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HZ: I’m a senior at Thomas Jefferson.
RR: What are you going to do next year?
HZ: Probably go to college study, I’m really interested in economics, that’s how I came across your pod cast, in the first place.
I’m taking topics in globalization; the English component right now is to write a profile about someone related to globalization and a lot of your podcasts would definitely be on the subject of globalization
RR: Where do you want to go to college?
HZ: I’m applying to UVA and Duke and Chicago. Places with a strong economic emphasis
Well I’d like to congratulate you on the Weblog, being nominated for the best podcast.
RR: Isn’t it awesome? Have you voted yet?
HZ: Yeah, I’ve actually voted, I went to the link, and checked out the other podcasts, I listened to a couple of them, But I think yours is, by far, in the field of economics the most illustrative.
RR: How many kids go to the school?
HZ: About 1600
RR: If we can get about half of them to vote, we could win. Spread the word
HZ: So I’d like to start with a few questions
What motivated you, in the beginning, to choose this field
RR; Well two things, I did well in it I was good at it I took a high school economics class.actually which It wasn’t good. It wasn’t greaet. The part I say wasn’t graet, a lot didn’t have much to do with economics. It was about the stock market, which has a little to do with economics but no so much. And so it had an economics component in the class fourtunately, and that part I was good at. And I taught maybe this is something I could study at college. And so I took a pricnple of economics clas and I did well at that and I liked it and it seemed interesting. Next thing you know, econ major, next thing you know, go to grad school, next thing you know a professor. It’s a very good life, It was a really life. I really liked it.
RR: That’s better than doing the stock market competition cuz that encourages people to pick risky stocks, if your gonna have a short contest you want to stand up, you might’ve roll the dice and pick a risky stock, really bad advice for how to invest your money.
HZ: One of your jobs is to do a podcast, Thomas Friedman, as globalization 3.0 where everybody can plug and play, where everybody, your illustration this principle, you as an individual plugging and playing into the whole field. How do you feel about that?
Well its fun, its satisfying, I get listeners all over the world. I get emails from italy, and france, spain, and china. People listening to my podcast, it’s a cool thing. Basicly, it’s a
weekly radio show where anybody can listen in. For more than once. a lot of people listen to the podcast more than one time, which is exciting, a little bit depressing, that it's the best use of their time. it makes me happy. Its pretty cool. It’s the same thing with café hayek, my weblog. Have you ever go there?
HZ: Yeha, Café Hayek. Hayek, as in Frdrick Hayek the economist?
RR: Yes correct, not the actress, although she’s better looking than Fredrick. Check this out. This is so cool. Because of globalization. this is sitemeter, which is another online site. What’s cool about this is, 1800 visitors to day. another 86 in the last hour, about in the middle of the week we have 3000 visitors. What this shows you is anybody who's on the website, where they are. and right now the last spaces of the last ten, they are all over the united states, but here's one in Italy, here's one in Polan. Look at the last 100, there is somebody down there in Singapore, we've got finland, germany, belgium, panama. So this is an amazing thing, this time of day. I get people across the world. It is a cool thing. Talk about a flat world. It's amazing.
HZ: What does GMU in its Economics department do to collaborate internationall:
RR:Not too much. We'll a perculiar group of people. We are an ecclectic and offbeat group of scholars from a bunch of places. And this place is very unusual, it's a very interesting group of people who are all, as I said, offbesat. very intellectually curious. we are trying to use economics to understand how the world works. We have a lot of blogs here at George mason. Marginal revolutions is one of the most popular. Econlog goes through GMU, Cafe Hayek goes through GMU, our students have websites, austrian economics, we've got a nueroeconomics websiterelationships between studies of brain and economics behavior. So there's just a lot of what makes things distinct at GM, one of them is an interest in communicating economics beyond just academic journals and other scholars who are intersting in helping people around the world become interested in how economics works. So we don't do anything collaborateive inthe traditional sense of studies with scholars outside of the united state, but alot of people here are interested in reaching around world and helping people understand economics.
HZ: And how did you first come across this thecnoloy of blogs and podcasting
RR: Good question. I must have come across a blog and i taught geez i wonder if this is intersting and I said no it's kind of silly its a waste of time why would i do this. but i was wrong. it's not a waste of time. alot of people read them. obviously. alot of intersting people read them. it has a much bigger span than what I had tuaght in terms of reaching people. And podcasting thats ridiculous. who would listen to an economics lecture on their ipod? but i realized i was kinda late to blogging. i have been bloggin for three years, this spring. That was somewhat late. There have been people for years. but podcasting i've decided seems [...] But i was invited to do one at radioeconomics. And he invited to do one. and i taught it was a waste of time, it's not very useful, it won'td reach alot of people. so i forgot about. and then somebody else called me about it and siad i want to interview you for radioeconomics. and he's a friend of mine and i said ok i'll try it. so i did. and i got a lot of email. so i was wwrong. alot of people do listen to it. and a lot of grownups listened to it. i taught it was just a bunch of students, kids with ipod. People to listen to it on their car, in their commute. I’m going to do one a week. Three months. People like the regular availability each week. Economist, about the invisible hand. Why would they do it, not get paid for it. Altrutistic motivation. Interesting in helping people understand economics. Blog, about 3,000 visitors daily. If I could og show up in a lecture hall and there’d be 3,000 people to talk to . I’d do that. That’s a cool opportunity. So purely passion for economics reason. Selfish ground, even though I don’t get paid. people find out about you.i enhances your reputation. Article Los Angel Time. About Tyler cowen. Somebody ran across him on a bus shuttle coming from the airport. Wow you are tyler cowen. We I read Margin of Revolution. Pessimistic way of looking at it, pajamas, sitting around talking to them selves. Chance to run your own magazine or radio show. And if its good enough. People will listen. There are enough people looking for this education and entertainment opportunity that if you do a good job people will pay attention to you. The podcast are getting 3-5 thousand downloads which is shocking to me. And there is no marketing. It’s all word of mouth. If we devoted some resources to really pushing the idea, we would reach a bigger audience. Its just starting. Its better and better. Our audience steady growing. Process of podcast. Pick a guest. Some turn me down. Most don’t. Either my friends or some professional contact. Of like and wish to reach a broader audience. I don’t pay it. I give you 45 minute I give you a forum to talk about your econmics ideas and research and help people understand it. We find a mutual time. I write up a little introduction. Do a little research on them. If they are my colleges, I do the interviews in here face to face. Most of them are done over the phone with some technology to help with the sound quality, get rid of the static. Its an art, to interview somebody to talk clearly about something that’s not straight forward like economics. I think some are better than others. My role, different kinds. Some of them is a converstation, some itsa real interview. I just interviewed Robert lucus , 1995 nobel prize economics, he one of the greatest economics of the last half of
the century. He’s a trendmous mind. People want to hear what he wants to say. When I’m injecting, its to make clear something technival he said that the average person doesn’t understand. On the other hand when I interviewed Don Bredeux, we’re talking about a book by Hyek called law legislation and liberties, I wanted to simulate what is was like to sit in when we are having a cup of coffe. That different than when I’m interviewing Milton friedman, or becker where I want ot give them a chance to explain their ideas. Those oar ehte two different modes and I lplan differently for each. Basicly I’m winging it. I have a set of question I hope ot get to. Unlike a radio interview they don’t tell you what they are going to talk I tell these guy. I’m not trying to trick them to try tog et them to say some thing stupid, or embarrass them this is educational. The effect of Milton friedman on your career. I’m creating these so that listeners can understand economic ideas, where the listeners who aren’t economics. people like you who are just intellectually curious. And that’s a different model that you’d hear on a show like talk of the nation. Get acces to these kidns of ideas. That;ve very exciting. Those are the best. When I’m learning something, I know the listeners are learning something, to be able to create that education moment in 90 minutes is very cool. On friedman I had him as a teacher, 30 years ago. He’s helped me with books I’ve written, giving me quotes for both my first two books. I’ve kept up a relationship with him over h the years. But he’s a very busy man, so I didn’t know if he had the time for me to interview him. He said yes which was great. He was one of the first 10 or 12 people I interviewed so it wasn’t like I had a huge audience. He could be on 60 minute he could be on NPR he could reach millions, his books has sold million. He was doing it as a favor for me. It was really gracious. He worked at Stanford and had an apartment in downtown san fran. So I wwent ot his apartment which I never been in . it had a beautiful view of the city. I wanted to talk to him for weeks. The hard part was you can’t ask all the stuff you want to ask. You have to ask stuff that sounds good or leads to good answers. Or he gives an answer that’s person about you. He asked my about my feelings on the state of economics and I wasn’t interesting in that so I cut that out of the transcript and the tape. But most of the time they are unedited. Principles. In most high school economics class, they give you a dumbed down version of freshman economics class. Which is a dumbed down version of graduate class. Which is a mistake. I would want students to go out into the world with, to be prepared to be citizens to be consumers and producers is different thatn what we traditionally give to students. What I want them to have is a better understanding of the hidden connections and cooperation that goes on in the economy that is.
Those are the ideas that I think are the most important. These are to me the principles, the fundamental of economics. That we don’t teach much in college, we certainly don’t teach in high school. But they are the most improtatn ideas fro people to underasant would the economy works. What we actually teach the people is misguided and wrong we teach as a model a machine, we have to give it enough gas or it’ll go off the tracks. To me most of the interesting economic phenomina is self organizing. To me, this is an incredible time for economics, by reading those five:, just a handful, you have the equivalent experience of sitting around with a bunch of economists talking about wahts in the news, what going on the world and economists have an interesting perpective on those things that’s different. And before to get that perspective. You had to go to graduate school. You had to become an economist. Sit around in the faculty lounge. And listen to your professors, talk about stuff, become a professor and sit around at lunch and aruge about how the world works. And now you can listen in. you are a high schooler you can listen in by reading those blogs. An average person can understand a lot about economics, because a lot econoics takes place around lunch, or in the coffee room, not in the blackboard and in the formal equation. There a lot of deep intuition that you can get by reading those blogs. The powerful thing about podcasting is, you can take it with you and multitask. You can comoute, you can excerise. I’m the only podcaster here. In fact other than radioeconomics, there aren’t any real economists podcasting. The economist is podcasting but its mainly focused on business topics. It had not attracted yet, the same level of interests from economists that blogging has. Tape recorder, takes a little flash card, That’s from a conference in 1988. he’s talking I’m listening, that’s our relationship. The idea that we trade more is a good thing, it increases peace
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