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economics

Alan Blinder — A Monetary and Fiscal History of the United States

Shermer and Blinder discuss: serving on Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers • being the Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve Board • What kind of science is economics? • how one’s political leanings influence cause-and-effect economic theories • the difference between monetary and fiscal policy • a Keynesian approach to economics • inflation, stagflation, recessions, depressions, Bull and Bear markets defined • interest rates • the Federal Reserve • the money supply • What makes money valuable without the gold standard? • COVID relief • deficit spending • boom-and-bust cycles • employment: what’s the right percentage? • income tax: what’s the right percentage? • the best investments to make in the long run • modern monetary theory, and • utility maximizing.

Saleem Ali — Earthly Order: How Natural Laws Define Human Life

Shermer and Ali discuss: • the search for structure in nature • order and randomness • economic laws • natural laws • natural orders: molecular, quantum, crystals, carbonic, nuclear, magnetic • hydrological, organismic, Gaia and Medea • reductionism and holism • Islamic economics • the origin of wealth • Is there an optimal economic order? • how mining rights work in the U.S. and elsewhere • the voter’s paradox • Pareto optimality and why we can’t achieve it • resource nationalism • the resource curse • why India and Pakistan have not used their nukes on each other • social orders • population and sustainability: neo-Malthusianism • How many people can the Earth hold? • why we need nuclear power for sustainability • internationalism and globalism • Trekonomics.

Marian Tupy & Gale Pooley — Superabundance: The Story of Population Growth, Innovation, and Human Flourishing on an Infinitely Bountiful Planet

Shermer, Tupy, and Pooley discuss: why we long for the “good ol’ days” • the Malthusian trap • Ehrlich’s predictions on overpopulation • the birth dearth • the Simon Abundance Index • compound interest • What does it mean for the economy to grow 2–3% a year? • accumulating wealth • what poorer countries need to do to become richer countries • running out of fossil fuels • Obama’s “you didn’t build that” speech • inflation • electric vehicles • How many people can the Earth sustain? • post-scarcity trekonomics • the future of religion and other social institutions in a superabundant world.

Kevin McCaffree — How Societies Change and Why 

Since the dawn of social science, theorists have debated how and why societies appear to change, develop and evolve. Shermer speaks with sociologist Kevin McCaffree about: his research on crime and gun violence • diversity, equity, and inclusion • political polarization •cultural and biological evolution • horizontal/equalitarian vs. vertical/hierarchical societies • human selfishness and the problem of altruism, and what the future holds for humanity and society…

Moshe Hoffman and Erez Yoeli on the Surprising Power of Game Theory to Explain Irrational Human Behavior

Moshe Hoffman is a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology whose research focuses on using game theory and models of learning. Erez Yoeli is a research scientist at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, whose research focuses on altruism: understanding how it works and how to promote it.

Jennifer Sciubba on Putin, Russia, Ukraine, National & Global Security, and How Population Demographics Shape Our Future

Michael Shermer speaks with political demographer, former demographics consultant to the United States Department of Defense, and author of The Future Faces of War, Jennifer Sciubba, about her new 8 Billion and Counting.

John Mueller on Putin’s War: Russia, Ukraine, and NATO

Shermer speaks with renowned Ohio State University political scientist John Mueller about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and what we might expect from Putin’s Russia in the coming weeks, months, and years, along with Dr. Mueller’s outline for how to end the current conflict and compromise with Putin.

Putin’s War—Russia, Ukraine, and NATO

Political scientist and war historian John Mueller argues that Putin’s war in Ukraine could have been avoided and can still be stopped through compromise since NATO was not going to accept Ukraine as a member for decades anyway, and Crimea will be returned to Ukraine about the time Texas is returned to Mexico.

eSkeptic for March 8, 2022

Shermer speaks with renowned Ohio State University political scientist John Mueller, author of The Stupidity of War, about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and what we might expect from Putin’s Russia in the coming weeks, months, and years, along with Dr. Mueller’s outline for how to end the current conflict and compromise with Putin.

William Nordhaus on the Economics of Global Warming, Pandemics, and Corporate Malfeasance

In episode 186 of Michael Shermer’s podcast, Michael speaks with Nobel Prize-winning pioneer in environmental economics, Dr. Nordhaus, about his book The Spirit of Green: The Economics of Collisions and Contagions in a Crowded World in which he explains how and why “green thinking” could cure many of the world’s most serious problems — from global warming to pandemics.

eSkeptic for June 2, 2021

In episode 186 of Michael Shermer’s podcast, Michael speaks with Nobel Prize-winning pioneer in environmental economics, Dr. Nordhaus, about his book The Spirit of Green: The Economics of Collisions and Contagions in a Crowded World in which he explains how and why “green thinking” could cure many of the world’s most serious problems — from global warming to pandemics.

Benjamin Friedman — Religion and the Rise of Capitalism

In episode 162 of The Michael Shermer Show, Michael speaks with one of the nation’s preeminent experts on economic policy, Benjamin Friedman, about his new book Religion and the Rise of Capitalism — a major reassessment of the foundations of modern economic thinking that explores the profound influence of an until-now unrecognized force — religion.

eSkeptic for March 6, 2021

In episode 162 of The Michael Shermer Show, Michael speaks with one of the nation’s preeminent experts on economic policy, Benjamin Friedman, about his new book Religion and the Rise of Capitalism — a major reassessment of the foundations of modern economic thinking that explores the profound influence of an until-now unrecognized force — religion. PLUS: The Skeptic Research Center asks “Why Are People Misinformed About Fatal Police Shootings?” and Michael Shermer review Science and the Good: The Tragic Quest for the Foundations of Morality.

eSkeptic for January 1, 2021

From our Distinguished Science Lecture Series Archives from February 2010, we present Jared Diamond, author of the Pulitzer-prize winning Guns, Germs, and Steel and the bestselling work in environmental history Collapse, revealing for the first time his methodology in the applied use of natural experiments and the comparative method.

Nicholas Christakis — Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live

Shermer and Christakis discuss: the replication crisis in social science and medicine • determining causality: how we know smoking causes cancer and HIV causes AIDS, but vaccines do not cause autism and cell phones do not cause cancer • randomized controlled trials and why they can’t be done to answer many medical questions • natural experiments and the comparative method of testing hypotheses (e.g., comparing different countries differing responses to Covid-19) • the hindsight bias and the curse of knowledge in judging responses to pandemics after the fact, and more…

Walter Scheidel — Escape from Rome: The Failure of Empire and the Road to Prosperity

In Science Salon # 122 Michael Shermer speaks with Walter Scheidel as he recounts the gripping story of how the end of the Roman Empire was the beginning of the modern world.

David Leiser — How We Misunderstand Economics and Why it Matters

In Science Salon # 94 Michael Shermer speaks with David Leiser about his new book: How We Misunderstand Economics and Why it Matters, diving into the mismatch between the complexities of economics and the constraints of human cognition that lie at the root of our misconceptions.

eSkeptic for December 10, 2019

In Science Salon # 94 Michael Shermer speaks with David Leiser about his new book: How We Misunderstand Economics and Why it Matters, diving into the mismatch between the complexities of economics and the constraints of human cognition that lie at the root of our misconceptions.

The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization’s Northern Future

In a stunning visual presentation, UCLA Professor of Geography and Earth and Space Sciences, Dr. Laurence Smith, forecasts what our planet will be like in the year 2050, distilling his 15 months of research traveling the Arctic Rim with cutting-edge research into four global forces: demographic trends, natural resource demand, climate change, and globalization.

10-09-29

In this week’s eSkeptic, Frank Miele interviews ecologist and social activist Garrett Hardin about his views on the economy, abortion, overpopulation and assisted suicide. This article appeared in Skeptic magazine volume 4, number 2 in 1996.

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