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Political Economy with Jim Pethokoukis
54 minutes | a day ago
Tim Fernholz, Sara Seager, Stan Veuger, & Matt Weinzierl: The future of space exploration
After beating the Soviet Union in the race to the moon, America lost much of its drive to explore space for several decades. However, with the rise of private pioneers such as SpaceX and Blue Origin, this has begun to change. And as the US resumes its exploration of outer space, many questions have been raised. Can a private space economy be profitable? Do we have good reason to return to the moon and travel to Mars? And what new discoveries await us that we have yet to predict? I discussed these questions and many more in a recent AEI online panel discussion, which I now present in podcast form.Tim Fernholz is a senior reporter at Quartz, and he is the author of the 2018 book, Rocket Billionaires: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and the New Space Race. Sara Seager is a professor of planetary science and physics at MIT, where she is known for her research on extrasolar planets. Stan Veuger is a resident scholar in economic policy studies at AEI, as well as a visiting lecturer of economics at Harvard University. And Matt Weinzierl is the Joseph and Jacqueline Elbling Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, where he has recently launched a set of research projects focused on the commercialization of the space sector and its economic implications.
26 minutes | 8 days ago
Leah Brooks: Why does US infrastructure cost so much?
Despite wide agreement that America’s infrastructure quality is relatively low, per-unit infrastructure costs are higher in the US today compared to the rest of the world and to America 50-60 years. Why is this? Are regulations and rent-seeking to blame? Could it reflect some kind of improvement in quality? Today’s guest, Leah Brooks, provides an in-depth exploration of this topic for today’s episode.Leah is an associate professor in the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at George Washington University, as well as the Director of the Center for Washington Area Studies. She is the co-author, along with Zachary Liscow, of the 2019 paper, “Infrastructure Costs.”
25 minutes | 15 days ago
Don Braben: The importance of scientific freedom
How can research institutions promote growth, other than simply spending more money on basic R&D? Today’s guest, Don Braben, argues that we need to promote scientific freedom by easing up on the strictures of peer review and the demands of obvious applicability. Only then can we enable scientists to generate more of the revolutionary discoveries that we took for granted in the twentieth century.Don Braben is an honorary professor and vice president of research at University College London. He’s the author of several books, including Scientific Freedom: The Elixir of Civilization, which was originally published in 2008 and was, in 2020, republished by Stripe Press. Don, welcome to the podcast.
21 minutes | 22 days ago
Korok Ray: How higher education can further contribute to innovation
America’s university system is the envy of the world, and a major reason for this is that this higher education system is crucial to our innovative capacity. So in today’s episode, Korok Ray explains how universities promote innovation and, more importantly, what they can do to boost their contribution to the US economy even further.Korok is an associate professor at the Mays Business School of Texas A&M University, and he is the director of the Mays Innovation Research Center. He is also the author of the recent National Affairs article, “The Innovative University.”
37 minutes | a month ago
Joshua D. Wright: The conservative case against weaponizing antitrust
America’s adoption of the consumer welfare standard since the late 1970s has led to the rise of innovative Big Tech companies like Google and Amazon. Other countries, particularly in Europe, would love to have massively successful tech firms of their own, but they’re constrained in part by their more restrictive antitrust doctrines. And yet, many conservatives have begun to sound like progressives on this topic, rejecting a more laissez-faire approach to antitrust out of concern that these tech companies have acquired too much power. So today’s episode explores the current state of US antitrust doctrine, as well as the resurgence of calls to reform it, with Joshua Wright.Josh is a law professor at George Mason University, as well as the executive director of the Global Antitrust Institute and a former member of the Federal Trade Commission. He is the co-author, along with Jan Rybnicek, of the recent National Affairs article, “A Time for Choosing: The Conservative Case Against Weaponizing Antitrust.”
29 minutes | a month ago
Darrell M. West: Policymaking in the era of artificial intelligence
With every year, artificial intelligence becomes increasingly advanced. Innovators are creating and refining applications for AI in industries ranging from health care to transportation. Many economists are optimistic about this developing technology, viewing it as a means of finally escaping the disappointing productivity growth of the past few decades. Other observers are concerned, anticipating massive job loss and disruption. So today’s interview with Darrell M. West explores the impending application of artificial intelligence in the economy, as well as the difficult public policy questions surrounding it.Darrell is the vice president and director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution, where he is also a senior fellow at the Center for Technology Innovation. He is the co-author, along with John Allen, of Turning Point: Policymaking in the Era of Artificial Intelligence.
28 minutes | a month ago
Michael Strain: Evaluating Biden's $1.9 trillion economic relief plan
When Joe Biden becomes the 46th president today, he will inherit an economy that continues to struggle under the weight of the COVID pandemic. In response, Biden has announced an ambitious early economic policy agenda to stimulate the economy, raise the national minimum wage, provide aid to state and local governments, and reopen schools. What should people make of these plans? Are they well suited to America’s challenges, or will they incur more consequences than they are worth? On today’s episode, I discuss and evaluate the details of Biden’s plan with Michael Strain.Michael Strain is the Arthur F. Burns Scholar in Political Economy and director of economic policy studies at AEI. He is also the author of The American Dream Is Not Dead: (But Populism Could Kill It), released in February of last year.
34 minutes | 2 months ago
Claude Barfield: Trade policy challenges for the Biden administration
The incoming Biden administration will inherit a trading landscape that has been shaped by President Trump’s protectionism. The key question is: How much continuity will there be between Trump and Biden’s trade policies? Moreover, how strong of a stance will we take against Chinese mercantilism in the next few years, and will other countries join us? I discussed these questions on today's episode with Claude Barfield.Claude is a resident scholar at AEI, where he studies international trade and technology policy. He is also a former consultant to the office of the US Trade Representative.
40 minutes | 2 months ago
Johan Norberg: The history and psychology of progress
Humans are both ‘traders’ and ‘tribalists’ by nature. We’re traders because we have exchanged knowledge and goods throughout history. Indeed, the story of human progress has been the story of humanity combining its skills and resources to become more prosperous than would have been possible on our own. But we’re also tribalists, because we evolved to form communities that then polarized themselves against outsiders. As a result, we often see questions of connection and collaboration in zero-sum terms even when such a perspective isn’t warranted. That is the argument put forward by today’s guest, Johan Norberg. Today’s episode discusses his concern that humanity’s tribalist nature is getting the better of us, making the future of the most open and prosperous society in human history increasingly precarious. Johan is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, where he focuses on globalization, entrepreneurship, and individual liberty. He is the author of several books, the most recent of which is Open: The Story of Human Progress — published in November of last year.
32 minutes | 2 months ago
Jeff Kosseff: Setting the record straight on Section 230
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act has come under a lot of fire recently. But what does the law actually say, and how would changing it affect the internet as we know it? I discuss these questions and more in today's interview with Jeff Kosseff.Jeff is an assistant professor of cybersecurity law in the US Naval Academy’s cyber science department. He is also the author of the 2019 book, The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet.
42 minutes | 2 months ago
Best of the year — Ronald D. Moore: The sci-fi optimism of ‘For All Mankind,’ ‘Battlestar Galactica,’ and ‘Star Trek’
Happy holidays! We’ll have a new episode next Wednesday, but today I wanted to re-share my favorite interview of 2020 with you all. I hope you enjoy it.Many Americans view our space program skeptically, wondering why we should bother spending money on it when we have so many problems to fix on Earth. Ever since the space race with the Soviet Union ended, the US lost much of its interest in continuing to explore space. But what if the space race didn’t end in 1969? What if the Soviet Union got to the moon first, and so America continued to push its space program to compete with the Soviets? That is the premise of the show “For All Mankind” on Apple TV+. It is co-created and co-written by today’s guest: renowned science fiction screenwriter and television producer Ronald D. Moore.Ron has worked on a wide variety of TV shows over the past few decades, including “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “Deep Space Nine,” and “Voyager.” He is also the creator of “Outlander” and, of course, he is the co-creator of 2004’s “Battlestar Galactica.”You can also check out the transcript of this podcast here.
27 minutes | 3 months ago
Nicolas Petit: Big Tech and the moligopoly scenario
There are many anti-Big Tech activists and politicians who want to heavily regulate or dismantle companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, and Facebook. They fear that these companies have become too big and too powerful, often even referring to these companies as ‘monopolies.’ But maybe this isn’t a fair characterization. Perhaps these Big Tech companies need to offer far more value to consumers than monopolies particularly do, because they are all in competition with each other. That is the argument put forward by today’s guest, Nicolas Petit.Nicolas is a professor of competition law at both the European University Institute and the College of Europe in Burges. He is the author of the recently released book, Big Tech and the Digital Economy: The Moligopoly Scenario.
36 minutes | 3 months ago
Amitabh Chandra: Can America improve its health care system?
Health care policy is difficult, featuring intractable trade-offs that make it nearly impossible to satisfy everyone. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that one of our two political parties has increasingly flirted with the utopian proposal of Medicare for All, with little understanding of how to enact it or what the unintended consequences might be. And the other party seems determined to avoid the topic of health care reform, at least publicly. But the state of our health care system matters — it’s an increasingly large part of our economy, and it is the source of crucial innovations. So I’m delighted to discuss it with Amitabh Chandra.Amitabh is the John H. Makin Visiting Scholar at AEI, where his work focuses on the economics of health care policy. In addition, he is a professor at both Harvard Business School and the director of health policy research at the Harvard Kennedy School, a member of the Congressional Budget Office’s Panel of Health Advisers, and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.
28 minutes | 3 months ago
Jim Tankersley: The riches of this land
Should Americans look back nostalgically on the economy of the 1950s and 1960s? If so, what lessons should policymakers learn from this time period, and how can they be applied to boost economic opportunity today? On today's episode, I'll be discussing these questions and more with Jim Tankersley.Jim is a tax and economics reporter for The New York Times, where he writes about the state of America’s middle class and the decline of economic opportunity across much of the US. Previously, Jim was the policy and politics editor at Vox and an economic policy correspondent for The Washington Post. He is the author of the recently released book, The Riches of This Land: The Untold, True Story of America's Middle Class.
41 minutes | 3 months ago
Michael Clemens: What have economists learned about immigration?
It seems like, not long ago, arguments against immigration focused almost entirely on illegal immigrants. And then it became, “Actually, we’re also concerned about low-skilled immigration.” And then that concern started applying to higher-skilled immigrants replacing American workers in more advanced positions. And now, it seems like some people just don’t want any immigrants — especially during this pandemic and maybe even after it’s over — because they’re stealing our secrets and taking college slots away from American students. But this perspective fails to recognize how much immigrants of all skill-levels contribute to America. I’ll be discussing these contributions — and the economics of immigration more broadly — with Michael Clemens.Michael is a senior fellow and the director of migration, displacement, and humanitarian policy at the Center for Global Development, where he studies the economic effects of migration around the world. He is also a research fellow at the IZA Institute of Labor Economics.
27 minutes | 3 months ago
Philip Coggan: How did the world get so rich?
Philip Coggan discusses the history of the world economy and explores its lessons for today's economic challenges, including the need for greater innovation, the rise of China, and the disruption inflicted by COVID. The post Philip Coggan: How did the world get so rich? appeared first on American Enterprise Institute - AEI.
42 minutes | 4 months ago
Mervyn King: How to handle radical uncertainty
Mervyn King explores how some uncertainty is unavoidable and how statistical forecasts can lead us astray if we're not careful. The post Mervyn King: How to handle radical uncertainty appeared first on American Enterprise Institute - AEI.
23 minutes | 4 months ago
Nate Morris: Entrepreneurial environmentalism
Nate Morris discusses his experience as the founder of Rubicon — an innovative waste management software company — as well as the relationship between environmentalism and markets. The post Nate Morris: Entrepreneurial environmentalism appeared first on American Enterprise Institute - AEI.
61 minutes | 4 months ago
Richard Reeves, Isabel Sawhill, & Michael Strain: A new contract with the middle class
Brookings's Richard Reeves and Isabel Sawhill discuss their new report, "A New Contract with the Middle Class," with AEI's Jim Pethokoukis and Michael Strain. The post Richard Reeves, Isabel Sawhill, & Michael Strain: A new contract with the middle class appeared first on American Enterprise Institute - AEI.
42 minutes | 4 months ago
Ronald D. Moore: The sci-fi optimism of ‘For All Mankind,’ ‘Battlestar Galactica,’ and ‘Star Trek’
Famed science fiction TV producer and writer Ronald D. Moore discusses his new show, For All Mankind, and explores the optimism found throughout his career's work. The post Ronald D. Moore: The sci-fi optimism of ‘For All Mankind,’ ‘Battlestar Galactica,’ and ‘Star Trek’ appeared first on American Enterprise Institute - AEI.
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