Tag Archives: russ roberts

Hayek vs. Keynes, Round Two

Russ Roberts and John Papola are at it again. Last year they made a rap video starring F.A. Hayek and John Maynard Keynes. It garnered over 2 million views, many of them in economics classrooms. Today, they release the sequel. Check it out.


The Wealth of Nations Turns 235

Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations was published 235 years ago today.

Over at Cafe Hayek, Russ Roberts links to a few short resources about that long, long book (which I nonetheless recommend reading). Worth checking out.

From Poor and Sick to Healthy and Rich

Via Russ Roberts, this is an amazing video. I’m always impressed with creative, compelling ways to use data to tell a story. And this story is one of the most important in human history: how most of humanity went from being poor and sick to healthy and rich in just 200 years.

There is still a ways to go. But if past is prologue, I’m optimistic about the future.

The Real Cost of TARP

Russ Roberts nails it over at Cafe Hayek:

Please remember that the cost of the TARP isn’t the cost to taxpayers. Even if banks paid back every single penny, the cost of the TARP is that it reduces current and future prudence.

Crony Capitalism shouldn’t Be Confused with the Real Thing

Russ Roberts has a short appreciation of F.A. Hayek in today’s Wall Street Journal (subscription required). Worth reading, especially if you are new to Hayek.

Russ Roberts Interview

PJTV has an 11-minute interview with Russ Roberts. It’s mainly about the making of the Keynes vs. Hayek rap video. But he also has some wise words to say about the strained relationship between economists and the public. Popularization is both important and neglected.

Worth watching, even if you’re not an economist. Heck, especially if you’re not an economist.

Hayek vs. Keynes Rap Video

The first project from EconStories. tv debuted today. It’s a rap video starring John Maynard Keynes and F.A. Hayek, called “Fear the Boom and Bust.” Amusing and deadly serious at the same time.

On a related front, Pete Boettke and Steve Horwitz have a new paper out applying a Hayekian view to the latest boom-and-bust cycle. It’s titled “The House that Uncle Sam Built,” and it’s worth reading.

Fixing TARP: Is Transparency Enough?


The House is voting today on a bill to improve transparency in the TARP bailout program. TARP is, shall we say, rather opaque. 25 different agencies administer TARP funds. Each one uses different accounting standards. Keeping track of everything almost impossible.

I wrote an article not too long ago saying that transparency is welcome symptomatic relief. But TARP itself is a disease. The only way to cure the disease of bailout programs is to abolish them. Russ Roberts said much the same thing:

[C]apitalism is a profit and loss system. The profits encourage risk-taking. The losses encourage prudence. If the taxpayer almost always eats the losses for the losers, you don’t have capitalism. You have crony capitalism.

Transparency is a good start. But the goal should be to not have government bailing out politically favored companies in the first place.

Washington and Wall Street: Best Kept Separate

Russ Roberts’ testimony in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is superb. Read it (it’s short). Wall Street deserves plenty of blame for the financial crisis. But Washington deserves more:

When your teenager drives drunk and wrecks the car, and you keep giving him a do-over—
repairing the car and handing him back the keys—he’s going to keep driving
drunk. Washington keeps giving the bad banks and Wall Street firms a do-over. Here are
the keys. Keep driving. The story always ends with a crash.

I’m mad at Wall Street. But I’m a lot madder at the people who gave them the keys to
drive our economy off the cliff.

Goldman Sachs and Crony Capitalism

Over at NPR, George Mason professor Russ Roberts looks at why Goldman Sachs prospers as Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers die, despite following more or less similar business practices. Key point:

[C]apitalism is a profit and loss system. The profits encourage risk-taking. The losses encourage prudence. If the taxpayer almost always eats the losses for the losers, you don’t have capitalism. You have crony capitalism.

The content deserves close study. So does the delivery; Russ is one of the clearest economics writers there is.