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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  1. RS711 Listener

    The guest has the typical liberal approach which is to say the 1% has gotten all the benefits in America and everyone else has gotten worse. I think James should have nailed him on the “growth” differences that he uses to support the idea that France has better economic policy than the US. Overall, the US started at such a high place than France due to WWII and its outright embrace of Socialism that slightly better growth in France over the past few years (not sure his timeline) means absolutely nothing.

    • #1
    • September 13, 2019, at 10:57 AM PDT
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  2. Kevin Member

    After I started laughing when he said we have spent less on education in the US it was hard to get back on track.

    A quick summary of this podcast: keynesian when in control stifled the economy, free market consensus in control brought untold wealth but not to everyone so lets go back to stifling the economy. Of course the fact that current inequality data is hotly debated because if often arises in the context of other household structural changes, and the link to problems is co-linear with poverty and so cannot be separated from this.

    No mention of the Great Society, welfare, giant and growing government.

    Finally – there is no populist outcry for new economic policies (but such as they are, are aimed at achieving the guests ends), Trump was in response to a terrible democratic candidate and being willing to be serious about immigration. I bet trade with China barely resonated.

    France comparison is silly as mentioned above, but also their PPI is terrible compared to ours. So they are still much poorer than the average person in the US.

    The guest talks about regulated industries going too far by producing bad outcomes (airlines) but fails to mention the incredible ways they are still regulated. I got the feeling what he really wanted was the old days when elites like himself could fly free of the plebs alone in the sky – before that evil deregulation made it affordable for average Americans.

    • #2
    • September 18, 2019, at 11:19 AM PDT
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