Diane Coyle is the Bennett Professor of Public Policy at University of Cambridge and the founder of Enlightenment Economics. Coyle is also an author, and her book, The Economics of Enough, is the topic of conversation in this episode as she and Roberts discuss the financial crisis, responsible economic action for the future, and the hidden costs that seem to have America on course for economic train-wreck. Roberts and Coyle contemplate the current generation’s role in looking out for the generations to come. Can people forecast the future generation’s needs? Is planning to not be irresponsible a good mindset to have in looking out for the future?

We hope you’ll take some time to share your thoughts with us below.

Coyle and Roberts ponder the question of how the economy should be run with concern for the future. At the time of the episode (post 2008 recession) challenges in political economy, according to Coyle, included climate change, equality, public services, and the overall issue of thinking about the future. Russ and Coyle agree that parents seem to consult the future given their concern for their children’s lives, but that politicians and their policies do not have the same motivation.

How should politicians be incentivized to look out for the future of the economy? Regarding climate change, what do you think should be the approach of the government and the individual?

Coyle and Roberts share a concern for the amount of government spending compared to the amount of money the government brings in.  Further, a continual rise of spending results in inflation. Coyle believes that the government has to cut its debt by decreasing spending, or the United States has to be more productive to make up for the discrepancy with innovations for a more productive lifespan of laborers.

How could technological innovation help America lessen the issue of extreme debt? How much do you think modern politicians care about the debt, and why?


Banking and creditor insurance is an area of concern for both Roberts and Coyle, as banks have little incentive to be prudent when their credit is ensured by taxpayer money. Coyle believes that regulations make a barrier for smaller banks to enter the market, so larger banks are capitalizing with rents on a market with not enough competition.

Is there enough competition in the banking industry? Do banks and government agencies have enough reason to be prudent in protecting the flow of money? How might their incentives by adjusted?


Coyle believes that challenges can be solved with a greater promotion of moral values and standards. Roberts expresses concern for messages coming from politicians who may have perverse intentions, and believes that moral values on the individual level can be more helpful.

Should the government promote emotional messages, or would their position create harmful tribalism? Does the modern political landscape provide evidence against politicians making emotional pontifications? Why or why not?

Brennan Beausir is a student at Wabash College studying Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and was a 2023 Summer Scholar at Liberty Fund.