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Welcome to Ricochet's Political Economy Podcast with Jim Pethokoukis. You can find all episodes, new and old, here.






Ep. 79: The Economics of Marriage

Sponsored by SimpliSafe Marriage is one of society’s oldest institutions, and research suggests its importance hasn’t faded with time. Here to discuss the numerous benefits of marriage, as well as its role in the “Millennial Success Sequence,” is Dr. W. Bradford Wilcox. Brad Wilcox is a visiting scholar at AEI and a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia. He directs the Home Economics Project at AEI, and is the director of the National Marriage Project at UVA. You might...

Duration: 00:34:18

Ep. 78: Will AI In The Workplace Kill Jobs?

Sponsored by SimpliSafe Looking at Silicon Valley today, you might think the US is poised for a technological explosion. That's certainly animating many of the fears of mass joblessness once artificial intelligence arrives in the workplace, and why many people are beginning to advocate a universal basic income. But my guest today says these techno-optimists have far too rosy of an outlook. Fredrik Erixon is an economist and the director of the European Centre for International Political...

Duration: 00:40:05

Ep. 77: A Stuck Economy?

Sponsored by SimpliSafe The US economy appears to be stuck at around 2% GDP growth, much less than the 3.5% it has averaged between World War II and the Great Recession. One reason is that productivity growth - that is, output per worker — is barely rising. Why is the American economy apparently not as productive as it used to be? Are we, despite tech giants such as Apple and Google, somehow less innovative than in the past? If so, why are we so worried about robots taking our jobs? To...

Duration: 00:41:08

Ep. 76: Blue Collar Conservatives

Sponsored by SimpliSafe Republicans invoke Ronald Reagan constantly. They sing his praises every chance they get, and seem to believe there is no public policy problem that a good dose of Reaganism can’t fix. But has the Right got Reagan wrong all this time? In his new book, The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism, Henry Olsen argues the classic conception of Reagan as an arch-libertarian on economic policy is misguided. Only by understanding...

Duration: 00:42:07

Ep. 75: The Favored Fifth

Sponsored by SimpliSafe We've grown accustomed to hearing a lot about the one percent. Yet it's the "favored fifth" - the top 20 percent of the income distribution - that Brookings Senior Fellow Richard Reeves asserts is the greater problem. "The rhetoric of 'We are the 99 percent,'" Reeves writes, "has in fact been dangerously self-serving." From supporters of Elizabeth Warren to Donald Trump, upper middle class Americans everywhere claim they want to unrig the system. But far more than...

Duration: 00:35:19

Ep. 74: A True Conservative Tradition

Sponsored by SimpliSafe Has America ever had a true conservative tradition? We are here with Patrick Deneen to discuss that question, and his book, "Conserving America?: Essays on present discontents." Patrick J. Deneen holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Rutgers University. From 1995-1997 he was Speechwriter and Special Advisor to the Director of the United States Information Agency. He has held professorships at Princeton University and Georgetown University, before joining the...

Duration: 00:36:06

Ep. 73: The Retreat of Western Liberalism

With increasingly populist figures gaining traction across the world (even winning or nearly winning major elections), it seems as if the values of western liberalism are on the decline. But are these leaders and their policies the direct cause of populism, or rather a manifestation of years of brewing anxiety? Here to discuss this and his recent book, "The Retreat of Western Liberalism," is Financial Times columnist and commentator Edward Luce. Join the conversation and comment on this...

Duration: 00:34:46

Ep. 72: Net Neutrality

Sponsored by SimpliSafe Ajit Pai. Net Neutrality. Spectrum. These and other buzzwords are now circulating not just in the mouths of policy wonks in Washington, but in viral videos, on major network evening talk shows, in Jimmy Kimmel’s Mean Tweets. But seriously, what should tech policy look like for the next generation, or two, or three? Can we continue to have a system largely based on 1930s regulation? Here to discuss is Brent Skorup, Research Fellow in the Technology Policy Program...

Duration: 00:39:52

Health Care: The Road Ahead

Sponsored by SimpliSafe With a bill having narrowly passed the House last week to repeal and replace Obamacare, the Senate is revving up for negotiations, reconciliation, and fair to say, a hard journey to a finished product. What does the road look like? Here to discuss is Ben Ippolito, a research fellow in economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, where his research is in public finance and health economics. His recent work has focused on the behavior of health care...

Duration: 00:41:57

Ep. 70: Conservatism in an Age of Alienation

Sponsored by SimpliSafe After 100 some days of the Trump presidency, the Republican Party and the conservative coalition, broadly understood, are still in flux. Was this election a Pyrrhic victory? Is that even the right question to ask? Yuval Levin writes in a new essay, "Conservatism in an Age of Alienation", that "... the problems exposed by this election year call out for a modernized, self-critical, twenty-first-century conservatism--a conservatism that is uncertain if this election...

Duration: 00:40:37

Ep. 69: The Future of The EuroZone

Sponsored by SimpliSafe The French presidential election might be the last act in a three part play featuring Part I: the Brexit referendum and Part II: the US election. Forces acting against a globalized status quo seem to have played a big role in I and II. Regardless of the outcomes of Brexit and the US election, the French election held this past Sunday, and its final run off on May 7, will have major implications for the future of the Eurozone and world economy, and may add fuel to...

Duration: 00:40:57

Ep. 69: The Future of The EuroZone

The French presidential election might be the last act in a three part play featuring Part I: the Brexit referendum and Part II: the US election. Forces acting against a globalized status quo seem to have played a big role in I and II. Regardless of the outcomes of Brexit and the US election, the […] Ricochet.

Duration: 00:40:57

Ep. 68: Peak America with Tyler Cowen

Some have argued that we are at Peak America – as in, we’ve hit a plateau economically. What kinds of repercussions does that have for culture and American society more generally? And has postwar American culture itself contributed to decreasing economic dynamism? Tyler Cowen addresses these questions in his new book, “The Complacent Class: The […] Ricochet.

Duration: 00:35:28

Ep. 67: The Asian Century?

Is this really the “Asian Century”? Many have conjectured yes, that China and the Far East as a whole could overtake America, in military might and economic power, if not in global cultural influence. But how realistic is that? Michael Auslin argues in The End of the Asian Century we should be less sure what […] Ricochet.

Duration: 00:33:52

Ep. 66: The State of The Welfare State

With a new administration, we have reason to hope that the welfare state may change, morph, make it more simple for us to serve the impoverished and truly marginalized, rather than stay looking like this mess. What is promising, and what is old news? Robert Doar is the Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies at the […] Ricochet.

Duration: 00:38:29

Ep. 65: Californiastan

In 2013, Joel Kotkin described the state of California as a new bastion of neofeudalism, marked by class division into the serfs, Americans dependent on government for their welfare, the yeomanry or small business owners and middle class citizens, the clerisy of government officials, media elite, and the Ivory Tower, and the oligarchs at the […] Ricochet.

Duration: 00:39:24

Ep. 64: Are We Still Dynamists?

It has been nearly twenty years since the prescient publication of “The Future and its Enemies,” in which author Virginia Postrel painted a picture of a world riven by clash between “dynamism” and “stasism”, between those open-minded enough to seek change, creativity, and free market disruption for the betterment of humanity, and between those who […] Ricochet.

Duration: 00:35:04

Ep. 63: What Now, China Shock?

It was “the paper that shook the world of economics,” according to Bloomberg. The paper, written by David Autor, David Dorn and my guest today, Gordon Hanson, introduced the “China trade shock” into the lexicon and gave the narratives of disintegrating American manufacturing and loss of American jobs – whether seen in campaign trail rhetoric, or in […] Ricochet.

Duration: 00:34:01

Ep. 60: Transformational Change

Transformational Change When we think about our collective economic future, is it dismal or dazzling? Or a bit of both? Chris Kutarna and Ian Goldin argue that we stand on the precipice of transformational change, the likes of which we have not seen since the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery, so once in every 500 years. We […] The post Transformational Change appeared first on Ricochet.

Duration: 00:36:02

Ep. 59: Is Cash King?

Is Cash King? Cash is king, right? There is, after all, some $4,200 in cash circulating for every person in the US, and that’s outside financial establishments. But when is the last time you used cash? Studies show 50% of us carry $20 or fewer in our wallets. How practical will paper currency remain, especially in the age […] The post Is Cash King? appeared first on Ricochet.

Duration: 00:42:51

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