Tuesday, April 21, AD 2009

For something over a year now, I’ve been enjoying the EconTalk podcast, something which Blackadder of Vox Nova turned me on to. EconTalk is a weekly, one hour podcast put out by the Library of Economics and Liberty. It’s hosted by Dr. Russ Roberts, a professor of economics at George Mason University and regular National Public Radio commentator on economics, and the format is usually one of Prof. Roberts interviewing an economist about his/her recent book, or about an topic of current interest. And generally it succeeds in pursuing that fascinating middle ground of being accessible to the general listener while not shying away from discussing highly technical/academic topics.

I was inspired to post on them at this point because this week’s podcast was of a different format than usual, consisting of an extended interview of Prof. Roberts by a journalist on the difference between wealth and income, and what it means to say that we have “become much less wealthy” over the course of the recession of the last 6-9 months. Roberts also discusses the inexact nature of economics as a science and how the uncertainties of interpreting data play into policy debates.

Other podcasts which might be of particular interest to our readers because they deal with intersections of economics and moral issues would be:

George Srour on Education, African Schools, and Building Tomorrow — an interview with the founder of a non-profit responsible for building schools in Uganda where he discusses the importance of setting up the right kind of incentives in order to make aid to the third world work.

Mike Munger on Fair Trade and Free Trade.

And two competing takes on how the problems at the root of global poverty:

Paul Collier of Oxford on his book The Bottom Billion.

William Easterly of NYU on his book White Man’s Burden, and the difficulties surrounding large scale foreign aid.


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