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    3. What Would the World Look Like if Economists Were in Charge?

    en-usMarch 24, 2010

    Podcast Summary

    • The Dilemma of Choosing Between Politicians, Lawyers, and EconomistsWhile politicians and lawyers have low favorability ratings, they still play important roles in government. Economists, often overlooked, offer objective solutions but may not always align with societal expectations. Consider the value of economists in decision-making.

      Americans have an extremely low opinion of politicians and lawyers, with less than 10% and 13% positive ratings respectively. However, politicians and lawyers still fill important government roles, with many US senators and high-ranking officials being lawyers. Economists, on the other hand, are rarely in the spotlight but are characterized by their candidness and data-driven approach. While their solutions may be rational, they may not always align with societal or moral expectations. Despite having valuable ideas, economists are often ignored. This raises the question of whether we should be putting the economists in charge instead of politicians.

    • The Influence of Milton Friedman on Estonia's Economic TransformationThe ideas of economists can have a positive impact on a country's economy, regardless of who implements them. Estonia's success with the flat tax and free-market principles can serve as a model for other countries striving for economic growth.

      Mart Laar, the former Prime Minister of Estonia who helped transform the country from a former Soviet satellite to a prosperous economy, attributes his success to the ideas of economist Milton Friedman. Although Laar was not an economist himself, he was influenced by Friedman's book Free to Choose and implemented many of his ideas, including the flat tax, which was met with skepticism but ultimately proved successful. Laar's decision to follow Friedman's ideas demonstrates the power and impact of good ideas, regardless of who implements them. By implementing free-market principles, Estonia was able to become a Baltic Tiger and serve as a model for other countries looking to promote economic growth and prosperity.

    • The Rise of Economists in Politics: A Radical IdeologyEconomists are gaining traction in politics and pushing for radical changes like legalizing drugs, prostitution and abolishing minimum wage. They believe in individual freedom and removing government control from people's lives.

      Economists, with their radical ideas, are slowly becoming popular. With more than 30 countries having elected officials with an economics background, it's time America dreamt big too. What if we gave the keys to the Oval Office to a real-life, practicing economist, full of good ideas? Economist Russ Roberts suggests abolishing minimum wage, legalizing all drugs and prostitution, and cutting the Department of Education. Roberts believes the government should not dictate what people do with their lives; they should have the freedom to make their own choices. Legalizing drugs and prostitution would free up millions, which are currently wasted trying to keep them out of people's hands.

    • The Truth About High-End Escort Services and Legalizing ProstitutionClients pay for companionship, not just sex acts and legalizing prostitution may lower prices but societal perception is a barrier for women. Economist Russ Roberts believes in changing the Federal Reserve for better outcomes.

      A former high-end call girl reveals that clients pay for companionship and relaxation, rather than crazy sex acts. Legalizing prostitution may result in lower prices and more competition, but the barriers to entry for women to get into the business are values and societal perception rather than costs. A nation run by economists would mean less government moral judgments, potentially leading to the end of values voters. Economist Russ Roberts would change the Federal Reserve, believing that finding the right interest rate is a fool's game that contributed to the current crisis.

    • The Role of Economists in Government and the Case for Businessmen-Led GovernanceEconomists advocate for less government involvement in the economy, with deregulation and federalism as key changes. Businessmen-led governance could lead to market competition and experiments with different types of societies.

      The interview discusses the role of economists in government, with the suggestion that businessmen should be in charge of government in order to allow market competition between different countries and societies. The interviewee believes that the government should be less involved in the economy, with deregulation and federalism being key changes that would occur. The discussion also mentions the influence of Milton Friedman on modern ideas and policies, with references to tax withholding, school vouchers, and a volunteer army. The interview highlights the potential benefits of experimentation with different types of societies, as with seasteading. Overall, the discussion suggests that economist-led government could result in significant changes to policy and regulation.

    • The Power of Incentives: Can They Be Beaten?While incentive schemes may not always work as expected, economists' ideas and concepts still hold valuable insight into human behavior and decision-making.

      The defenestration of economists in Washington is due to the unpopularity of economically sound ideas in a super-partisan government with no real competition. However, economists' favorite tool, the power of incentives, may not always work as expected, as seen in the cautionary tale of Steve Levitt and his daughter. This raises the question of whether incentive schemes proposed by economists can be beaten by individuals and even larger groups. Nevertheless, it is still important to have faith in the ideas of economists, as they may hold solutions to complex problems that require the expertise in economics. Incentive schemes may not always be foolproof, but the concepts behind them can still provide valuable insight into human behavior and decision-making.

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