18 episodes

MODEL CITIZEN is an interview podcast that explores big, new ideas in politics and policy with captivating original thinkers ... premised on the idea that we have a duty as citizens and neighbors to build our mental models of the world with as little error, bias, and lunacy as possible. Guests discuss how they've arrived at their conclusions, mistakes they've made, people and methods they trust and distrust, and how they've changed their minds.

Hosted by WILL WILKINSON, Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center and a New York Times contributing opinion writer.

modelcitizen.substack.com

Model Citizen Will Wilkinson

    • News
    • 4.4 • 45 Ratings

MODEL CITIZEN is an interview podcast that explores big, new ideas in politics and policy with captivating original thinkers ... premised on the idea that we have a duty as citizens and neighbors to build our mental models of the world with as little error, bias, and lunacy as possible. Guests discuss how they've arrived at their conclusions, mistakes they've made, people and methods they trust and distrust, and how they've changed their minds.

Hosted by WILL WILKINSON, Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center and a New York Times contributing opinion writer.

modelcitizen.substack.com

    How Zoning Screws up Everything

    How Zoning Screws up Everything

    This is my question: can we YIMBY harder? Many people are awakening to the enormous costs of restrictive municipal land use and zoning. But what can we do about it? Most assume that restrictive zoning and skyrocketing housing costs are local issues that require local solutions. But as my guest, David Schleicher, makes clear, that's not really true. A few superstar cities choking off housing supply has huge national implications. It creates massive distortions in labor markets and patterns of interstate labor mobility. This has left us a lot poorer than we'd be if our most productive cities were more relaxed about zoning. But as David points out in his terrific paper, “Stuck: The Law and Economics of Residential Stability,” these distortions also screw up the effectiveness of federal macroeconomic policy, which does additional damage to growth. I'm writing a paper about this stuff and I've actually become more rather than less confused about why the federal government can't directly intervene to remedy a problem that has immense national implications. That's why I wanted to talk to David, my favorite YIMBY law professor. If anybody would know, it'd be him. Along the way we talk about the weirdness of American single-family residential zoning, the “homevoter hypothesis,” and whether the pandemic means that telecommuting is here forever. David Schleicher is Professor of Law at Yale Law School, a New Yorker, and a hell of a nice guy.

    Readings

    “Stuck: The Law and Economics of Residential Stability” by David Schleicher

    “Planning an Affordable City,” by Roderick Hills and David Schleicher

    “City Unplanning,” by David Schleicher

    The Homevoter Hypothesis by William Fischel

    Zoning and Property Rights by Robert Nelson

    “Suburban Growth Controls: An Economic and Legal Analysis,” by Robert Ellickson

    Segregation by Design by Jessica Trounstine

    Zoned in the USA by Sonia Hirt

    “America’s racist housing rules really can be fixed” by Jerusalem Demsas

    “Federal Grant Rules and Realities in the Intergovernmental Administrative State: Compliance, Performance, and Politics” by Eloise Passachoff



    © Model Citizen Media, LLC 2021

    This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at modelcitizen.substack.com/subscribe

    Freedom from the Market

    Freedom from the Market

    Nearly everyone agrees that the American system is, in some sense, rigged. If it is, then how did it get that way. Mike Konczal (@rortybomb), Director of Progressive Thought at the Roosevelt Institute, a left-leaning think tank, argues that America has come to rely too heavily on markets. In his new book, Freedom from the Market: America's Fight to Liberate Itself from the Grip of the Invisible Hand, Konczal pushes back against the idea that "neo-liberal" market dependency is natural, inevitable, or even especially American. Drawing on the history of American policy from the founding up to now, he argues that markets are inseparable from politics -- that they are, effectively, government programs. But markets don't necessarily give people what they need, can't provide essential goods to people who can't pay, and can leave us subject to domination from the economically powerful. In a wide-ranging conversation, we touch on the appeal and implications of the republican conception of freedom as non-domination, World War II-era government daycares, the function that Medicare played in desegregating hospitals, the nature of so-called neoliberalism, and a lot more. When Mike sent me his book, he included a note expressing his intention to turn me into a social democrat. I'm not sure that he succeeded, but one thing our chat made clear to me is that once you're willing to accept that markets are essentially political and that market structure is a policy choice, it’s possible to have a constructive conversation free of dogmatic ideological table-pounding.  

    Mike Konczal

    Readings

    Freedom from the Market: America's Fight to Liberate Itself from the Grip of the Invisible Hand by Mike Konczal

    From Slavery to the Cooperative Commonwealth: Labor and Republican Liberty in the Nineteenth Century  by Alex Gourevitch

    Land-grab universities by Robert Lee and Tristan Ahtone, High Country News

    Social Insurance: With Special Reference to American Conditions by I.M. Rubinow (1918)

    The Hollow Hope: Can Courts Bring About Social Change? by Gerald Rosenberg

    Kludgeocracy in America by Steven Teles, American Affairs

    “Neoliberalism” isn’t an empty epithet. It’s a real, powerful set of ideas by Mike Konczal, Vox

    The Submerged State: How Invisible Policies Undermine American Democracy by Suzanne Mettler

    Family Values: Between Neoliberalism and the New Social Conservatism by Melinda Cooper

    --

    © Model Citizen Media, LLC 2021

    This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at modelcitizen.substack.com/subscribe

    Richard Florida on the Post-Pandemic City

    Richard Florida on the Post-Pandemic City

    This episode marks the beginning of a new chapter for Model Citizen. With the power of a single mighty tweet, I've broken off the shackles of formal institutional affiliation. So we're on our own. Let's just say it's been a hell of a week. In that time, I've launched a daily newsletter, also called Model Citizen, which I've integrated with this podcast. If you'd like to support me, and the burgeoning Model Citizen media empire, please consider subscribing at modelcitizen.substack.com. It's just $5.99 a month. In addition to thought-provoking writing delivered straight to your inbox, subscribers get audio versions of articles, special episodes of the Model Citizen podcast and more. But on with the show!

    This week's guest, Richard Florida, is one of our leading authorities on cities and urban life. Richard is author of a shelf of books, including the Rise of the Creative Class and, most recently, the New Urban Crisis. In this episode, we talk about the extent to which work-from-home arrangements will or won't stick after the pandemic, whether San Francisco faces the fate of urban powerhouses of yesteryear, like Pittsburgh and Detroit, how self-reinforcing selection effects have made academia stifling, and more. Richard Florida is University Professor at the University of Toronto's School of Cities and Rotman School of Management, as well as a Distinguished Fellow at NYU's Schack School of Real Estate. And, as you'll see, he's also a hell of a nice guy.

    Readings

    The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida

    Who’s Your City by Richard Florida

    Jason Rentfrow’s Google Scholar page

    Triumph of the City by Ed Glaeser

    Jonathan Miller on Real Estate after the Pandemic, Bloomberg Masters in Business podcast

    Prison Notebooks by Antonio Gramsci

    Subscribe to the Model Citizen newsletter

    http://modelcitizen.substack.com/subscribe

    Credits

    Host: Will Wilkinson (@willwilkinson)

    Music: Dig Deep by RW Smith

    This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at modelcitizen.substack.com/subscribe

    Why Right-Wing Media Loves Lies

    Why Right-Wing Media Loves Lies

    I never thought I'd see a seditious mob of Americans sack the Capitol building as Congress counted electoral votes. But, then again, I never thought the president of the United States would turn out to be a malignant narcissist who lies about everything all the time. The insurrectionists who sacked the capitol were fueled by lies. One thing that struck me when Trump became president was how other Republican officials didn't seem to care all the much that he lied all the time. By the end of his presidency, practically the entire GOP was willing to enthusiastically embrace Trump's biggest lie yet: that he'd won an election he obviously lost. And, of course, right wing media was there the entire time, amplifying and spreading Trump's lies, whether they were petty vanities or outright seditious. Partisan bias is one thing. Blaring propaganda like a foghorn, completely indifferent to the truth, is different animal altogether. That's why I wanted to talk to my old friend Matthew Sheffield. Matthew was one of the founders of Newsbusters, one of the first conservative sites to devote itself entirely to the exposing liberal media bias and left-wing "fake news." At a certain point, the scales fell from Matthew's eyes and he realized that the mainstream media was at least trying to tell truth, but the right-wing media wasn't trying to do anything at all but stick it to left. I think the inside perspective is critical here. One of the biggest biases of the mainstream media is ignorance of the way the conservative media and messaging machine actually works. Matthew really knows what he's talking about. In addition to founding Newsbuster, he was the founding online managing editor of the Washington Examiner. More recently, he's covered the right and rightwing media for Salon, hosts a podcast called Theory of Change and has written a series of penetrating Twitter threads about the conservative media ecosystem that have earned him interviews on a bunch of radio shows as well as the New York Times. 
    Readings
    NYT interview with Matthew Sheffield 
    Twitter thread on right-wing media
    Twitter thread on meaning, loss and Christian supremacism  in modern conservatism
    How Right-Wing Media Fuels the Political Divide, On Point, WBUR - Boston
    Matthew Sheffield's Theory of Change Podcast
    Credits
    Host: Will Wilkinson (@willwilkinson)
    Audio engineer: Ray Ingegneri
    Music: Dig Deep by RW Smith
    Model Citizen is a production of the Niskanen Center  (@niskanencenter)
    To support this podcast or any of the Niskanen Center's programs, visit: https://niskanencenter.org/donate
     


    This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at modelcitizen.substack.com/subscribe

    Personality and Partisan Polarization

    Personality and Partisan Polarization

    This week's guest, Christopher Federico, is co-author (along with Christopher Johnston and Howard Lavine) of one of the most illuminating books I've ever read in the field of political psychology, "Open Versus Closed: Personality, Identity, and the Politics of Redistribution." The American electorate is divided by geography, but also personality. "Open Versus Closed" explores the ways in which personality differences do and don't predict our political views. Christopher and I talk about all that good stuff an more, including a discussion that I found really interesting about the extent to which rising prosperity is inherently polarizing because it reveals and amplifies our natural differences simply by making it easier for us to realize our capacities and select into professions and communities filled with people like us. We also explore whether its easier to extend respect and empathy across ideological and partisan lines when you believe that people generally aren't personally responsible for their personalities or political opinions. 
    Christopher Federico is Professor of Political Science and Psychology at the University of Minnesota. He's the Director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for the Study of Political Psychology and Vice President of the International Society of Political Psychology.    
    Readings
    Open Versus Closed: Personality, Identity, and the Politics of Redistribution by Christopher Federico, Christopher Johnston and Howard Lavine
    "The Personality Basis of Political Preferences" by Christopher Federico
    "The contingent, contextual nature of the relationship between needs for security and certainty and political preferences: Evidence and implications" by Christopher Federico and Ariel Malka
    Christopher M. Federico at Google Scholar
    Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity by Lilliana Mason
    "How racially resentful working-class whites fled the Democratic Party — before Donald Trump" by Michael Tesler
    Credits
    Host: Will Wilkinson (@willwilkinson)
    Audio engineer: Ray Ingegneri
    Music: Dig Deep by RW Smith
    Model Citizen is a production of the Niskanen Center  (@niskanencenter)
    To support this podcast or any of the Niskanen Center's programs, visit: https://niskanencenter.org/donate


    This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at modelcitizen.substack.com/subscribe

    The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World

    The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World

    In my most philosophical moods (and I'm usually in a pretty philosophical mood) I tend to see pretty much anything as a window onto the cosmos. But I'd never considered my cotton slacks as a window onto the forward march of human progress. That is, until I read Virginia Postrel's new book, "The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World." 
    Did you know that the microbial theory of disease starts with silkworm farming? That the origins of computing have something to do with the algorithmic nature of weaving? That double-entry bookkeeping and modern finance are creatures of the textile trade? Well, I do now, thanks to Virginia's fascinating new book. We talk about all that, as well as the nature of the human desires for protection, comfort, pleasure, novelty and status that drive the whole story forward. Could whatever you're listening to this on now even exist if we didn't care about so much about pants? I don't know, but "The Fabric of Civilization" got me wondering. 
    In addition to this book, Virginia Postrel is author of The Future and Its Enemies, the Substance of Style, and the Power of Glamour. Reason magazine under her editorship in the late '90s and early Oughts was a big formative influence on me and I count myself lucky to have her as a friend. She is also, I should mention, a member of the Niskanen Center's board of advisors.  
    Readings
    The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World by Virginia Postrel
    Credits
    Host: Will Wilkinson (@willwilkinson)
    Audio engineer: Ray Ingegneri
    Music: Dig Deep by RW Smith
    Model Citizen is a production of the Niskanen Center  (@niskanencenter)
    To support this podcast or any of the Niskanen Center's programs, visit: https://niskanencenter.org/donate


    This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at modelcitizen.substack.com/subscribe

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
45 Ratings

45 Ratings

Enajazile ,

Wonderful conversation

So thoughtful and informed about a critical issue-the roots and illiberal ideologies—that touches on philosophy, modernism and anti modernism, party politics, critical theory in higher ed, literature (Moby Dick is my favorite novel too!)

Bungybungy ,

Far too long

I enjoy Will’s long form writing, but an hour and 45 minutes is far too long for these types of discussions, with too much rambling dialogue. The podcast includes many interesting and important topics that could use some editorial attention.

Aristophantic ,

Let your guests talk.

This is a decent podcast, but Will is talking at least 50% more than his guests, which doesn’t make any sense. Half of the podcast on Reactionary Conservatism was Laura trying to get a word in edge-wise. And she was making better points! So painful.

Top Podcasts In News