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The New Bazaar

Economic Innovation Group

Through long-form interviews with economists, policymakers and other guests, The New Bazaar explores how the economy is constantly altering the way we live -- and how our choices in life are reflected back into the economy. Hosted by Cardiff Garcia and produced by Aimee Keane, The New Bazaar is a production of Bazaar Audio.

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Society & CultureSociety & Culture

Episodes

Is the Introvert Economy here to stay?
Mar 29 2024
Is the Introvert Economy here to stay?
"The introverts have taken over the US economy."That's the provocative title of a recent Bloomberg column from economist Allison Schrager. As she looked into the data on how Americans have been spending their time since the pandemic, she noticed that they are spending less time socializing with their friends on weekends and more time in front of screens. Even when they do go out, it's increasingly for an early dinner. That's all in addition to the bigger share of Americans who now work remotely, a trend that accelerated during the pandemic and is unlikely to ever fully reverse.Who are the winners and losers from these trends? And what's going on?Obvious explanations include pandemic experimentation, smartphones, better entertainment and telecommunications technologies. But Allison also likes to see these trends through the prism of risk. She tells Cardiff that the "risk-free rate" that Americans can earn from indoor, introverted activity has climbed. With so much choice over the movies, music, and books you can consume in your home, not to mention access to social media and swipe-able dating apps, you are guaranteed to have at least a pretty good time by staying in. Going out means making an "investment" with possibly more upside (meet the love of your life, see a memorable live performance, attend an epic party) but also a vastly more uncertain payoff.Allison and Cardiff discuss these ideas and whether the economy's new introvert-friendliness is likely to stay. They also talk about other trends that could soon favor extroverts, the risks of AI and automation in the labor market, and the skills and traits that will matter for the jobs of the future.Related links:The Introverts Have Taken Over the US Economy (Bloomberg column)Known Unknowns (Allison's newsletter)An Economist Walks Into a Brothel (Allison's book about risk) Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Immigration and the border: the real story
Mar 10 2024
Immigration and the border: the real story
When people talk about the crisis at the border between the US and Mexico, what specifically are they referring to?The Department of Homeland Security keeps track of a statistic called “border encounters” at the US border with Mexico. This includes primarily the large number of people who try to cross the border without documentation, or illegally, and aren't crossing at a formal port of entry. It also includes people who do try to cross the border at a port of entry but who are then found not eligible to be admitted into the US. In the past three years, under the Biden administration, the number of these border encounters each year has been more than quadruple the average of what it was throughout most of the previous decade, under the Trump and Obama administrations. The system for processing all these migrants has been entirely overwhelmed. And if you’re a politician or a pundit or someone else pushing an agenda, the temptation is to make it political. To argue that this is either all Joe Biden’s fault for being "too soft" on immigration, or the fault of Donald Trump for not fixing the problem sooner, or Congress for refusing to collaborate on a bill that would address the issue.Today’s guest does something different altogether. Andrew Selee is the head of the Migration Policy Institute, or MPI, which is the think tank Cardiff turns to when he wants factual, nonpartisan, non-stupid commentary on immigration—but especially when he just wants to inform himself on the topic outside the nonsense of how debates on immigration tend to play out in public.So Cardiff speaks with Andrew about the real, fundamental reasons behind the crisis at the border, and what can be done about it. They also talk about legal immigration, which despite many problems has actually been a kind of quiet success of recent years. Other topics they discuss include the two eras of border management, the multi-layered effects of the pandemic on immigration, and a new idea for how to reform immigration to become more responsive to the needs of the US labor market. Related links: Biden at the Three-Year MarkShifting Realities at the U.S.-Mexico BorderMigration at the U.S.-Mexico Border: A Challenge Decades in the MakingA New Way Forward for Employment-Based Immigration: The Bridge Visa Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
If econs could hoop
Jan 31 2024
If econs could hoop
Who is the Magic Johnson of economics? Who was the Adam Smith of basketball?On this fun and oddball episode of The New Bazaar, Cardiff speaks with Tyler Cowen, economist and author of GOAT: Who is the Greatest Economist of all Time and Why Does it Matter? Inspired by the sportswriter Bill Simmons, Tyler wrote his book from the standpoint of a fan—having fun, taking sides, admitting biases, unapologetically trying to entertain the reader instead of presenting sober (boring) analysis. Cardiff and Tyler—both huge basketball fans—first discuss Tyler's ranking of the great economists and his lament for what economics used to be. Tyler also gives his reasons for releasing the book as a ChatGPT trained on its text, the first such book of its kind.Then begins the fun. They take turns finding analogs for the great economists from the history of the NBA. And they do the same in reverse for basketball's own GOATs. Which economist changed the nature of the field similar to the way Steph Curry set off the three-point revolution? Is there an economist whose comprehensive genius rivaled the ability of LeBron James to engineer exactly the outcome he wants on the court? What basketball player matched the charisma, brilliance, and even investment success of Keynes? And why does Cardiff argue that Tyler himself is the Charles Barkley of economists despite their differences in personality, size, and other obvious dimensions? All throughout the chat, Tyler and Cardiff are exploring the common traits that define greatness in both hoops, the social sciences, and perhaps other domains. A treat for fans of either economics or hoops, or who simply enjoy the virtues of fandom itself. Related links: GOATMarginal RevolutionThe Book of BasketballThe Kobe Question Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Hoop dreams of electric sheep
Jan 4 2024
Hoop dreams of electric sheep
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz has unusually written an unusual book.The data analysis included in "Who Makes the NBA?: Data-Driven Answers to Basketball's Biggest Questions" normally would have taken Seth, a trained economist, multiple years of writing and running code. But because of new artificial intelligence tools, he finished the book in just thirty days. And he used AI tools not just for the coding, but also for the artwork, copy editing, and even to write the appendix.He discusses with Cardiff the lessons he learned about using AI, and what such accelerated productivity might mean for the future of the labor market. Then they discuss the actual findings in the book, an investigation into the backgrounds of the basketball players who make it to the NBA and succeed when they get there. How much of success is genetic? What accounts for the NBA's market failures—the traits of players who get paid too much and too little relative to their contributions? Why do some foreign countries have such astonishing success at sending players to the NBA? Does the choice of college really matter for future success? The answers to these questions are surprisingly revealing about the experiences of non-basketball players, and about the relationships between luck, skill, parenting, undiscovered talent, the economy, and other familiar variables. Related links: Seth's home pageWho Makes the NBA? (Amazon page) Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Malcolm Gladwell's Next Chapter
Aug 29 2023
Malcolm Gladwell's Next Chapter
Last summer, Cardiff interviewed Malcolm Gladwell for another podcast that he hosts called The Next Chapter, by American Express Business Class. On that show, Cardiff interviews bestselling book authors (like Gladwell) to find out what they’ve been up to since their earlier book was published, and to learn what they would add to it now that some time has passed—hence the “Next Chapter” of the title.And in the case of Gladwell, what he’s been up to in the last few years is podcasting. Specifically, he co-founded Pushkin Industries, a podcast production company for which he hosts his own excellent show, called Revisionist History, and has written an audiobook, The Bomber Mafia.As it happens, Gladwell and Cardiff have the same favorite dead economist, Albert O Hirschman. And since Hirschman comes up a few times in their chat, and because the chat also covers a number of fascinating economic themes generally, it's the perfect episode to also air on The New Bazaar. The chat was recorded at Gladwell’s offices in Hudson, New York, last year. And if you like the episode and want to hear more of these interviews, please consider subscribing to The Next Chapter on your podcast app of choice. There you'll find other interviews hosted by Cardiff with guests like Adam Grant on how to think creatively; David Epstein on why it’s good to be a generalist; Susan Cain on introversion; and Mashama Bailey and John O Morisano on entrepreneurship and partnership in business. Here's a few places where you can find the show: Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/4ILMYVnqfO0g9aVkFFqfa2?si=4eef0597c6f4466d Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-next-chapter-by-american-express-business-class/id1627810508Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/show/the-next-chapter-by-american-express-business-classGoogle Podcasts: https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkcy5zaW1wbGVjYXN0LmNvbS9aODFMX0ZldA Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
William Bernstein on stocks, bonds, and the economy
Jul 18 2023
William Bernstein on stocks, bonds, and the economy
These are confusing times for the economy and for financial markets—and for the relationship between the economy and financial markets. At the moment the economy is doing well. The labor market is still creating hundreds of thousands of jobs each month. Unemployment is low. Inflation has come down over the past year. And economic growth has been stronger than a great many economists and others had forecast heading into the year. But that’s just how the economy is doing right now. What about six months from now? Or a year? Forecasting is always hard, and it may well be impossible. But economists sometimes look at “leading indicators” that are meant to give at least a sense of where the economy is headed. And some of those are flashing red, suggesting we might be headed for a recession in the near future. Then again, those same indicators have looked bad for a while now, and still the recession is nowhere in sight, so who knows. Meanwhile, look at the US stock market. It collapsed last year. But it’s come roaring back this year—and this despite the Federal Reserve continuing to raise interest rates aggressively. Is the stock market now overpriced, too expensive? Is it underpriced, a good time to get in? And what happens if we do go into recession? What about bonds and other markets? What happened to crypto and all those meme stocks? Returning to the show to discuss all this and more is William Bernstein. Bill is the author of no fewer than three of Cardiff's favorite books on finance and the economy, including “The Four Pillars of Investing”, which just came out in a second edition roughly two decades after the first. It has all new updated information, data, and charts, plus the lessons learned in the intervening years. Related links:The Four Pillars of InvestingBill's other books and writings Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
The economics of innovation
May 18 2023
The economics of innovation
Within economics, there's a semi-famous quote from the economist Paul Krugman: “Productivity isn't everything, but in the long run, it's almost everything.” Krugman’s point is that ultimately, how much productivity climbs each year—roughly speaking, how much more efficient an economy’s workers become at producing goods and services—is also what determines how much our living standards also rise from year to year. And so in the long run, there really is almost nothing that matters more. Unfortunately, since about the early 1970s productivity has climbed much more slowly than in the earlier postwar decades. We have been stuck in a period that economists have labeled The Great Stagnation. And a big reason why is that the pace of innovation—the kind of scientific and technological innovation that leads to fast productivity growth—has also been slow. But now, there’s now a lot of people—including Cardiff!—who are optimistic that maybe the Great Stagnation is ending. That we’ll get back to the faster productivity growth of the past. Among other reasons why: The economy in the last few years has become more dynamic. There’s been a boom in the number of startups that entrepreneurs launch every month. There has been quite a bit of experimentation in the workplace for how to get things done, most obviously the rise of remote work. Incredible new technologies like mRNA vaccines have emerged. These also include things like GPT-4 and other language learning models, suggesting that artificial intelligence could soon have a noticeable effect on the economy. And finally, an intellectual shift, partly brought on by higher inflation, has compelled many people (including policymakers) all across the ideological spectrum to really emphasize the importance of expanding the economy’s capacity for growth, and to figure how best to do that. Which policies and institutional designs can best lead to new technologies and innovations? How do we reform public institutions like the National Institutes of Health, with its $47 billion budget, to fund the kind of science research and development that leads to transformative new technologies? What have we learned about the way science is actually done now?In other words, how do we get right the economics of innovation? That effort is where today’s two guests come in. Heidi Williams is an economist and the director of science policy at the Institute for Progress, a think tank. Caleb Watney is the co-founder and co-CEO of the Institute for Progress. They discussed with Cardiff not only the Great Stagnation, but also recent industrial policies passed by the US government, like the Chips and Science Act (which is aimed at developing a domestic semiconductor industry) and the Inflation Reduction Act (which will spend money to develop new clean technologies, among other things). And they discussed new ideas for how the country’s existing scientific institutions—its commercial labs, universities, and public bodies—should approach the process of scientific discovery.Related links: Heidi's page and work at the Institute for ProgressCaleb's page and work at the Institute for Progress Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
How to save democratic capitalism
Feb 3 2023
How to save democratic capitalism
The combination of a markets-based capitalist economy and a liberal democracy with almost-universal suffrage is very young, having existed for barely more than a century. But what we’ve learned in that short time is that there has never been a more successful political and societal arrangement. None of the tyrannies and the plutocracies that have been the default for nearly all of human history has ever been nearly as good at raising people’s living standards, and at giving people the individual freedoms to choose how they live their lives. But that marriage between capitalism and democracy has always been a fragile one. And in the last decade or two, that system has been under threat from within the very liberal democracies where it exists, especially in the US and across parts of Europe. What happened?The guest for this episode is Martin Wolf, the chief economics commentator of the Financial Times and author of a new book called The Crisis of Democratic Capitalism. As Martin writes:The health of our societies depends on sustaining a delicate balance between the economic and the political, the individual and the collective, the national and the global. But that balance is broken. Our economy has destabilized our politics and vice versa… A big part of the reason for this is that the economy is not delivering the security and widely shared prosperity expected by large parts of our societies. One symptom of this disappointment is a widespread loss of confidence in elites. Another is rising populism and authoritarianism. Another is the rise of identity politics of both left and right. Yet another is loss of trust in the notion of truth. Once this last happens, the possibility of informed and rational debate among citizens, the very foundation of democracy, has evaporated.Martin discusses these themes with Cardiff, what should be done to confront this crisis of democratic capitalism, what a "New New Deal" can look like, the threat (and opportunity) of China as a global superpower, and how Martin's own personal history influenced his values and thinking.Related links: The Crisis of Democratic Capitalism Martin's columns at the Financial Times Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Artificial intelligence and the economy of the future
Dec 20 2022
Artificial intelligence and the economy of the future
Joining Cardiff for this episode is Avi Goldfarb, Rotman Chair In Artificial Intelligence and Healthcare At The Rotman School Of Management, University Of Toronto, and the co-author (with his fellow economists Ajay Agrawal and Joshua Gans) of an excellent new book, "Power and Prediction: The Disruptive Economics of Artificial Intelligence".In their chat, Avi and Cardiff discuss:Why AI is best understood as a "prediction technology"Examples of AI already in useWhich parts of the economy could be transformed by AI, and howHistorical analogies to previous eras of widespread technological disruptionHow AI will change the way people and companies make decisionsWhy this change will shift institutions away from blunt rules and towards individual discretionIn the labor market, who will gain and who will lose from the adoption of AIWhat the use of AI might teach us about what it means to be humanAnd all throughout the chat, they look at the fundamental question of whether artificial intelligence is about to make the economy—and the world—a whole lot weirder. And if so, just how far along that path to weirdness are we already?Related links: "Prediction and Power", by Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans, and Avi Goldfarb"The impact of AI on the future of workforces", The White House CEA and the European Commission“Before the Flood”, by Sam Hammond"The golden age of AI-generated art is here", by Tom Faber"Historical analogies for large language models", by Dynomight Internet Website Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
160 years of the racial wealth gap
Oct 7 2022
160 years of the racial wealth gap
This is a special, between-the-seasons episode of the New Bazaar.Right now, the white-to-black wealth ratio in the United States is roughly 6 to 1. Which means that when you add up all the wealth that someone can own—their cash, the value of their house, their investments in the stock market, and so on—the average White American has six times the wealth of the average Black American. That figure alone should be disturbing enough. But making it even worse is that this wealth ratio of 6 to 1 is about the same as it was back in the 1950s, seven decades ago. Some of the reasons for this long-term persistence of a big racial wealth gap are probably familiar to anyone who knows even just a little about American history. Not just the history of slavery, but also what came next: Jim Crow and segregation, the numerous racist laws and policies that were passed, and the history of racial violence—all of which made it impossible for Black Americans to accumulate as much wealth, and to get the same return on their wealth, as White Americans. Maybe less understood is another cause. If you consider the immediate aftermath of emancipation and the Civil War as a starting point, Black Americans simply began with much less wealth from which to build more wealth—and that initial difference has continued to have a big lingering effect even a century and a half later. These are just some of the conclusions in a new working paper from today’s guest, Ellora Derenoncourt, and from her co-authors Chi Hyun Kim, Moritz Kuhn, Moritz Schularick. Ellora is an economist at Princeton University, where she is also founder of the Program for Research on Inequality. On this episode of New Bazaar, Cardiff speaks with Ellora about this fascinating paper and about some of her other related work. Related links: Wealth of Two Nations: The U.S. Racial Wealth Gap, 1860-2020Can You Move to Opportunity? Evidence from the Great MigrationMinimum wages and racial inequality Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Upending Wall Street
Jul 26 2022
Upending Wall Street
Dakin Campbell is the chief finance correspondent at Insider and, full disclosure, Cardiff's close friend. He joins Cardiff on the show to discuss his new book, “Going Public: How Silicon Valley Rebels Loosened Wall Street’s Grip on the IPO and Sparked a Revolution”.When a company is relatively young… let’s say it’s a startup, and it is privately owned… the owners are usually some combination of the company’s founders, and venture capitalists who bet on the company, and maybe early employees who get paid in shares of the company as opposed to just getting a salary. And at some point, a private company like this can decide to go public. In other words, to list on the stock market so that you and I and anybody can buy and sell its stock. And so that the company itself can raise money to fund itself, and to give those founders and employees with early shares a place to sell them and cash in. When a private company wants to raise new money and give its existing shareholders a place to sell their shares, it can hire investment banks to start the process of going public and listing on a stock exchange. That process, of course, is the IPO, or initial public offering. Dakin’s book is about how a lot of private companies through the years have not loved the way that process works. These companies have often been skeptical that the IPO process works as well for them as for the investment banks that they themselves hire. And yet, the traditional IPO model also did not change meaningfully for decades, at least not for the biggest and most prominent companies trying to go public. There were occasional one-off attempts to challenge the model, as when Google went public via auction in 2004. But it wasn’t until just about four years ago that a company, Spotify, not only tried a different model but also kicked off a new trend—one that’s still early, but which seems like it’s here to stay. And as you’ll hear in the chat, Dakin’s book is also about why getting this process right matters not just for the companies that want to go public and for Wall Street, but also for people who want a chance to participate financially in the economy.Related links: "Going Public" book pageDakin Campbell stories at Insider Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Inflation: a guide for the perplexed
Jul 15 2022
Inflation: a guide for the perplexed
Here are three things to know about inflation. First, according to a survey of public opinion by Pew Research taken in May, the public views inflation is the single biggest problem facing the country. And—this is a direct quote from Pew Research—”no other concern comes close”. Second, inflation right now is really high. The prices of the goods and services that people buy are more than 9 percent higher than they were last year. And third, Jerome Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve—the frontline institution tasked with managing inflation—recently said this while speaking on a panel: “I think we now understand better how little we understand about inflation.”Even for the people in charge of dealing with it, inflation can be really hard to understand. When inflation is high, is it the Fed’s fault? Is it the fault of Congress and the President? Is it Vladimir Putin’s fault? Is it greedy corporations? Is it nobody’s fault, just a thing that happens?Matt Klein returns to explain the sources of this bafflement, this confusion. In his newsletter The Overshoot, he recently finished a two-part series about inflation that tries to understand what’s going on—and which crucially leaves room for all possible, complex, interacting forces that can drive inflation. Matt and Cardiff also discuss how inflation fits into the wider economic context of the last couple of years. And then, to close, they recklessly ask the question: Is inflation finally about to start coming down? Related links: Matt's inflation seriesMatt on Twitter Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.