EconTalk
Russ Roberts

Podcast episode Paul Robinson on Cooperation, Punishment and the Criminal Justice System

EconTalk Episode with Paul Robinson
Hosted by Russ Roberts

RobinsonPiratesBookCover.png Are human beings naturally cooperative or selfish? Can people thrive without government law? Paul Robinson of the University of Pennsylvania and author of Pirates, Prisoners and Lepers talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts the ideas in his book. Robinson argues that without government sanctions or legislation, there is an evolutionary drive to cooperate even in life-and-death situations. In such situations private punishment and norms play a crucial role in sustaining cooperative solutions. The last part of the conversation deals with the criminal justice system and how attitudes toward the system affect society-wide cooperation and crime.

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Lynxes, and Soybeans, and Bears, Oh My!

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

When you think about "high-tech," you tend to think about your electronic devices, silicon chips, the Internet...But what about nature? How much do bears, deer, and whales owe to technology?

This week's EconTalkepisode with Jesse Ausubel is a whirlwind of food, transportation, wilderness, and more. There's a lot to think about, and we know you doing just that! So please share your thoughts based on the prompts below in the Comments, and let's continue the conversation.

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1. Ausubel claims that if the world shifted to a more plant-centric diet, this would be better for the land. Roberts points to the paleo craze, which seems to dampen this possibility. How might prices play in role in encouraging one or the other? Consider the price of soybeans, the price of animal protein and the price of land used for one or the other.

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Podcast episode Jesse Ausubel on Agriculture, Technology, and the Return of Nature

EconTalk Episode with Jesse Ausubel
Hosted by Russ Roberts

city whale.jpg Thousands of bears in New Jersey. Humpback whales near New York City. Acres devoted to farming stable or declining even as food production soars. Jesse Ausubel of the Rockefeller University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the return of nature. Ausubel shows how technology has reduced many of the dimensions of the human footprint even as population rises and why this trend is likely to continue into the future. The conversation concludes with Ausubel's cautious optimism about the impact of climate change.

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Haute Cuisine pour Vous?

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

In an age of abundance, how does the way we think about food differ from the past? This week, EconTalk host Russ Roberts welcomed historian Rachel Laudan for a fascinating conversation about the history, culture, and economics of food.

We'd like to see their conversation expand here. Please share your thoughts on the prompts below in the Comments. As always, we love to hear from you. burger2.jpg

1. What was the most interesting thing you took from this week's episode? Explain.

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Podcast episode Rachel Laudan on the History of Food and Cuisine

EconTalk Episode with Rachel Laudan
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Cuisine and Empire2.jpg Rachel Laudan, visiting scholar at the University of Texas and author of Cuisine and Empire, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the history of food. Topics covered include the importance of grain, the spread of various styles of cooking, why French cooking has elite status, and the reach of McDonald's. The conversation concludes with a discussion of the appeal of local food and other recent food passions.

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Where the Wild Things Are(n't)?

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

Oysters, elk, and ungulates, oh, my! Who knew that a political storm could develop over oysters? This week's guest, Summer Brennan, did. Russ chatted with the author of The Oyster War on the nature of wilderness, competing interests, and the nature of truth. A tall order to be sure...but now we want to hear from you.
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1. Russ cites a common economics mantra in relation to the story of the Drakes Bay Oyster Company, "There are no solutions, only trade-offs." Can you think of a controversy similar to this one that also illustrates this principle?

2. What does "wilderness" mean to you? How do you enjoy "wilderness?" How well does the political process define it?

3. Check out the American Prairie Reserve. How might its management and access differ from a traditional national park?

4. Why is the idea of equilibrium so comforting in both economics and ecology? What are the dangers of pushing this concept too far in either area?



Podcast episode Summer Brennan on Wilderness, Politics and the Oyster War

EconTalk Episode with Summer Brennan
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Oyster War.jpg Summer Brennan, author of The Oyster War, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her book and the fight between the Drakes Bay Oyster Company and the federal government over farming oysters in the Point Reyes National Seashore. Along the way they discuss the economics of oyster farming, the nature of wilderness, and the challenge of land use in national parks and seashores.

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Maximizing our RoG

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

Fish business CEO Roger Berkowitz tells Russ that his guiding philosophy is RoG, or Return of the Guest. Says Berkowitz, "And what I'm simply trying to do is make sure that we can enhance the overall experience that are going to encourage people to want to come back again."

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So this week we'd like to try something a little different...In fact, we're asking for your advice. What can we do at EconTalk to increase our RoG? How can we make the "experience" of EconTalk a better one? What can we do to bring more listeners into our community?

You might think about the conversation Russ and Berkowitz had about competition, which Russ paints in very broad brush strokes. What constitutes EconTalk's competition, and how can we fare better in that competitive landscape? How can we make more people aware that we're here and might be of value to those who don't know about EconTalk yet?

Send your ideas (200 words or less, please) to econlib@libertyfund.org by midnight EST on Sunday, August 9. We'd really like your input...And we'd like to highlight some of the best responses. And there are books in it for our most thoughtful responders!!!



Podcast episode Roger Berkowitz on Fish, Food, and Legal Sea Foods

EconTalk Episode with Roger Berkowitz
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Seafood is highly perishable and supply is often uncertain. Roger Berkowitz, CEO of Legal Sea Foods talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the challenges of running 34 seafood restaurants up and down the east coast. Berkowitz draws on his 22 year tenure as CEO and discusses how his business works day-to-day and the question of sustainability.

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If a nation sends all its children to school, can it count on greater economic growth? Does putting bottoms in seats generate human capital? This week, Russ welcomed back the Hoover Institution's Eric Hanushek.

What did you think of this week's episode? What did it make you think more about? Share with us your thoughts and reactions, helping us make EconTalk ever better. As always, we learn from you and we love to hear from you.

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1. What additional question(s) would you have asked Hanushek?

2. Hanushek suggests a causal relationship between academic achievement and economic growth in a nation, What is the nature of Russ's concern about "reverse causation?" To what extent do you find Hanushek's claim plausible?

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