EconTalk: Conversations for the Curious is an award-winning weekly podcast hosted by Russ Roberts of Shalem College in Jerusalem. The eclectic guest list includes authors, doctors, psychologists, historians, philosophers, economists, and more. Learn how the health care system really works, the serenity that comes from humility, the challenge of interpreting data, how potato chips are made, what it's like to run an upscale Manhattan restaurant, what caused the 2008 financial crisis, the nature of consciousness, and more. EconTalk has been taking the Monday out of Mondays since 2006. All 750+ episodes are available in the archive. Go to EconTalk.org for transcripts, related resources, and comments.
Jonathan Rauch on the Constitution of Knowledge
Journalist and author Jonathan Rauch talks about his book The Constitution of Knowledge with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Rauch argues that the constitution of knowledge--the norms and institutions for testing the reliability of new ideas and accumulating knowledge--has been dramatically altered by the internet and social media. Along the way, they discuss epistemology, the parallels between journalism and the sciences, the waning of religion, the value of new ideas, tribalism, and how incentives affect journalists who want to pursue truth.
James Heckman on Inequality and Economic Mobility
Economist and Nobel Laureate James Heckman of the University of Chicago talks about inequality and economic mobility with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Drawing on research on inequality in Denmark with Rasmus Landerso, Heckman argues that despite the efforts of the Danish welfare state to provide equal access to education, there is little difference in economic mobility between the United States and Denmark. The conversation includes a general discussion of economic mobility in the United States along with a critique of Chetty and others' work on the power of neighborhood to determine one's economic destiny.
Michael Easter on the Comfort Crisis
Journalist and author Michael Easter talks about his book The Comfort Crisis with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Easter thinks modern life is too easy, too comfortable. To be healthy, he says, we need to move out of our comfort zones and every once in a while try to do something, especially something physically demanding, that we didn't think was possible. Easter discusses rising levels of anxiety and depression in the West and why taking on challenges can be part of the solution.
Don Boudreaux on the Pandemic
Economist Don Boudreaux of George Mason University talks about the pandemic with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Boudreaux argues that a perfect storm of factors created a huge overreaction, including unnecessary lockdowns that accomplished little at a very high cost in physical and emotional health. Instead, Boudreaux argues, we should have focused attention on the population most at risk of dying from COVID--the elderly and especially the elderly with co-morbidities. The conversation includes a discussion of externalities and the insights of Ronald Coase applied to the policies during the pandemic.
Claudia Hauer on War, Education, and Strategic Humanism
Claudia Hauer of St. John's College and the Air Force Academy talks about her book Strategic Humanism with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Topics discussed include war, rage, terrorism, and what a modern warrior might learn from Homer.
Sebastian Junger on Freedom
Journalist and author Sebastian Junger talks about his book, Freedom, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. The book and conversation are based on a 400-mile walk Junger took with buddies along railroad rights-of-way, evading police, railroad security, and other wanderers. Junger discusses the ever-present tension between the human desire to be free and the desire to be interconnected and part of something. Along the way, Junger talks about the joy of walking, the limits of human endurance, war, and why the more powerful, better-equipped military isn't always the winner.
Wonderful show. In recent years it has transitioned more into a philosophy podcast, which is a welcome turn. Not because the econ content hasn’t been good - it has always been very good - but because Russ is a versatile thinker and an avid reader who really thrives when the scope of the talk is broadened. I’ve learned a great deal from Econ Talk over the years and am grateful for its existence!
5 stars for content
This is my favorite podcast out of about 7 that are in my regular playlist. The content, information, points of view are amazing and invaluable. AT cost of only my time it is hard to complain; however, allow me to advise guests that after the 45 minute mark OMG relax or hydrate so you do not start with the “and and and ah ah ah uhh uhh uhh uhh” it takes all my power and desire to learn to continue listening when this $t@r+s !!!