Patricia Fara on Newton, Scientific Progress, and the Benefits of Unhistoric Acts

Conversations with Tyler | 24 February 2021 | 0h 57m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Patricia Fara about her book Life After Gravity: Isaac Newton’s London Career. Discusses why Newton left Cambridge to run The Royal Mint, why he was so productive during the Great Plague, why the “Scientific Revolution” should be understood as a gradual process, what the Antikythera device tells us about science in the ancient world, the influence of Erasmus Darwin on his grandson, sex-segregated schooling, the reasons she considers Madame Lavoisier to be the greatest female science illustrator, and more.

Benjamin Friedman on the Origins of Economic Belief

Conversations with Tyler | 27 January 2021 | 1h 07m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Benjamin Friedman about ideas from his book Religion and the Rise of Capitalism. Argues that contrary to the popular belief that Western economic ideas are a secular product of the Enlightenment, instead they are the result of hotly debated theological questions within the English-speaking Protestant world of thinkers like Adam Smith and David Hume. Discusses the connection between religious belief and support for markets, what drives varying cultural commitments to capitalism, why the rate of growth is key to sustaining liberal values, why Paul Volcker is underrated, why annuities don’t work better, America’s debt and fiscal sustainability, his critiques of nominal GDP targeting, why he wouldn’t change the governance of the Fed, how he maintains his motivation to keep learning, and more.

Noubar Afeyan on the Permission to Leap

Conversations with Tyler | 13 January 2021 | 0h 55m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Noubar Afeyan, co-founder of Moderna and CEO of Flagship Pioneering. Discusses teaching entrepreneurship; predictions on the future of gene editing and CRISPR technology; why the pharmaceutical field can’t be winner takes all; why “basic research” is a poor term; the secret to Boston’s culture of innovation; the potential of plant biotech; the role of systematic processes that include embracing unreasonable propositions and even unreasonable people in exceptional achievement; why Montreal is (still) a special place to him; how his classical pianist mother influenced his musical tastes; his discussion-based approach to ethical dilemmas; how thinking future-backward shapes his approach to business and philanthropy; the blessing and curse of Lebanese optimism; the importance of creating a culture where people can say things that are wrong; what we can all learn by being an American by choice, and more.

Zach Carter on the Life and Legacy of John Maynard Keynes

Conversations with Tyler | 2 December 2020 | 0h 54m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Zach Carter about his book The Price of Peace: Money, Democracy, and the Life of John Maynard Keynes. Discusses the Treaty of Versailles, how working in the India Office influenced Keynes’ economic thinking, the seemingly strange paradox of his “liberal imperialism,” the elusive central message of The General Theory, the true extent of Keynes’ interest in eugenics, why he had a conservative streak, whether Bretton Woods was doomed to fail, the Enlightenment intuitions behind early defences of the gold standard, and more.

Matt Yglesias on Why the Population is Too Damn Low

Conversations with Tyler | 9 September 2020 | 1h 06m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Matt Yglesias about his book One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger. Discusses why it’s easier to grow Tokyo than New York City, the governance issues of increasing urban populations, pro-immigration arguments, how to respond to declining fertility rates, the benefits of religiosity, marriage incentives, what larger families would mean for feminism, whether the YIMBY movement will be weakened by COVID-19, how New York City will bounce back, how to attract more competent people to state and local governments, and more.

Jason Furman on Productivity, Competition and Growth

Conversations with Tyler | 26 August 2020 | 1h 01m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Jason Furman discussing how monopolies affect investment patterns, his top three recommendations to improve American productivity, why he’s skeptical of place-based development policies, what some pro-immigration arguments get wrong, why he’s more concerned about companies like Facebook and Google than he is Walmart and Amazon, the merits of a human rights approach to privacy, whether the EU treats tech companies fairly, the future of fintech, his highest objective when teaching economics, what he learned from coauthoring a paper with someone who disagrees with him, why he’s a prolific Goodreads reviewer, and more. Insightful throughout.

Nicholas Bloom on Management, Productivity, and Scientific Progress

Conversations with Tyler | 12 August 2020 | 1h 03m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Nick Bloom about how management practices, productivity techniques, and uncertainty shape outcomes across companies and countries. Discusses scientific progress, the factors that have made research more expensive, why government should invest more in R&D, how lean management transformed manufacturing, how India’s congested legal system inhibits economic development, why firms thrive in China, how weak legal systems incentivize nepotism, the effect of remote work on productivity, why he prefers periodicals and podcasts to reading books, and more.

Nathan Nunn on the Paths to Development

Conversations with Tyler | 29 July 2020 | 1h 01m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Nathan Nunn about the forces that shape the development paths of nations. Includes why so many Africans live in harder to settle areas, Chinese development in East Africa, genetic distance as a predictor of bilateral income differences and trade, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Canada, economic graduate programs, how the plough shaped gender roles, and the cultural values behind South Korea’s success.