An EconTalk Podcast Listening Guide

Pete Boettke on Living Economics

Listen to the EconTalk podcast Pete Boettke on Living Economics and consider these questions.

1. Roberts begins the interview remarking on the recent passing of Nobel laureate James Buchanan. Boettke offers his thoughts on the enduring important of the work of Buchanan, noting in particular Buchanan’s “demand of behavioral symmetry” and the “Roman Emperor problem.” What does Boettke mean by these two phrases?

2. Boettke says Buchanan, on winning the Nobel Prize, summed up his work in one line. What was that line, and what did Buchanan mean but it?

3. How do the productive, protective, and distributive states differ? Why does Boettke argue it is so difficult to protect the first without unleashing the third?

4. Boettke uses an analogy about a skinny man’s belt to explain why he thinks we ought to worry more about the scope of government that the size. Why does he think this, and to what extent do you agree?

5. Describe Boettke’s distinction between mainline and mainstream economics. Is this distinction significant? Why?

6. Boettke says there are three meanings behind the title of Living Economics. What are they?

7. Roberts asks Boettke to describe why he thinks mainstream economics has had so much more success than mainline economics. How does Boettke respond?

8. What does Boettke mean when he says that rent seeking is only a footnote, not in the DNA of Stiglitz or Krugman?

9. Boettke claims that, “ideas generate institutions.” What does he mean by this, and to what extent do you agree?

10. Having listened to the whole podcast, do you agree with Roberts that “we get the economics we deserve?”