EconTalk host Russ Roberts takes the role of an animal at the zoo, chatting with sociologist Will Davies about his observations of economists and how they think. Have economists had too much (or not enough) influence on politics and public policy?

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1. What does Davies mean by the “disenchantment of politics by economics?” While Davies is concerned by this disenchantment, Roberts is worried we haven’t been disenchanted enough. With whom do you agree more, and why?2. How does Davies define “neoliberalism?” How does his definition compare to Scott Sumner’s characterization in this Feature Article? How would Davies answer the question Sumner poses in this piece, “…why is the Left so skeptical of the neoliberal revolution?”

3. How does the recent craze for reality TV shows such as Britain’s Got Talent or American Idol illustrate the place competition plays in our culture today? How closely aligned is this sort of competition to the competition economists speak of? Is this cultural approval of competition net positive or negative for society?