Monday, April 15, 2013

What's Up?

Time for Russ Roberts to admit that he is out of useful things to talk about.

That MUST be true, because he asked me to be on EconTalk again.  So, the barrel, and its bottom, must be being scratched.  It's a weekly show, and it's truly amazing he does it so well.  It is still a good show, consistently.  Except when I'm on, I mean.

On the other hand, this is a chance to answer, or at least talk about, the deepest economic and social mysteries out there.  My question to you, the readers of KPC, the smartest and most physically attractive people in the THE WORLD....what should be the next Russ Roberts-Mike Munger show?

It's not majority rule; I'll decide which suggestion is best.  But I am seriously asking for answers in comments.  Since Russ and I have already done 20 shows, we have hit quite a few of the most obvious topics.

And, remember, it cannot be about something currently being considered by Congress, or directly related to partisan public policy considerations. 

Have at you!

38 comments:

Sam Wilson said...

The Precautionary Principle and its relation to Euvoluntary Exchange.

And no, I'm not suggesting this for the sole reason I want to plagiarize it for a paper I want to write. There's also some direct consumption benefit to do with, like, dulcet tones or whatever, pumpkin.

Vic Oquendo said...

Japan. How it got in to the mess it's in, similarity to the US, and whether their current strategy has a reasonable change at success.

piefarmer said...

Have you boys pontificated on the economics of charity and charitable giving?
Why libertarians and others are trying to give directly or give well.
Who gives and who doesn't.
Does the existence of large federal grants reduce giving by individuals.
Tax code incentives/disincentives.

piefarmer said...

My favorite economics question, even though I mostly know the answer, is:
Why can't I sell my Home Depot stock on eBay?

piefarmer said...

From the news but probably already covered, what are the reasons, impacts, viability, of restricting direct sales to consumers?
For example, laws mandating auto or alcohol manufacturers only sell to wholesalers.

Anonymous said...

I'm currently reading "The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution: 1763-1789"

One of the things that's really interesting, but that is not focused on, is how the mercantile system was structured at the time, and why the tax laws seem so different than the ones we have today.

Gerardo said...

The recent Steven Landsburg kerfuffle.

Angus said...

How solar is getting better and is actually the most libertarian of all power sources. What should the government be doing regarding energy sources and pollution and safety.

Gordon said...

Bitcoin has been in the news quite a bit last week. But that's not necessarily the topic that I hope you and Russ will cover. It has more to do with the reaction of those who have been vehemently defending the viability of Bitcoin. They argue that inflation only occurs from government manipulation of fiat money. And these people seem to draw the conclusion that deflation is a good thing. I think these rants hurt the entire community that advocates free markets. So would you and Russ discuss how inflation and deflation happen and the harm that they cause?

Chris said...

The morality of the mechanics of undoing crony capitalist policies.

This is something I find difficult to reconcile. Consider, for example, car dealerships or distributors of alcoholic beverages. Libertarian and other free-market leaning ideologies favor undoing the laws that prohibit vertical integration (or direct to consumer selling). But how do we take into account today's middle men?

The few car dealers I know are not political/policy junkies. They got into the business because they were good at it and enjoyed doing it. They didn't create the system, nor consciously set out to take advantage of the current rules.

For those who favor removing these market restrictions, what moral responsibility do we have? How can we reconcile our policy perspectives with putting our friends' livelihoods in jeopardy?

Anonymous said...

Previous Munger Econtalk Podcasts

Laoch of Chicago said...

Can you speculate as to how a libetarian/anarchistic society might be reasonably structured/

Anonymous said...

Chris' comment made me think of this perspective offered by Steve Landsburg.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/16/opinion/16landsburg.html?ex=1358226000&en=f9b3588d04dc0784&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=all

R. Avalos said...

Black and grey markets within multiplayer video game enviorments.

-Do video games with command based economies encourage extralegal activity?
-How are video game economies similar and dissimilar to real world economies?

Or a discussion on scarcity related to virtual goods.

Jim Oliver said...

How big is the untaxed sector illegal and legal. Illegal is obvious but legal is mostly for in home consumption.

Tim Worstall said...

What is the correct amount of inequality in a society?

There must be some, for incentives reasons, excessive is bad for the society as a whole.

But what is "excessive"?

entirelyalive said...

Everyone wants to talk about who the next Rome will be (China is the usual bet), but nobody ever predicts who the next Netherlands will be.

Who do you and Russ think will be the next supremely innovative small country or community that hits way above its weight class in terms of innovation and trade?

russell said...

Two recommendations:

1. Why the minimum wage is really no big deal (or is it?).

2. With PKrug going all "we owe it to ourselves" again, perhaps you and Russ could discuss what is happening right now with the money that we are actually paying to ourselves (money that was borrowed in the past and is being paid back now).

J Scheppers said...

I like the minimum wage suggestion but with an additional focus not only on wage but also elements such as the Earn Income Tax Credits.

But my preference would be to discuss the advantage of seeing economics as a set of mutually benificial trade offs versus the economics of set the economic dials.

The specific example of dialing that would be great to discuss is that of the fed in creating what I would like to call cheap insider money. This insider money is displacing many indiviual market makers from having to make true economic choices that could better direct the whole economy.

Trent said...

What about a discussion on what metric(s) we should use to measure how well/poorly an economy is performing, given the inherent flaws of the GDP statistic. I've heard much criticism of GDP (and rightly so), but very little discussion on what we should use in its place.

Anonymous said...

What will the economy look like when the machines do everything or mostly everything? What will humans do then? Will such an economy justify a very large welfare state?

These are what prompted my questions:

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2013/04/ai_and_ge_answe.html

http://cafehayek.com/2013/03/ed-leamer-on-the-recession.html

http://reason.com/archives/2013/02/08/were-the-luddites-right

Anonymous said...

Is college worth it? Especially for a mediocre high schol student? Is Due worth the additional $40 grand per year? Really?

Anonymous said...

That should read: Is Duke worth the additional $40 grand per year? Really?

Michael said...

Why don't we have inflation right now, even though output has fallen while the supply of money has gone up?

What economies in popular culture storylines are impossible?

For example, in the original Bioshock the underwater city of rapture has zero trade with the outside world but is productive, rich and decadent.

What's the best response to people who say that Economic concept X is outddated? Free trade, comparative advantage, capitalism, etc.

Anomaly said...

Capitalism and character: which virtues do markets promote, and which might they undermine?

This could include a brief review of arguments from Smith and evidence from ultimatum games that suggest markets promote trust and fairness, and a review of skepticism from Marx and Sandel that by relying too much on self-interested motives markets crowd out altruistic impulses and virtues like generosity. Loren Lomasky has a nice paper responding to this argument.

Scott Burgess said...

I have to say that having only found Econtalk about 6 months ago, and having just finished listening to every one in the archive, episodes that you've been on rate as my favorites. I especially enjoyed hearing about busing in Chile.

That said, I've recently been thinking a lot about licensing. There's a push in Michigan now to require midwives to be licensed. I can't help but think this is a bad idea.

Not asking you to talk about that issue in particular, but would love to hear general views on licensing.

Pelsmin said...

Discuss the difference between free-market jobs and government jobs. How some jobs may be necessary for the functioning of civil society (police, teachers, courts, epidemiologists) and the people doing them are just as committed (or not) as free-market workers, but how only one of them creates wealth.

How we should not count government workers in employment statistics, as those employment figures are only important in terms of social stability (high unemployment is destabilizing) but only free market jobs are a useful indication of economic health.

sb said...

One of me favorite Econtalks is from a couple years ago when you guys discussed why firms exist, a.k.a. "Bosses don't wear bunny slippers."

I thought that was a very illuminating discussion of a deep topic and maybe it could merit some re-visiting. Specifically I saw the question come up on another Web site recently of whether small firms are inherently more competitive than large firms.

sfw said...

Why do so many academics believe (or profess to) in socialistic ideas? Why do they attach themselves to things like Occupy, Global Warming etc. What are the incentives? or do they truly believe?

piefarmer said...

Why not just go all Moneyball on it? The ecomomics of baseball, tickets, free-agency, beer prices, etc. seems like a worthy topic after 20 warmups.

Anonymous said...

Economics Of Austerity, Especially Spending Cuts Vs. Tax Increases.

Wes Larmore said...

The list of US Government accomplishments includes the Internet and the Interstate Highway System among other things. I'd be very interested in a discussion on what might have taken place if we had had a more libertarian government in the past. Would the internet not exist? Or would it be even better? Would we have more cross country trains now in the absence of federal highways?

piefarmer said...

Public funded redevelopment, on a voluntary basis (non eminent domain) and the impacts.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of James Buchanan, Public Choice--specifically, "How cynical should we be about everything?" When I hear lamentations like "how can [policy makers] be so dumb?" I think, "How can they be so fiendishly clever?"

Anonymous said...

The concept of ' fairness ' - is it welldefined? A combination of economics and philosophy - that your best chats with russ are about.

When people say - its not 'fair' that the people who care for our children earn minimum wage - I say - its SAD - but is it 'unfair'?

Does fairness implicitly mean something should or can be done about it -i.e it can be corrected?

Anonymous said...

Reinhart-Rogoff.

John D. said...

Here are a few topics I would enjoy learning more about:

1. Consider discussing MOOCs and how they are changing the educational landscape. This is fascinating to me, and I can not figure out what's in it for the participating universities.

2. Being Libertarian - is a more libertarian society attractive to some of us because we seem to already have a fair amount of order already imposed by the state? Or is being Libertarian a better way to have a more civilized society? What are some common misconceptions regarding the Libertarian philosophy that you want to address? How does a Libertarian address this issue: if party "A" may do whatever he pleases so long as it does not harm parties "B-Z", how do we know if the actions of "A" will or will not have a less than obvious harmful effect on "B-Z" particularly in the long term?

3. Discuss Harry Browne's book "How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World"

Uhu work said...

Many peoples want to earn money on internet without any investment but there is many online jobs which have many investments. Now you can earn without any investment with Just clicking and Earn daily upto 10 Dollars.
Join this Best opportunity to make money online without any investment or Charges.
HotProClicks.com