Monetization, Meaning, and Mastering the Art of Losing
By Amy Willis
This week EconTalk host Russ Roberts spoke with Tim O’Reilly, and the conversation ranged over the history of the Internet and the sharing economy, the significance of open-source software, climate change, income inequality, and poetry.
What did you take from this week’s whirlwind episode? Use our prompts below to keep the conversation going offline.
1. Roberts defines the central human problem as one of meaning, noting that he finds meaning at least in part through his work. We want to know how YOU find meaning? And how do you define it? Is it close to Adam Smith’s definition? Explain.
2. About halfway through the conversation, Roberts and O’Reilly discuss the plight of workers in the sharing economy. Roberts asserts that competition protects workers. O’Reilly counters that this works in theory, but not in practice. What is the root of their disagreement, and what sort of policy or policies might Roberts and O’Reilly be able to agree on?
3. Reputation is an important type of capital, and the notion of reputation seems to be constantly in flux in the digital age. How can reputation in the digital age be monetized? Will actions such as “liking” or “retweeting” eventually become monetized? Should they? To what extent are these accurate reputational signals?
4. What’s your interpretation of the poem Roberts recites, “One Art?” What would it mean to “master the art of losing?”