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Tune in each week as the American Enterprise Institute's Jim Pethokoukis interviews economists, business leaders, academics and others on the most important and interesting issues of the day. You can find all episodes at AEI, Ricochet, and wherever podcasts are downloaded, and look for follow-up transcripts and blog posts at aei.org.

Political Economy with Jim Pethokoukis Ricochet.com

    • Politik

Tune in each week as the American Enterprise Institute's Jim Pethokoukis interviews economists, business leaders, academics and others on the most important and interesting issues of the day. You can find all episodes at AEI, Ricochet, and wherever podcasts are downloaded, and look for follow-up transcripts and blog posts at aei.org.

    Hal Varian: In defense of Big Tech

    Hal Varian: In defense of Big Tech

    The debate in Washington about the American technology sector has shifted in recent years, going from “Big Tech is leading us to the future” to “What has tech done for us lately?” So has the technology sector failed to deliver for the past few decades? And what should policymakers and scientists be doing to maximize technological advancement? Hal Varian joins me on today’s episode of Political Economy to explain why he is much more optimistic about the few decades’ worth of innovation.







    Hal is the chief economist at Google. He is also an emeritus professor at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was the founding dean of its School of Information. He’s also the author of two economics textbooks, and the co-author of the bestselling business strategy book, Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy.

    • 32 Min.
    Erik Brynjolfsson: Can AI help us overcome the productivity paradox?

    Erik Brynjolfsson: Can AI help us overcome the productivity paradox?

    Will artificial intelligence be as important an innovation as technologists have predicted? Will machine learning improve productivity? Will it exacerbate inequality? And how can policymakers best promote innovation in this field while preparing the labor force for its widespread adoption? On today’s Political Economy, Erik Brynjolfsson and I discuss these questions, and many more.







    Erik is a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business, and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He’s also the author of several books, including Machine Platform Crowd: Harnessing our Digital Future (2017) and The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies (2014), both of which he co-authored with Andrew McAfee.







    You can also check out the transcript of this podcast here.

    • 22 Min.
    Paul Vigna: How blockchain could change the world

    Paul Vigna: How blockchain could change the world

    Does blockchain technology have applications beyond cryptocurrency? After all, the blockchain is an immutable record of transactions and contracts, maintained by a completely decentralized network. This means that, if the promise of blockchain comes to fruition, humanity may one day have access to a permanent record for all transactions and contracts, without needing to rely on banks or Big Tech companies. So what are the possible applications and implications of blockchain technology? Paul Vigna joins me to discuss.







    Paul is a markets reporter for The Wall Street Journal, where he covers equities and the economy. He is also a columnist and anchor for MoneyBeat, and he is the co-author — with Michael Casey — of both The Age of Cryptocurrency and, most recently, The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything.







    You can also check out the transcript of this podcast here.

    • 23 Min.
    Michael Strain: The American Dream is not dead

    Michael Strain: The American Dream is not dead

    According to the conventional wisdom, America’s economy has not delivered for most Americans over the past few decades. Pessimistic observers on both sides of the aisle claim that — as a result of globalization, automation, immigration, or elitist policymakers — wages have stagnated, economic mobility has evaporated, and the middle class has hollowed out. And so a new wave of populism has led to politicians ranging from Marco Rubio to Elizabeth Warren to Donald Trump to claim that the American Dream is no longer available to regular Americans.







    But, according to Michael Strain, this is not true. While America faces many challenges, our economy still delivers for regular workers, and populists should not try to tear down what isn’t broken. He outlines this argument in his upcoming book, The American Dream Is Not Dead: (But Populism Could Kill It), which will be out at the end of the month.







    Michael Strain is the director of economic policy studies and the Arthur F. Burns Chair in Political Economy here at AEI. Previously, he worked for the US Census Bureau and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He is a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, and his essays and op-eds have been published by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, National Review, and The Weekly Standard.







    You can also check out the transcript of this podcast here.

    • 41 Min.
    Thomas Philippon: How America gave up on free markets

    Thomas Philippon: How America gave up on free markets

    How concentrated is corporate power in America today? How big of a problem is this? According to Thomas Philippon, the answers are “more concentrated than in Europe, and more concentrated than any other time in recent American history,” and, more simply, “yes, it’s a big problem.” On today’s podcast, Thomas and I delve into this argument, outlined in his recently released book, The Great Reversal: How America Gave Up on Free Markets. We explore how industry concentration has affected various American markets — from air travel to health care. We also explore the difference between good and bad concentration, and discuss which label better applies to big technology companies.







    Thomas is a professor of finance at New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business. He is also an associate editor of the American Economic Journal and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.







    You can also check out the transcript of this podcast here.

    • 24 Min.
    Alain Bertaud: How markets shape cities

    Alain Bertaud: How markets shape cities

    America’s ten largest metro areas combine for 34 percent of total GDP, and some 80 percent of the nation’s 5,000 fastest-growing businesses are located in large urban areas. Simply put, cities are critical to driving growth and innovation. Yet cities also offer unique policy challenges. They require energetic local government, but too often such energies are channeled into restrictive regulations that raise living costs and stifle opportunity. So how can city planners effectively manage their cities? Today’s guest, Alain Bertaud, argues that a healthy respect for markets — for the tendency for human action to generate an “order without design” — is key to a well-managed city.







    Alain is a senior research scholar at the Marron Institute at NYU. He is the former principal urban planner for the World Bank, and he has worked as a resident urban planner in cities throughout the world, including New York, Paris, Bangkok, and Port au Prince. Most recently, he is the author of Order Without Design: How Markets Shape Cities.







    You can also check out the transcript of this podcast here.

    • 23 Min.

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