University, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Adam Smith's lesser-known masterpiece, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, on the 250th anniversary of its initial publication. Klein highlights key passages and concepts of the book including its relation to The Wealth of Nations, Smith's willingness to accept "vague, loose, and indeterminate" rules rather than precise ones, Smith's criteria for assessing what is moral and what is not, and Smith's conception of justice.

This podcast is part of the EconTalk Book Club on The Theory of Moral Sentiments. It will be followed by four bonus podcasts in the coming weeks going through the book systematically. Interested listeners who wish to do the reading in advance can find the schedule along with more background on the book on the EconTalk book club page, accessible from the EconTalk home page.

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Podcast episode Brink Lindsey on the Age of Abundance

EconTalk Episode with Brink Lindsey
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Brink Lindsey, of the Cato Institute and author of The Age of Abundance: How Prosperity Transformed America's Politics and Culture, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the interaction between culture and politics and prosperity. Lindsey outlines the nature of prosperity in America in the 20th century, then focuses on the last half of the century when cultural change was perhaps as dramatic as economic change. The conversation concludes with a discussion of Lindsey's essay, "Paul Krugman's Nostalgianomics," a look at the longing for a return of the economic policy of the 1950's. Lindsey argues that the policies that led to a more egalitarian distribution of income in the 1950s had other much less attractive characteristics.

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Podcast episode Eric Raymond on Hacking, Open Source, and the Cathedral and the Bazaar

EconTalk Episode with Eric Raymond
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Eric Raymond, author of The Cathedral and the Bazaar, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in the book--why open source software development has been so successful, the culture of open source, under what conditions open source is likely to thrive and not to thrive, and the Hayekian nature of the open source process. The conversation closes with a discussion of net neutrality.

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Podcast episode Rauchway on the Great Depression and the New Deal

EconTalk Episode with Eric Rauchway
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Eric Rauchway of the University of California at Davis and the author of The Great Depression and the New Deal: A Very Short Introduction, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the 1920s and the lead-up to the Great Depression, Hoover's policies, and the New Deal. They discuss which policies remained after the recovery and what we might learn today from the policies of the past.

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Podcast episode Shirky on Coase, Collaboration and Here Comes Everybody

EconTalk Episode with Clay Shirky
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, talks about the economics of organizations with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. The conversation centers on Shirky's book. Topics include Coase on the theory of the firm, the power of sharing information on the internet, the economics of altruism, and the creation of Wikipedia.

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Podcast episode Shiller on Housing and Bubbles

EconTalk Episode with Robert Shiller
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Robert Shiller of Yale University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the current housing mess and related financial market problems. Shiller argues that the decade-long run up in housing prices was a bubble where speculative fervor outweighed any economic fundamentals. He also discusses the genesis of the Case-Shiller housing price index and his idea for how it might be used to reduce risk in the mortgage market.

Note: This podcast was recorded on September 5, 2008, days before Secretary of the Treasury Paulson put Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship. Upcoming in the next two weeks is a podcast with Arnold Kling focusing on the role of Fannie and Freddie and the mortgage market.

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Podcast episode Ellis on American Creation and the Founding

EconTalk Episode with Joseph Ellis
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Joseph Ellis, of Mt. Holyoke College and author of American Creation, talks about the triumphs and tragedies of the founding of the United States. His goal in the book and in this podcast is to tell a story for grownups rather than for children, where the Founders are neither saints nor evil white, patriarchal slave-holding demons. It is a nuanced story of triumph--a military victory over a seemingly unbeatable vastly more experienced army, the creation of the first geographically large republic, a nation without a state religion, a nation that creates a party system with a loyal opposition, a Constitution with the virtues of ambiguous sovereignty, and tragedy--the failure to resolve the slavery issue, and the tragic conflict with the Native Americans. Some of these outcomes were intended by the Founders, others emerged unintended.

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Podcast episode Roberts on the Price of Everything

EconTalk Episode with Russ Roberts
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Russ Roberts, host of EconTalk and author of the economics novel, The Price of Everything, talks with guest host Arnold Kling about the ideas in The Price of Everything: price gouging, the role of prices in the aftermath of natural disaster, spontaneous order, and the hidden harmony of the economic cosmos. Along the way, Roberts talks about novels vs. textbooks and other traditional treatments of economic reasoning.

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Podcast episode McKenzie on Prices

EconTalk Episode with Richard McKenzie
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Richard McKenzie of the University California, Irvine and the author of Why Popcorn Costs So Much at the Movies and Other Pricing Puzzles, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about a wide range of pricing puzzles. They discuss why Southern California experiences frequent water crises, why price falls after Christmas, why popcorn seems so expensive at the movies, and the economics of price discrimination.

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Podcast episode Chris Anderson on Free

EconTalk Episode with Chris Anderson
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Chris Anderson talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his next book project based on the idea that many delightful things in the world are increasingly free--internet-based email with infinite storage, on-line encyclopedias and even podcasts, to name just a few. Why is this trend happening? Is it restricted to the internet? Is there really any such thing as a free lunch? Is free a penny cheaper than a penny or a lot cheaper than that? The conversation also covers whether economics has anything to say about free.

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Podcast episode Nye on Wine, War and Trade

EconTalk Episode with John Nye
Hosted by Russ Roberts

John Nye of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book, War, Wine, and Taxes. The conversation covers the history of Britain and France's trade policy, why the British drink beer and why Ricardo's example of Britain trading wool for Portuguese wine is bizarre. Nye turns the traditional story on its head--he argues that France was more of a free trader than Britain and that the repeal of the Corn Laws was not the dividing line between Britain's protectionist past and free trade future. At the end of the discussion, Nye emphasizes the importance of domestic free trade for economic growth.

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Podcast episode Bernstein on the History of Trade

EconTalk Episode with William Bernstein
Hosted by Russ Roberts

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.

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Podcast episode Coyle on the Soulful Science

EconTalk Episode with Diane Coyle
Hosted by Russ Roberts

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.

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Podcast episode Coyne on Exporting Democracy after War

EconTalk Episode with Christopher Coyne
Hosted by Russ Roberts

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.

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Podcast episode McCloskey on Capitalism and the Bourgeois Virtues

EconTalk Episode with Deirdre McCloskey
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Deirdre McCloskey of the University of Illinois at Chicago and the author of The Bourgeois Virtues talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about capitalism and whether markets make people more ethical or less. They also discuss Adam Smith's world view, whether people were nicer in the Middle Ages, and the role of prudence and love.

[Note: We apologize for the poor sound quality of the phone connection in this podcast.]

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Podcast episode Marglin on Markets and Community

EconTalk Episode with Stephen Marglin
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Stephen Marglin of Harvard University and author of The Dismal Science: How Thinking Like an Economist Undermines Community talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the markets and community. Marglin argues that markets and commercial transactions undermine the connections between us. He wants people to pay more attention to what is lost and not just what is gained by the pursuit of material well-being. Topics discussed include the nature of community, the role that voluntary associations play in our lives, the costs and benefits of mobility, the role of insurance in reducing our dependence on each other, and the nature of knowledge.

Size: 30.0 MB
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Podcast episode Vernon Smith on Rationality in Economics

EconTalk Episode with Vernon Smith
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Nobel Laureate Vernon Smith of Chapman University and George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his new book, Rationality in Economics: Constructivist and Ecological Forms. They discuss the social and human sides of exchange, the robust nature of equilibrium in experiments and the real world, the seeming contradiction between Adam Smith's two great works, the unpredictability of how innovation emerges and its rationality, what neuroscience might tell us about economic decision-making, and the challenges of small-group intimate exchange and our interactions with strangers in the extended order of the marketplace.

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Podcast episode Sowell on Economic Facts and Fallacies

EconTalk Episode with Thomas Sowell
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Thomas Sowell of Stanford University's Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his new book, Economic Facts and Fallacies. He discusses the misleading nature of measured income inequality, CEO pay, why nations grow or stay poor, the role of intellectuals and experts in designing public policy, and immigration.

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Podcast episode Brook on Vermeer's Hat and the Dawn of Global Trade

EconTalk Episode with Timothy Brook
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Timothy Brook, professor of history at the University of British Columbia and author of Vermeer's Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the expansion of global trade between Europe and the rest of the world, and in particular, North American and China. He discusses the differences and similarities between Chinese and Western attitudes toward trade and exploration and the implications for innovation and knowledge.

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Podcast episode Collier on the Bottom Billion

EconTalk Episode with Paul Collier
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Paul Collier of Oxford University talks about the ideas in his recent book, The Bottom Billion, an analysis of why the poorest countries in the world fail to grow. He talks about conflict, natural resources, being landlocked, and bad governance, four factors he identifies as causes of the desperate poverty and stagnation in the countries where 1/6 of the world's poorest peoples live.

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Podcast episode Don Boudreaux on Globalization and Trade Deficits

EconTalk Episode with Don Boudreaux
Hosted by Russ Roberts

DonB.jpgDon Boudreaux, of George Mason University, talks about the ideas in his book, Globalization. He discusses comparative advantage, the winners and losers from trade, trade deficits, and inequality with EconTalk host Russ Roberts.

Size: 36.6 MB
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Podcast episode Edward Castronova on the Exodus to the Virtual World

EconTalk Episode with Edward Castronova
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Edward Castronova, of Indiana University and author of Exodus to the Virtual World, talks about his provocative thesis that a growing number of people around the world will be spending more and more time playing multiplayer games in virtual reality both as a form of escape and as a search for meaning. He talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how this trend might affect government, religion, and our happiness.

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Podcast episode Duggan on Strategic Intuition

EconTalk Episode with William Duggan
Hosted by Russ Roberts

William Duggan, professor of management at Columbia Business School at Columbia University, talks about his latest book, Strategic Intuition. Duggan critiques traditional methods of strategy and planning and suggests that the opportunism and adaptability are more productive detailed plans. He also discusses the nature of intuition and creativity along with insights into how the brain works to better understand problem-solving.

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Podcast episode Sunstein on Worst-case Scenarios

EconTalk Episode with Cass Sunstein
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Sunstein.jpgCass Sunstein of the University of Chicago talks about the ideas in his latest book, Worst-Case Scenarios. How should individuals and societies cope with low-probability events with potentially catastrophic consequences? In this conversation with EconTalk host Russ Roberts, Sunstein discusses the uselessness of the precautionary principle as a guide to behavior and the psychological challenges we all face in coping with uncertain, risky events. He also speculates why we have chosen politically to treat terrorism and global warming so differently.

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Podcast episode Waldfogel on Markets, Choice, and the Tyranny of the Market

EconTalk Episode with Joel Waldfogel
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Waldfogel.jpgJoel Waldfogel of the Wharton School of Business talks about the idea in his new book, The Tyranny of Markets: Why You Can't Always Get What You Want. He argues that when fixed costs are large, markets don't necessarily give people what they want and that, analogous to the political process, you can be hurt as the number of people with preferences that differ from yours gets larger. Host Russ Roberts challenges Waldfogel's claim that these phenomena are widespread and argues that in many cases, markets ultimately solve these problems. They discuss the amount of variety in newspapers, radio, and airline travel, along with how economics generally looks at fixed costs and consumer sovereignty.

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Podcast episode Arnold Kling on the Economics of Health Care and the Crisis of Abundance

EconTalk Episode with Arnold Kling
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Kling_bw.jpgArnold Kling of EconLog talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the economics of health care and his book, A Crisis of Abundance: Rethinking How We Pay for Health Care. Kling discusses whether we get what we pay for when we spend money on health care, why health care isn't like cars, and why health care insurance isn't really insurance. The conversation closes with a discussion of innovation in America's health care system and why America is so unlike everywhere else.

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Podcast episode Ayres on Super Crunchers and the Power of Data

EconTalk Episode with Ian Ayres
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Ian Ayres of Yale University Law School talks about the ideas in his new book, Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-by-Numbers Is the New Way to Be Smart. Ayres argues for the power of data and analysis over more traditional decision-making methods using judgment and intuition. He talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about predicting the quality of wine based on climate and rainfall, the increasing use of randomized data in the world of business, the use of evidence and information in medicine rather than the judgment of your doctor, and whether concealed handguns or car protection devices such as LoJack reduce the crime rate. The podcast closes with a postscript by Roberts challenging the use of sophisticated statistical techniques to analyze complex systems.

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Podcast episode Robert Frank on Economics Education and the Economic Naturalist

EconTalk Episode with Robert Frank
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Author Robert Frank of Cornell University talks about economic education and his recent book, The Economic Naturalist. Frank argues that the traditional way of teaching economics via graphs and equations often fails to make any impression on students. In this conversation with host Russ Roberts, Frank outlines an alternative approach from his new book, where students find interesting questions and enigmas from everyday life. They then try to explain them using the economic way of thinking. Frank and Roberts discuss a number of the enigmas and speculate on the future of economics and education. The topics discussed include tuxedos vs. wedding dresses, the level of civility (or lack thereof) in New York City, the difference between vending machines for soda and newspapers, the tragedy of the commons, and the economics of love.

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Podcast episode McCraw on Schumpeter, Innovation, and Creative Destruction

EconTalk Episode with Thomas McCraw
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Thomas McCraw of Harvard University talks about the ideas of Joseph Schumpeter from his book, Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction. McCraw and EconTalk host Russ Roberts discuss innovation, business strategy, the role of mathematics in economics, and Schumpeter's vision of competition embodied in his most important idea--creative destruction.

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Podcast episode Cowen on Your Inner Economist

EconTalk Episode with Tyler Cowen
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Tyler CowenTyler Cowen, of George Mason University, talks about his new book, Discover Your Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Dentist. Cowen, legendary blogger at MarginalRevolution.com, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the economics of parenting, reading, dentistry, art museums and education. Highlights include Tyler's favorite art museum and what to see there along with the challenges of being a tourist in Morocco.

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Podcast episode Weingast on Violence, Power and a Theory of Nearly Everything

EconTalk Episode with Barry Weingast
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Barry Weingast, Senior Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and the Ward C. Krebs Family Professor in the Department of Political Science at Stanford University, talks about the ideas in his forthcoming book with Doug North and John Wallis, A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History. Weingast talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how violence shapes political institutions, the role of competition in politics and economics, and why most development advice from successful nations fails to lift poor nations out of poverty.

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Podcast episode Henderson on Disagreeable Economists

EconTalk Episode with David Henderson
Hosted by Russ Roberts

David Henderson, editor of the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics and a research fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about when and why economists disagree. Harry Truman longed for a one-armed economist, one willing to go out on a limb and take an unequivocal position without adding "on the other hand...". Truman's view is often reflected in the public's view that economic knowledge is inherently ambiguous and that economists never agree on anything. Henderson claims that this view is wrong--that there is substantial agreement among economists on many scientific questions--while Roberts wonders whether this consensus is getting a bit frayed around the edges. The conversation highlights the challenges the everyday person faces in trying to know when and what to believe when economists take policy positions based on research. Is it biased or science?

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CATEGORIES: Books , David Henderson , Education

   

Podcast episode Bueno de Mesquita on Reagan, Yeltsin, and the Strategy of Political Campaigning

EconTalk Episode with Bruce Bueno de Mesquita
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, professor at NYU, talks about the political economy of political campaigns and his forthcoming book, The Strategy of Campaigning: Lessons from Ronald Reagan and Boris Yeltsin. He talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the different strategies politicians pursue in attracting support from voters and party delegates, the persistence of negative campaigning, the cost to politicians of sticking to their principles and how the political choices of Reagan and Yeltsin intersected to end the Cold War and dissolve the Soviet Union.

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Podcast episode Caplan on the Myth of the Rational Voter

EconTalk Episode with Bryan Caplan
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Bryan CaplanBryan Caplan, of George Mason University and blogger at EconLog, talks about his book, The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies. Caplan argues that democracies work well in giving voters what they want but unfortunately, what voters want isn't particularly wise, especially when it comes to economic policy. He outlines a series of systematic biases we often have on economic topics and explains why we have little or no incentive to improve our understanding of the world and vote wisely. So, it's not special interests that are messing things up but the very incentives that lie at the heart of a vote-based system. This is a disturbing and provocative lens for viewing political outcomes.

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Podcast episode Weinberger on Everything is Miscellaneous and the Wonderful World of Digital Information

EconTalk Episode with David Weinberger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Author David Weinberger, a fellow at Harvard's Berkman Institute for Internet and Society, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his latest book, Everything is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder. Topics include the differences between how we organize and think about physical and digital information, the power of the internet to let us consume information in unique and customized ways and the implications for retailing, politics and education.

Size: 34.3 MB
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Podcast episode Dan Pink on How Half Your Brain Can Save Your Job

EconTalk Episode with Dan Pink
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Author Dan Pink talks about the ideas in his book, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future. He argues that the skills of the right side of the brain--skills such as creativity, empathy, contextual thinking and big picture thinking--are going to become increasingly important as a response to competition from low-wage workers overseas and our growing standard of living.

Size: 30.8 MB
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Podcast episode Shlaes on the Great Depression

EconTalk Episode with Amity Shlaes
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Amity Shlaes, Bloomberg columnist and visiting senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, talks about her new book, The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression. She and EconTalk host Russ Roberts discuss Herbert Hoover, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the economics of the New Deal and the class warfare of the 1930s.

Size: 30.5 MB
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Podcast episode Sunstein on Infotopia, Information and Decision-Making

EconTalk Episode with Cass Sunstein
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Sunstein.jpgCass Sunstein of the University of Chicago talks about the ideas in his latest book, Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge. What are the best ways to get the information needed to make wise decisions when that information is spread out among an organization's members or a society's citizens? He argues that prediction markets can help both politicians and business leaders make better decisions and discusses the surprising ways they're already being used today. Deliberation, the standard way we often gather information at various kinds of meetings, has some unpleasant biases that hamper its usefulness relative to surveys and incentive-based alternatives.

Size: 14.9 MB
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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 Kevin Kelly on the Future of the Web and Everything Else

EconTalk Episode with Kevin Kelly
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Author Kevin Kelly talks about the role of technology in our lives, the future of the web, how to time travel, the wisdom of the hive, the economics of reputation, the convergence of the biological and the mechanical, and his impact on the movies The Matrix and Minority Report.

Size: 16.0 MB
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Podcast episode Easterbrook on the American Standard of Living

EconTalk Episode with Gregg Easterbrook
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Author Gregg Easterbrook talks about the ideas in his latest book, The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse. How has life changed in America over the last century? Is the average person getting ahead or are the rich taking all the gains? Easterbrook argues that life is better for the average American in almost every dimension. The paradox is that despite those gains, we don't seem much happier.

Size: 12.7 MB
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Podcast episode Michael Lewis on the Hidden Economics of Baseball and Football

EconTalk Episode with Michael Lewis
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Michael Lewis talks about the economics of sports--the financial and decision-making side of baseball and football--using the insights from his bestselling books on baseball and football: Moneyball and The Blind Side. Along the way he discusses the implications of Moneyball for the movie business and other industries, the peculiar ways that Moneyball influenced the strategies of baseball teams, the corruption of college football, and the challenge and tragedy of kids who live on the streets with little education or prospects for success.

Size: 17.4 MB
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CATEGORIES: Books , Favorites , Michael Lewis , Sports

   

Podcast episode Boudreaux on Law and Legislation

EconTalk Episode with Don Boudreaux
Hosted by Russ Roberts

DonB.jpgDon Boudreaux of George Mason University talks about the fundamental principles of economics and civilization: spontaneous order and law. Drawing on volume one of Friedrich Hayek's classic, Law, Legislation and Liberty, Boudreaux talks about the distinction between law and legislation, the appropriate role of judges, and how the fulfillment of our expectations allows us to pursue our goals and dreams.

Size: 16.9 MB
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Podcast episode Postrel on Style

EconTalk Episode with Virginia Postrel
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Author and journalist Virginia Postrel talks about how business competes for customers using style and beauty, going beyond price and the standard measures of quality. She looks at the role of appearance in our daily lives and the change from earlier times when style and beauty were luxuries accessible only to the wealthy. She also talks about her donation of a kidney to a friend and how that affected the intensity of her feelings about the policies surrounding organ donations.

Size: 13.4 MB
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Podcast episode Engerman on Slavery

EconTalk Episode with Stanley Engerman
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Stanley Engerman of the University of Rochester talks about slavery throughout world history, the role it played (or didn't play) in the Civil War and the incentives facing slaves and slave owners. This is a wide-ranging, fascinating conversation with the co-author of the classic Time on the Cross (co-authored with Robert Fogel) and the forthcoming Slavery, Emancipation, and Freedom (LSU Press, 2007). Engerman knows as much as anyone alive about the despicable human arrangement called slavery and the vastness and precision of his knowledge is on display in this interview.

Size: 16.3 MB
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Podcast episode The Economics of Moneyball

EconTalk Episode with Skip Sauer
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Skip Sauer of Clemson University and EconTalk's Russ Roberts discuss the economics of Michael Lewis's Moneyball. Michael Lewis claims that the Oakland Athletics [A's] found an undervalued asset--the ability of a baseball player to draw a walk--and used that insight to succeed while spending less money than their rivals. Is it true? Drawing on Sauer's research, Sauer and Roberts try and answer the question and lots of others along the way. How competitive is the baseball industry? Why do some baseball skills get more attention than others? How important is defensive ability? Along the way you'll learn why Kevin Youkilis is a better lead-off hitter than you think and some of the peculiar incentives facing baseball teams and owners.

Size: 14.1 MB
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CATEGORIES: Books , Skip Sauer , Sports

   

Podcast episode Friedman on Capitalism and Freedom

EconTalk Episode with Milton Friedman
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Russ Roberts talks to Milton Friedman about the radical ideas he put forward almost 50 years ago in Capitalism and Freedom. Listen to the most influential economist of the past 50 years discuss the principles of liberty, social responsibility of business, the inertia behind bad legislation and his career as economist and public intellectual.

Size: 10.0 MB
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Podcast episode Milton Friedman on Money

EconTalk Episode with Milton Friedman
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Russ Roberts talks with Milton Friedman about his research and views on inflation, the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke, and what the future holds.

Size: 6.2 MB
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Podcast episode Chris Anderson and the Long Tail

EconTalk Episode with Chris Anderson
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Russ Roberts talks with Chris Anderson of Wired Magazine about the ideas in his new book, The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More. Topics include the weird world of internet distribution and production, how the Sears catalog of the 1890s was the predecessor to Amazon books in the 1990s, the economics of choice and the role of filters, and the challenges of wrapping our minds around emergent phenomena.

Size: 12.1 MB
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