Matt Ridley and The Evolution of Everything

The Seen and the Unseen | 26 November 2018 | 1h 16m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Interview with Matt Ridley. Seamlessly links together the key ideas in The Evolution of Everything, which makes the case for the bottom-up emergence of order where we typically perceive a top-down process.
This distils the thinking of the author who has most changed my understanding of how the world works. Be prepared to listen at a slower speed. It’s worth it.

The Fall of Rome, and the End of Civilization

Context with Brad Harris | 12 December 2018 | 0h 53m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Interview with Bryan Ward-Perkins, author of The Fall of Rome: And the End of Civilization. Interesting discussion of the evidence from pottery, coinage, livestock size and pollution that living standards collapsed with the fall of Rome and the consequent loss of economic and social complexity.

Is the Protestant Work Ethic Real?

Freakonomics Radio | 6 July 2018 | 0h 40m | Listen Later  | iTunes
In the early 20th century, Max Weber argued that Protestantism created wealth. Finally, there are data to appraise whether he was right. All it took were some missionary experiments in the Philippines and a clever map-matching trick that goes back to 16th-century Germany.

Housing Affordability: Top-Down Design and Spontaneous Order

The Success Project – Development Research Institute | 12 January 2016 | 0h 26m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Interview with Alain Bertaud discussing how solutions to creating more affordable housing can arise spontaneously and independent of top-down government planning. Sets out what cities that rely less on planning teach us about the right role for government in improving housing affordability and development overall.

James Robinson on Why Nations Fail

Social Science Bites | 3 December 2018 | 0h 18m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Interview with James Robinson, co-author of Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty. Considers and refutes traditional explanations for the inequality between rich and poor countries. Makes the case for inclusive institutions being critical to creating economic success.

Should America Be Run by … Trader Joe’s?

Freakonomics Radio | 29 November 2018 | 0h 47m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Examines the role of choice architecture, efficiency, frugality, collaboration, and culture in Trader Joe’s success. Debunks standard marketing fluff: brands, advertising, social media, coupons and loyalty schemes.

Caste in Modern India

The Seen and the Unseen | 22 January 2018 | 1h 10m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Interview with Shruti Rajagopalan, who applies an economist’s perspective to understanding the persistence of caste in India. Frames caste as a problem of economic freedom, perpetuated by a cultural focus on villages, ameliorated by faster urbanisation.

Scientific Culture and the Making of the Industrial West

Context with Brad Harris | 10 July 2018 | 0h 32m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Review of Scientific Culture and the Making of the Industrial West, by Margaret Jacob. Explains how scientific knowledge became integrated into the culture of Europe through the 1600s and 1700s, and how the different social and political conditions of different European countries influenced the application of science to material prosperity. Insight on why Britain’s distinctive approach to the utility of science enabled it to industrialize generations earlier than any other country.