An EconTalk Podcast Listening Guide

Tyler Cowen on Inequality, the Future, and Average is Over

Listen to the EconTalk podcast Tyler Cowen on Inequality, the Future, and Average is Over and consider these questions.

1. Cowen sees a bi-modal distribution of income in the future. What does this mean, and what are the advantages and disadvantages he sees?

2. Cowen says he sees himself as a “happiness optimist” and “revenue pessimist.” What does he mean by this? How would you describe your own outlook on the future using these terms?

3. Cowen argues that conscientiousness is going to become increasingly valuable in the future. How does he define conscientiousness, and why does he predict its relative value is changing so much?

4. Roberts says he has worries about technologies like “Siri on steroids.” How oppressive do you think such technologies are or might be, and why?

5. Cowen suggests that coaching and marketing are areas for tremendous growth potential in the economy of the near future. What do these areas encompass, and why does he see them playing such a significant role? To what extent do you agree with him about their potential?

6. Could (and should) EconTalk be turned into an online game? What would you see as the benefits? Would anything be lost?

7. Cowen believes there are no new theories left in economics. What does he see as the future of the discipline in light of this?

8. Long-run elasticities are always greater than short-run elasticities, says Cowen. Why does he say this, and how does this relate to what he calls “The Great Reset?”

9. Why is Cowen relatively unworried about massive redistribution in the future? To what extent do you share his placidity?

10. After listening to this podcast, who would you regard as more of an optimist about the near future, Roberts or Cowen? Why?