EconTalk podcast

EconTalk

EconTalk: Conversations for the Curious is an award-winning weekly podcast hosted by Russ Roberts of Shalem College in Jerusalem and Stanford's Hoover Institution. 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 900+ episodes are available in the archive. Go to EconTalk.org for transcripts, related resources, and comments.

EconTalk: Conversations for the Curious is an award-winning weekly podcast hosted by Russ Roberts of Shalem College in Jerusalem and Stanford's Hoover Institution. 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 900+ episodes are available in the archive. Go to EconTalk.org for transcripts, related resources, and comments.

 

#954

Lessons from Lincoln, Then and Now (with Diana Schaub)

What lessons can we take from the speeches of Abraham Lincoln for today's turbulent times? How did those speeches move the nation in Lincoln's day? Listen as political scientist Diana Schaub of Loyola University, Maryland talks with EconTalk's Russ Roberts about three of Lincoln's most important speeches and what they can tell us about the United States then and now. ... Read more

15 Jul 2024

1 HR 34 MINS

1:34:10

15 Jul 2024


#953

Reading, Writing, and Fighting (with Mark Helprin)

For many men, surviving the test of battle intensifies the joy of being alive. A provocative claim, perhaps, but to novelist Mark Helprin, simply a fact, and one that drives his new book about men who commit themselves fully both to service during wartime and to the women they love. Listen as Helprin tells EconTalk's Russ Roberts how his service in the Israeli and American militaries, his decades of journalism and outdoor adventure, and his long career in defense and foreign policy enabled him to write The Oceans and the Stars, a lyrical and thrilling look at leadership in the crucible of war--and at sea. They also discuss Helprin's writing routine and sources of inspiration, his analysis of Israel's real-life war against Iran and its proxies, and his thoughts on the state of American culture today. ... Read more

08 Jul 2024

1 HR 34 MINS

1:34:06

08 Jul 2024


#952

Is Israel Occupying the West Bank? (with Eugene Kontorovich)

To international law expert Eugene Kontorovich of George Mason University, all the arguments that make Israel out to be an occupying force collapse under the weight of a single, simple fact: A country cannot occupy territory to which it has a legal claim. Listen as Kontorovich speaks with EconTalk's Russ Roberts about the legal issues surrounding occupation as well as the moral issues of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. They also discuss the crazy-quilt legal environment of jurisdiction in the West Bank in the aftermath of the Oslo Accords of 1993. Finally, they explore the likely outcomes of current proposals for a Palestinian state in the West Bank. ... Read more

01 Jul 2024

1 HR 06 MINS

1:06:18

01 Jul 2024


#951

René Girard, Mimesis, and Conflict (with Cynthia Haven)

If you're always imitating others or aspiring to be something else, what's left of the "authentic" you? According to the French philosopher René Girard, not much: Nothing can be truly authentic, he argued--everything comes from somewhere else. This is just one of the many original and counterintuitive claims put forth in Girard's sweeping approach to human history. He argues it is sameness, not our difference that leads to conflict, and he sees religion as a way to contain the chaos as opposed to its first cause. Listen as Stanford University scholar Cynthia Haven speaks with EconTalk's Russ Roberts about Girard's theories of desire and violence. The conversation also includes a discussion of the power of forgiveness to put a stop to conflict's rinse-and-repeat. ... Read more

24 Jun 2024

54 MINS

54:28

24 Jun 2024


#950

Does Market Failure Justify Government Intervention? (with Michael Munger)

Economics students are often taught that government should intervene when there is market failure. But what about government failure? Should we expect government intervention to outperform market outcomes? Listen as Duke University economist Michael Munger explores the history of how economists have thought about this dilemma and possible ways to find a third or even fourth option beyond government or markets. ... Read more

17 Jun 2024

1 HR 08 MINS

1:08:04

17 Jun 2024


#949

How the Constitution Can Bring Us Together (with Yuval Levin)

Can a document unify a nation? Yuval Levin of the American Enterprise Institute and author of American Covenant argues that the Constitution unified the United States at the founding of the country and that understanding the Constitution can help bring the country together today. Listen as Levin speaks with EconTalk's Russ Roberts about how the Constitution not only took into account fractious politics, but also ensured that polarization would lead to a stronger democracy. Topics include the inherent limitations placed on the majority and how that affects policy formation, the vital if misunderstood advantages of the electoral college, and why, despite all the warnings to the contrary, this is far from a dangerous moment in American political history. ... Read more

10 Jun 2024

1 HR 02 MINS

1:02:55

10 Jun 2024


#948

Injustice and the "Letter from Birmingham Jail" (with Dwayne Betts)

When poet, lawyer, and MacArthur Fellow Dwayne Betts was imprisoned for nine years at the age of 16 for carjacking, he only wept twice. One of those times was when he read Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail." In this powerful conversation with EconTalk's Russ Roberts, Betts explains why he cried, what he learned from King, King's urgency in the face of injustice, and Betts's thoughts on writing the introduction to a new volume of King's letter. ... Read more

03 Jun 2024

1 HR 04 MINS

1:04:03

03 Jun 2024


#947

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the Covid Vaccine (with Vinay Prasad)

The Covid vaccine saved many lives but so many mistakes were made in how public health officials discussed it, implemented it, and assessed its effectiveness. Epidemiologist Vinay Prasad of the University of California, San Francisco talks with EconTalk's Russ Roberts about what went wrong, the costs of the mistakes that were made, and what we can do better the next time. ... Read more

27 May 2024

1 HR 27 MINS

1:27:40

27 May 2024


#946

Purpose, Pleasure, and Meaning in a World Without Work (with Nicholas Bostrom)

If you didn't have to work to enjoy material abundance, would you do it anyway? If an algorithm or a pill could achieve better results, would you bother shopping or going to the gym? These are the kinds of questions we'll need to ask ourselves if AI makes all human labor and other traditional ways of spending time obsolete. Oxford philosopher Nicholas Bostrom, author of Deep Utopia, is downright bullish about our ability, not only to adjust to a life stripped of labor, but to thrive. Listen as Bostrom explains to EconTalk's Russ Roberts what pleasure and leisure might look like in a world without struggle or pain, and why art and religion may come out still standing, or even become more necessary. Finally, they speak about how AI might free us up to be the best people we can be. ... Read more

20 May 2024

1 HR 16 MINS

1:16:32

20 May 2024


#945

Glenn Loury Tells All

Economist and social critic Glenn Loury talks about his memoir, Late Admissions, with EconTalk's Russ Roberts. In a wide-ranging and blunt conversation, Loury discusses his childhood, his at-times brilliant academic work, his roller-coaster ideological journey, and his personal flaws as a drug addict and imperfect husband. This is a rich conversation about academic life, race in America, and the challenges of self-control. ... Read more

13 May 2024

1 HR 30 MINS

1:30:26

13 May 2024


#944

Living with the Constitution (with A.J. Jacobs)

What does it mean to live Constitutionally in the year 2024? For a start, it means getting off social media. It also means swapping a quill pen for your keyboard, and candlelight for electricity. And don't forget the tricorn hat and musket--though maybe skip the boiled mutton. Join author A.J. Jacobs as he deep-dives with EconTalk's Russ Roberts into the centuries-old principles of the U.S. Constitution and tries to apply them to the current day. Topics include the original conceptions of our most cherished amendments, the office of the President, and the Supreme Court, and an explanation of how one can be an originalist and still believe in gender equity. Jacobs also shares his family's experience writing its own constitution, and explains why his research made him more optimistic about the future of American democracy. ... Read more

06 May 2024

1 HR 08 MINS

1:08:51

06 May 2024


#943

The Top EconTalk Conversations of 2023 (with Russ Roberts)

The favorite EconTalk episodes for host Russ Roberts are when he and his guest have an unusually powerful connection such as his recent episode with Charles Duhigg, and the ones where he learns something mind-blowing, like Adam Mastroianni’s insight that you can’t reach the brain through the ears. Listen as Russ explains how he chooses guests, and why EconTalk has evolved to focus on things other than economics. He also shares listeners' favorite conversations from 2023, and tells a story that shows the challenges—and opportunities—of applying EconTalk’s lessons to our personal lives. ... Read more

29 Apr 2024

42 MINS

42:08

29 Apr 2024


#942

Seeking Immortality (with Paul Bloom)

Would an AI simulation of your dead loved one be a blessing or an abomination? And if you knew that after your own death, your loved ones would create a simulation of you, how would that knowledge change the way you choose to live today? These are some of the questions psychologist Paul Bloom discusses with EconTalk's Russ Roberts as we stand on the threshold of digital immortality. ... Read more

22 Apr 2024

1 HR 13 MINS

1:13:35

22 Apr 2024


#941

When Prediction Is Not Enough (with Teppo Felin)

If the Wright Brothers could have used AI to guide their decision making, it's almost certain they would never have gotten off the ground. That's because, points out Teppo Felin of Utah State University and Oxford, all the evidence said human flight was impossible. So how and why did the Wrights persevere? Felin explains that the human ability to ignore existing data and evidence is not only our Achilles heel, but also one of our superpowers. Topics include the problems inherent in modeling our brains after computers, and the value of not only data-driven prediction, but also belief-driven experimentation. ... Read more

15 Apr 2024

1 HR 07 MINS

1:07:10

15 Apr 2024