077 - with Tim Foad - On Economics, Technology, and Productivity
What's up, Zengineers?
Welcome back to the laboratory. This week we're discussing economics with a real live economics professor. Wow! Tim Foad is a good friend, the Chair of the Department of Economics at San Diego State University, and a great guy to shoot the shit with. Tim told us that people aren't always excited to talk to economists. We can't possibly understand why, because we're stoked, and so glad that Tim could join us.
This conversation started from a question Brian had about how wealth is created in the world. You know, not just money like Dollars and Yen, but on the books value of goods, commodities, assets ... bigger too ... we're talking GDP and other academic words, phrases, and acronyms that may seem simple, but are all a bit confusing when you starting asking real questions about them.
Wealth is a weird concept, but it's an important one when you're going to discuss ... well, just about anything ... but especially how businesses, governments, and technology play into policy around the world. Many of you will recognize that wealth, and the accumulation of it, is not a zero sum game. This is tricky, and confusing, and hard to talk about, but Tim helped make sense of it.
We can't promise we stayed on topic the whole time, but Tim helped us place economics into our mental models of the world, and helped us answer some of our puzzling questions. We hope you enjoy the convo.
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Adam & Brian
Tim's Favorite Economist: https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/economic-sciences/1992/becker/biographical/
Predictably Irrational: https://www.amazon.com/Predictably-Irrational-Revised-Expanded-Decisions/dp/006
Diminishing marginal utility of income and wealth: https://www.economicshelp.org/blog/12309/concepts/diminishing-marginal-utility-of-income-and-wealth/
Mechanical Turkers may have out-predicted the most popular crime-predicting algorithm: https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/17/16902016/compas-algorithm-sentencing-court-accuracy-problem
Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COMPAS_(software)
Development Economics: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Development_economics
Natural Monopoly: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_monopoly
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