In our populist moment, do economists still have a place in policy debates? Did Milton Friedman’s solutions to the 1970’s economic problems create modern inequality? Who have markets helped, and who have they hurt? And should our politicians scrap economic narratives in order to create a more equitable world? Here to consider these questions is Binyamin Appelbaum, the author of the newly released The Economists’ Hour: False Prophets, Free Markets, and the Fracture of Society.

Binyamin Appelbaum is a member of The New York Times editorial board, and previously served for nine years as a Washington correspondent for The Times, where he covered the Federal Reserve and other aspects of economic policy. He is a recipient of both the Polk Award and the Loeb Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in public service. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he previously worked for newspapers in Jacksonville, Fla., Charlotte, N.C., Boston and Washington.

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Will the United Kingdom crash out of the European Union without a deal? When will the Chinese trade war end? And how will the global – and US – economy be affected by these developments. Today, returning guest Desmond Lachman joins me to explore these questions.

Desmond Lachman is a resident fellow at AEI, where he studies the global macroeconomy and multilateral lending agencies. He has previously served as a managing director and chief emerging market economic strategist at Salomon Smith Barney and as deputy director in the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Policy Development and Review Department. He has written extensively on the global economic crisis, the U.S. housing market bust, the U.S. dollar, and the strains in the euro area.

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How did the ancient Greeks think about technology? Were they techno-optimists or pessimists? How do their myths – of Pandora, Odysseus, Talos, and Icarus – parallel to the technological possibilities that we’ve uncovered in the present? And what can we learn from these narratives? In this episode, I explore these questions and more with Dr. Adrienne Mayor, the author of Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology.

Adrienne Mayor is a folklorist and historian of ancient science who investigates natural knowledge contained in pre-scientific myths and oral traditions. She is the Berggruen Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, and her research looks at ancient “folk science” precursors, alternatives, and parallels to modern scientific methods.

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How have the Trump tax cuts affected America’s economy, or do we even know yet? Have they stimulated investment as promised? More broadly, what solutions are at our disposal to fix the deficits these cuts have generated? What are we to make of proposals to repeal the Cadillac tax or index the capital gains tax to inflation? And which tax policies will the left and the right pursue next? On this episode, twice-returning guest Alan Viard of AEI joins me to explore these questions.

Alan Viard is a resident scholar here at AEI, where he researches federal tax and budget policy. He earned his PhD in economics from Harvard University, has worked as a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and was a senior economist at the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers.

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Are large tech firms like Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook unassailable monopolies? Is there anything new about the way these companies try and maintain their market dominance? And have antitrust activists ever successfully predicted which big businesses will be forever companies? On this episode, Cato’s Ryan Bourne discusses his recent paper, “Is This Time Different? Schumpeter, the Tech Giants, and Monopoly Fatalism.”

Ryan Bourne occupies the R. Evan Scharf Chair for the Public Understanding of Economics at the Cato Institute. Before joining Cato, Ryan was the Head of Public Policy at the Institute of Economic Affairs and Head of Economic Research at the Centre for Policy Studies in the UK.

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In October 2017, astronomers in Hawaii detected something that astronomers had never detected before: an interstellar object passing through our Solar System. Something from out there — really out there — was zipping through our planetary neighborhood at nearly 200,000 miles per hour. Scientists at the University of Hawaii dubbed it “Oumuamua” — Hawaiian for scout. But what was this unexpected and oddly-shaped guest? It was briefly classified as an asteroid until new measurements found it accelerating slightly, a sign that it was behaving more like a comet. But maybe ‘Oumuamua was something else entirely. In a co-authored paper last year, Avi Loeb, a theoretical physicist and the chair of Harvard University’s astronomy department, theorized that ‘Oumuamua is “of artificial origin,” perhaps “a lightsail floating in interstellar space as a debris from advanced technological equipment. … Alternatively, a more exotic scenario is that ‘Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization.”

In addition to his aforementioned mentioned academic duties, Professor Loeb is the founding director of Harvard’s Black Hole Initiative and chairs the advisory committee of the Breakthrough Foundation’s Starshot Initiative. In 2012, Time Magazine selected Professor Loeb as one of the 25 most influential people in space. He is here today to discuss his recent work on federal leadership in science and technology innovation, how to think about the future of space exploration, and of course ‘Oumuamua.

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Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act states “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” For more than 20 years, since the birth of the internet age as we know it, Section 230 has provided websites with immunity from liability for what their users post. Today, Section 230 is under fire from politicians on the left and the right who think those 26 words are insufficient in an age of Big Tech where we live much of our lives online. On this episode, cybersecurity professor Jeff Kosseff discusses his new book “The Twenty-Six Words that Created the Internet” about the past, present, and future of Section 230.

Jeff Kosseff is an assistant professor of cybersecurity law at the United States Naval Academy. Before becoming a lawyer, he was a technology and political journalist for The Oregonian and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in national reporting.

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Does America need venture capital to achieve high rates of economic growth? How can budding start-ups get it? And what do the big tech firms of the future look like to investors today? On this episode, Andreessen Horowitz’s Scott Kupor discusses his new book “Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It.”

Scott Kupor is managing partner at the Silicon Valley based venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. He also teaches courses on venture capital and corporate governance at Stanford Law School and the Haas School of Business at UC Berkley.

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What does Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal get wrong about lowering carbon emissions? What is ecomodernism? And how can nuclear power play a roll in our high energy future? On this episode, the Breakthrough Institute’s Alex Trembath discusses how we can achieve a high-growth, high-energy future with a smaller carbon footprint.

Alex Trembath is the Deputy Director of the Breakthrough Institute, where he helps coordinate Breakthrough’s research on technological solutions to environmental and human development challenges. You can download the episode by clicking the link above, and don’t forget to subscribe to my podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. Tell your friends, leave a review.

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Is the US falling behind China and the world in innovation and technology? Why doesn’t America expand public funding for scientific research? And what stops the government and private sector from investing in ideas that could eventually be worth billions? On this episode, economics professor Jonathan Gruber discusses his new book “Jump-Starting America: How Breakthrough Science Can Revive Economic Growth and the American Dream.”

Jonathan Gruber is the Ford Professor of Economics at MIT. Jonathan has long been involved in crafting public health policy, and is considered a key architect of both Romneycare and Obamacare.

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Why do we love to hate big business? Are American corporations monopolistic? Are CEOs overpaid? And is Big Tech really a threat to our democracy? On this episode, economics professor Tyler Cowen discusses his new book “Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero.”

Tyler Cowen is the Holbert L. Harris Chair of Economics at George Mason University and the faculty director of GMU’s Mercatus Center. He is also the coauthor of the wildly popular economics blog Marginal Revolution. You can download the episode by clicking the link above, and don’t forget to subscribe to my podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. Tell your friends, leave a review.

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What is a ‘loonshot’? Why are they so often dismissed? And how can teams, companies, and governments nurture more of these great ideas? On this episode, author and biotechnology entrepreneur Safi Bahcall discusses his new book “Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries.”

After working as a consultant for McKinsey, Safi Bahcall co-founded the biotechnology company Synta Pharmaceuticals, serving as its CEO for 13 years. In 2011 he worked with the President Obama’s Council of Science Advisors on how to transform the future of US science and technology research.

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Should we be so pessimistic about the role of technology in our lives? Has 5G been overhyped? And when will autonomous cars be a reality for consumers? On this episode, Andreessen Horowitz’s Benedict Evans discusses why we respond the way we do to technological change and where the tech industry is taking us next.

Benedict Evans is a partner at the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (‘a16z’) and also runs a popular email newsletter.

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Does allowing Huawei to build Europe’s 5G network pose a threat to international security? And to what lengths should the US go to help Huawei’s European competitors? On this episode, AEI’s Claude Barfield discusses the race to build the world’s 5G backbone and how the Trump administration should police Chinese intellectual property theft.

Claude Barfield is a resident scholar at AEI and a former consultant to the office of the US Trade Representative. He has written extensively about 5G, China, and Huawei.

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Will artificial intelligence (AI) lead to a jobless economy? Can AI stimulate lasting economic growth? Is anti-competitive behavior by big tech slowing the rate of AI innovation? On this episode, Professor Robert Seamans discusses AI’s impact on the economy, how it will change the nature of work, and whether regulation is needed to keep the AI industry competitive.

Robert Seamans is an associate professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business and a former Senior Economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisors. Most recently, he coauthored the chapter “AI and the Economy” with Jason Furman.

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Has Big Tech become a barrier to innovation? Who owns the data you generate while surfing the web? And should you get paid when a company uses that data for targeted ads? On this episode, Neil Chilson discusses the economics of privacy, the complexities of content moderation, and whether Big Tech has become anticompetitive.

Neil Chilson is a former Federal Trade Commission (FTC) acting Chief Technologist and a current senior research fellow for technology and innovation at the Charles Koch Institute. Prior to joining the FTC, Chilson practiced telecommunications law at Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP.

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Ever since the new Democratic majority was seated in the House and the 2020 Democratic presidential primary got underway, numerous proposals have emerged to increase taxes on America’s wealthiest. But is a two percent tax on wealth over $50 million as small as it sounds? And what are the disincentive effects of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s 70% top tax rate? On this episode, AEI’s Alan Viard walks us through how to think about some of the new tax policy proposals emerging out the Democratic presidential primary race.

Alan Viard is a resident scholar here at AEI, where he researches federal tax and budget policy. He earned his PhD in economics from Harvard University, has worked as a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and was a senior economist at the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers.

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On this episode, podcaster and serial entrepreneur Brian McCullough discusses the rise of the early internet companies, the dot-com bubble, and whether today’s Big Tech companies poses a threat to Silicon Valley’s tradition of innovation.

Brian McCullough is the host of the daily tech news podcast Techmeme Ride Home, as well as the Internet History Podcast. He’s also the founder of WhereAreTheJobs.com, WhoToTalkTo.com, and ResumeWriters.com. His latest book is “How the Internet Happened: From Netscape to the iPhone.”

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Byron Reese, author of the new book “The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity,” organizes human history so far by framing it around three main inventions. We entered the first age when we learned to harness fire and language, the second when we mastered agriculture, and the third came with the invention of writing and the wheel. Now we are on the verge of a fourth age, thanks to developments in artificial intelligence, and to hear Reese tell it, this fourth age promises to be just as transformative as its predecessors.

Byron Reese is the CEO and publisher of the technology research company Gigaom, and the founder of several high-tech companies.

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For several years now, we have heard economic commentators proclaim the United States had reached “full employment.” And yet the economy just kept adding jobs and the unemployment rate kept falling.

One economist who has consistently opposed that prognosis is Adam Ozimek, and it appears he’s been vindicated. So I invited him on the show to talk unemployment, wage growth, and all things economic policy. We also cover the jobs guarantee proposal, inflation, and Dr. Ozimek’s one out-of-the-box idea to boost US economic growth.

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