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By EconTalk: Russ Roberts, Library of Economics and Liberty

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EconTalk is an award-winning weekly talk show about economics in daily life. Featured guests include renowned economics professors, Nobel Prize winners, and exciting speakers on all kinds of topical matters related to economic thought. Topics include health care, business cycles, economic growth, free trade, education, finance, politics, sports, book reviews, parenting, and the curiosities of everyday decision-making. Russ Roberts, of the Library of Economics and Liberty ( and the Hoover Institution, draws you in with lively guests and creative repartee. Look for related readings and the complete archive of previous shows at, where you can also comment on the podcasts and ask questions.

Customer Reviews

An interviewer struggles between his idée fixe and commitment to honest intellectual discourse

Russell Roberts is not only a professor, he is a proper-named Distinguished Scholar, which puts him in the upper echelons of academics; so it is no surprise that he has a Position, what Nietzsche calls a Fach. He believes decentralized price-based systems are always and everywhere superior to any alternative system for allocating scarce goods, and he always will believe it. Yet, he is honest enough to play his interviews unedited when a guest provides disconfirmatory evidence, such as that wonderful moment when he says to the myrmecologist "but all the ants have their jobs" and she says "well, no, half of them are just hanging out, and we don't know why the other ants support them." Sometimes, when he can't stand letting things go, lest his listeners emerge with with misguided notions, he permits himself a final rebuttal after the guest has gone, a lengthy last word; but it _is_ his show. So the weakness is that, when he agrees with the guest, he asks very soft questions and overlooks logic-chopping in the answers; and the strength is, when he disagrees with the guest, he asks difficult but completely legitimate questions and points out lacunae politely and without a trace of gloating. Is it reasonable to expect more? An interviewer who treated each guest with the rigor of Princeton Law Review Logic in Everyday Life would soon become as unpopular as Socrates in the agora, and who would dare come on the show? This is a good series. The issues are timeless. Highly recommended.

My Favorite Podcast

I have been subscribing to this podcast, gosh, at least a year I think. Almost every one has been informative and enjoyable. Roberts comes across as an Everyman, albeit one with a high level of economic understanding. One begins to suspect that the discipline of macroeconomics requires a certain amount of vigilence in order to stay on top of; and there is always more to be said about a particular facet of it and better understandings to be reached, even for someone with a PhD in the subject. Economics and political freedom are closely related; a more thorough understanding of the topic might also be considered a civic duty, and Roberts does a fine job of making a complex topic accesible and fun. Thank you!

Among the best podcasts

This is an extraordinary podcast. Let's list its qualities: 1. It's designed as an ECONOMICS PODCAST. Otherwise stated, it's not a crappy recording of an otherwise interesting economic seminar, nor is it a nice production made of superficial opinions passing for economic or social thinking. 2. Russ Roberts is a great interviewer. He listens most of the time, and asks very insightful questions. He is respectful but not unctuous (like, say, a Charlie Rose). He is opinionated (he's clearly libertarian and pro-markets), but never partisan or confrontational. He is a subject matter expert, and is not afraid to venture in more advanced topics. 3. The list of guests is astonishing. You get Nobel prizes (Friedman, Lucas), Ivy League academics (Ayers, Frank, McCraw) and best-selling thinkers (Taleb). The conversations are ranging from interesting to sparkling. In my view, this is the best academic-led podcast available (followed by "Entitled Opinions", which is now dormant). My gripes are few. It could benefit from being conducted in person or better voice quality; and maybe a three-person conversation could also be worth exploring. Otherwise, it's perfect.

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  • Category: Higher Education
  • Language: English

Customer Ratings