EconTalk
Russ Roberts

Culture Change and Chasing Tails

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

EconTalk host Russ Roberts welcomed back one of our favorites this week, Arnold Kling. to talk about his forthcoming book, Specialization and Trade: A Reintroduction to Economics. Kling argues that with its reliance on aggregate models, economics today has lost sight of its most important insight, dating back to Adam Smith. Russ ends the conversation with Kling, an MIT trained economist, ruminating on why they have each departed so far from their early training.

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1. What does Kling mean when he says that macroeconomics is not an experimental science, but "a bunch of observations?" How does Kling describe his own odyssey as an economist from his days in grad school at MIT? Have you experienced a similar transformation? Tell us about it...

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Podcast episode Arnold Kling on Specialization and Trade

EconTalk Episode with Arnold Kling
Hosted by Russ Roberts

globalapps.jpg Arnold Kling, economist and author, speaks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his latest book, Specialization and Trade: A Reintroduction to Economics. Kling argues that macroeconomics ignores the challenges of buyers and sellers working together in the real world of specialization and trade. Instead, most macroeconomic theories struggle to incorporate the differences across workers and products. Kling points the listener toward a different perspective on macroeconomics and the business cycle that focuses on those differences. Kling also lays out related insights on political economy as well as his take on G.A. Cohen's parable of the camping trip.

Size:29.1 MB
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Time is Money

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

Tough talk on taxes and spending in this week's episode, as Russ sat down with Harvard's Alberto Alesina to talk about the promise and perils of austerity. Which is better to shore up a nation's fiscal situation- tax increases or spending cuts? How long are government deficits sustainable? What's unique about the case of Greece?

Please lend some more of your considerable consideration to these issues, and share your thoughts with us in the Comments. We love to hear from you.

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1. What's the difference between "strategic" and "oh my gosh!" austerity? Under what circumstances does each arise? Is one more dangerous- or more promising- than the the other?

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Podcast episode Alberto Alesina on Fiscal Policy and Austerity

EconTalk Episode with Alberto Alesina
Hosted by Russ Roberts

austerity.jpg Alberto Alesina of Harvard University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his research on fiscal policy and austerity. Alesina's research shows that spending cuts to reduce budget deficits are less harmful than tax increases. Alesina discusses the intuition behind this empirical finding and discusses other issues such as Greece's financial situation.

Size:29.1 MB
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Socialism, Sportsmanship, and the Stanley Cup

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

This week, EconTalk host Russ Roberts sat down with golfing buddy and former editor-in-chief of ESPN Magazine Gary Belsky. Their conversation ranged over many sports, with discussion of American football, Indian field hockey, British tennis, and the mystique of the Stanley Cup. And Belsky's newest book...On the Origins of Sports.

Now of course we want to hear what you think...Is sportsmanship a thing of the past? Are sporting contests always a zero-sum game? Are there too many rules in sports today? Share your thoughts with us in the Comments...We love to hear from you.

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1. Why does Belsky think football players would suffer fewer concussions if the only time they wore helmets was during games? What would be the costs, if any, if this change were implemented?

2. What's your least favorite rule in sports? What would be your remedy for the problem that rule was enacted to mitigate? (Don't even start on designated hitters...)

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Podcast episode Gary Belsky on the Origins of Sports

EconTalk Episode with Gary Belsky
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Origin%20of%20Sports.jpg Gary Belsky, co-author of On the Origins of Sports and former editor-in-chief of ESPN the Magazine, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the origins of sports--how various sports evolved and emerged into their current incarnations. Along the way he discusses the popularity of American football, the written (and unwritten) rules of sports, and the focus on replay and fairness in modern sports.

Size:31.3 MB
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Advantage Luck

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

This week, EconTalk host Russ Roberts sat down with Cornell's Robert Frank to discuss his new book, Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy. As in past episodes with Frank as a guest, it was a spirited conversation, with several good-natured points of disagreement.

So where do you stand? Is luck responsible for a larger share of our success than we're willing to admit? Or is luck, as Branch Rickey said, merely "the residue of design" of the result of good old-fashioned effort?

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1. After listening to this week's episode, how much of a role has luck played in your life? To what extent have you underestimated the role of luck?

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Podcast episode Robert Frank on Success and Luck

EconTalk Episode with Robert Frank
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Success and Luck Is your success in life your own doing? Robert Frank of Cornell University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his latest book, Success and Luck. Frank argues that we underestimate the role that luck plays in our success and makes the case for a progressive consumption tax as a way to improve even the welfare of the wealthy.

Size:32.8 MB
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Would you freeze your brain?

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

In this week's episode, EconTalk host Russ Roberts chats with physicist and transhumanism skeptic Richard Jones about nanotechnology, life extension, and the perils and promise of technology. Are you a techno-optimist? Would you cryogenically freeze yourself in hopes that you'd be revived in the future? Do we spend enough energy today on alleviating end-of-life illness and suffering? Let us know what you think...As always, we love to hear from you.

1. What's the difference between designed and evolved systems, according to Jones? Which is more descriptive of the human brain? To what extent do you think it's possible that a "wiring diagram" for the brain will be discovered? cryonics.jpg

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Podcast episode Richard Jones on Transhumanism

EconTalk Episode with Richard Jones
Hosted by Russ Roberts

transhuman.jpg Will our brains ever be uploaded into a computer? Will we live forever? Richard Jones, physicist at the University of Sheffield and author of Against Transhumanism, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about transhumanism--the effort to radically transform human existence via technology. Jones argues that the grandest visions of the potential of technology--uploading of brains and the ability to rearrange matter via nanotechnology are much more limited and unlikely than proponents of these technologies suggest. The conversation closes with the role of government in innovation and developing technology.

Size:32.9 MB
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