In an era of nationalism in American politics, can globalists still make an effective case? What do international institutions like the UN and EU even do for America in the first place? And why is it worth preserving them — besides the fact that we set many of them up in the first place? AEI’s Dalibor Rohac joins the podcast to answer these questions and more.

Dalibor is a Resident Scholar at AEI, where he studies European political and economic trends. He is concurrently a visiting junior fellow at the Max Beloff Centre for the Study of Liberty at the University of Buckingham in the UK and a fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs in London. Most recently, he is the author of In Defense of Globalism.

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What caused living standards to dramatically rise in the nineteenth century, after thousands of years of stagnant poverty? And is the world on track to continue this wealth explosion, or are we abandoning course in the name of stability? On this episode, Dr. Stephen Davies joins me to explore these questions.

Stephen Davies is the Head of Education at the Institute of Economic Affairs in London, and was previously a program officer at George Mason University’s Institute for Humane Studies. He has also been a lecturer and a scholar at Manchester Metropolitan University and at Ohio’s Bowling Green State University, where he taught both economic history and social philosophy. He is the author of 2003’s Empiricism and History, as well as the recently released The Wealth Explosion: The Nature and Origins of Modernity.

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What would an actual open borders regime look like? How would it affect those already living in the United States? And why is the case for open borders stronger than the case for restrictionism, or at least the prioritization of high-skill immigrants? Bryan Caplan explores these questions in his most recent book: a work of graphic non-fiction co-produced with illustrator Zach Weinersmith, Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration.

Bryan Caplan is a professor of economics at George Mason University and a regular blogger at EconLog. He’s also the author of three previous books: The Case Against Education, Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids, and The Myth of the Rational Voter.

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Why do innovative businesses tend to “cluster” together in tech hubs like Silicon Valley? Why do these companies stay in these expensive cities when they could go to another city with significantly cheaper costs? Can these tech hubs be better governed? And how might other cities catch up? To explore these questions, I am delighted to speak with Enrico Moretti.

Enrico Moretti is the Michael Peevey and Donald Vial Professor of Economics at Berkeley. He is also an associate with NBER and a Fellow for the Centre of Economic Policy Research and the Institute for the Study of Labor. And he is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Economic Perspectives. His 2012 book, The New Geography of Jobs, brought to light much of the data showing that high-tech industries tend to cluster together in small areas, and he has repeatedly returned to this subject in his academic work since then, including in his new paper, “The Effect of High-Tech Clusters on the Productivity of Top Inventors.”

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Examining the impact of innovation on the economy is no simple task. After all, technology eliminates people’s jobs in the short term, but it also creates new, better jobs in the long term. Technology also boosts economic productivity, but many fear that such gains will not be fairly distributed in a coming age, as many pessimists envision a future economy composed of venture capitalists and their butlers.

Will the rise of robots and artificial intelligence deliver
a prosperous economy? And what policies should we adopt to ensure that all
Americans are included in this prosperity? On this episode, Carl Benedikt Frey
discusses the impacts of technological progress on the economy, past and
present.

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What is an “intangible asset,” and why are we investing so much in them? How are these so-called intangibles reshaping our economy, as well as our fundamental approach to economic concerns? Joining me today to answer these questions is Stian Westlake, the co-author of Capitalism without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy. Stian is also the co-author of an important economic plan for the UK, entitled Reviving Economic Thinking on the Right, which we discuss as well.

Stian is a Senior Fellow at the UK’s national foundation for innovation, Nesta. He was also a policy adviser to the UK Minister of Science, Research, and Innovation. An Oxford and Harvard graduate, he is also the founder of Healthy Incentives, an enterprise focusing on healthcare initiatives.

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In a time of populist upheaval, classical liberalism has come under fire from many directions. Many are concerned that it is based off of exploitation and promotes inequality. Others focus on those made worse off by creative destruction, or they fear the competition posed by an ascendant China.

Deirdre McCloskey disagrees with liberalism’s critics. She argues that poverty and tyranny are the two biggest problems that face mankind. Classical liberalism is the only philosophy that sustainably combats both of them. She credits the rise of liberal ideas with starting what she calls the “Great Enrichment.” This enrichment dramatically increased the living standards and personal liberties of even the poorest among us. That enrichment led Britain, and then America, and then the West more broadly, to unprecedented prosperity. This prosperity continues today, and has even been lifting inhabitants of Asian and African countries out of extreme poverty. This is the case that Dr. McCloskey makes in her new book, Why Liberalism Works: How True Liberal Values Produce a Freer, More Equal, Prosperous World for All.

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What have been the economic costs of the trade conflict between America and China? Who has borne these costs? How will the struggle end? And how acceptable was the status quo before President Trump initiated this trade war? To unpack these questions, I’m delighted to be joined by Scott Lincicome.

Scott Lincicome is an international trade attorney with experience in trade litigation before the Department of Commerce, the US International Trade Commission, the US Court of International Trade, the European Commission and the World Trade Organization’s Dispute Settlement Body. He has also advised private sector clients on multilateral trade deals and policies. Scott is a Visiting Lecturer at Duke University as well as an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute where he researches trade policy.

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Are the tradeoffs between economic and environmental policies really a zero-sum game? How concerned should we be about the rate at which we burn through natural resources? Can societies manage to perform the delicate balancing-act of preserving the planet while continuing to grow economically? Today, Andrew McAfee is on the podcast to talk about these issues — addressed in his new book, More from Less: The Surprising Story of How We Learned to Prosper Using Fewer Resources ― and What Happens Next.

Andrew McAfee is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy and a Principal Research Scientist at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He studies how digital technologies are changing the world. He has also written The Second Machine Age and Machine, Platform, Crowd.

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Do too few people own too much of America’s wealth? Should we even think about wealth or income inequality as a problem? And if so, what policies would be most effective at combating these issues? Returning to the podcast to explore these questions, and more, is Michael Strain.

Michael R. Strain is the John G. Searle Scholar and director of economic policy studies here at AEI. Previously, he worked in the Center for Economic Studies at the US Census Bureau and in the macroeconomics research group at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He is a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, and his essays and op-eds have been published by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, National Review, and The Weekly Standard.

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Our technological progress in the modern world seems so reliant on developments in Silicon Valley. It begs the question: How did all of that economic power even develop? What was so special about this place — just another agricultural valley in California — after World War II? And do the motivations of those early entrepreneurs still align with the interests of Silicon Valley’s current tech giants? To explore these developments in Silicon Valley, I’ve invited Margaret O’Mara, the author of The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America, onto the podcast.

Margaret O’Mara is a historian at the University of Washington. She writes and teaches about modern America, the history of the technology industry, American politics, and the connections between the two. She is an expert on the history of Silicon Valley as well as the presidency in the US. She is also a contributing opinion writer at The New York Times.

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Space has become a $400 billion per year business; where does all that money even come from? If space exploration has to privatize in order to stay alive, what will the market demand for this technology look like? And as private sector innovation makes the Final Frontier look more and more like Earth’s suburban backyard, could we be overthinking the economic difficulties of space exploration? Matt Weinzierl joins me today to answer these questions.

Matt Weinzierl is the Joseph and Jacqueline Elbling Professor of Business Administration in the Business, Government, and the International Economy Unit at Harvard Business School and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His research focuses on the optimal design of economic policy, in particular taxation, with an emphasis on better understanding the philosophical principles underlying policy choices. Recently, he has launched a set of research projects focused on the commercialization of the space sector and its economic implications.

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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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