BloggingHeads.TV with Robin Hanson

Robin and I are recording one next Tuesday.  What would you like to hear us discuss?


I want to know how you manage to conduct academic work without the aid of coffee. What's your secret? Coca? Matte?

Any chat between Tyler and Robin is an occasion to go long:

Is there a role for prediction markets in bubble forecasting?
How to set up proper incentives for a long-term-healthy financial system.
Thoughts on health care reform (are we juggling too much, is big change needed, etc.)
Does the international nature of the financial crisis, plus the potential for free-riding, argue for more robust systems of international governance?

I'd like to hear you two debate the value of signing up for cryonics.

A seasteading discussion would also be good.

a multiplier of less than 1 for the stimulus.

1. How much productivity growth there really was in the last decade?
2. If Robin's site is called Overcoming Bias, how come it is rarely about behavioral decision science and mostly about freezing your head and God-like supercomputers?

Free Will vs. Determinism and the philosophical implications for economics.

The crisis of confidence in macroeconomics

I am interested in hearing how you deal with the massive amounts of information that you're presented with every day. How do you organize things efficiently? Do you how much of your productivity is attributable to the idiosyncrasies of your mind's organization and how much to learned habits?

is economics still a relevant field of study?

I would love it if someone would analyze what would have happened if the US gov't back in August 2007 had declared, "We are not bailing anybody out. If you invested in mortgage-backed securities, it sucks to be you. We will honor FDIC commitments but that is it."

Would we still have a non-functioning bank sector? Would total losses have been higher than what the taxpayers have already pumped in?

How would you restructure the NBA salary/revenue dispersal to optimize "the game," as opposed to what's best for players or owners.

First issue: how many franchises should be eliminated?
2nd: how many games should there be in a season?

I'm still not buying the whole 'toxic mortgage backed securities as the cause of the world financial collapse', and the subprime market unable to pay their mortagage is at fault story.

Here's some data from

I’m an amateur in this realm,(not a professional economist),but more than a few of of formal educaiton and experience. Am I to believe that a charge-off rate of 0.15% of mortgages, and 0.51% of total loans in 1Q/2007 started this whole problem of ‘toxic mortgage backed securities’ that caused this collapse, as is being attributed by the media? Even today the rate is 1.58 and 1.89 for residential and total charge-off rates. It doesn’t feel right to me. I take risks 20 times that big every day and I’ve made money for a long time.

Am I reading the data wrong? Other explanations?

Maybe you can discuss this because I get the sense that the media isn't picking up on the real story.

Robin had a useful claim the other day, in line with his general belief that status trumps truth seekers, to the effect that the best macro predictions were buried because the predictor was housed in a low status institution.

I would like to hear:

a) some examples of these predictions from low status institutions;

b) comparisons which show better accuracy than the high status institutions predictions, and;

c) Tyler to have defend the claim that status in nonetheless a good heuristic to follow for macro economics - even if he doesn't believe it.

Whatever you decide, can you post a link?

Is macroeconomics as a useful discipline?

How do we know who we should listen to when determining macroeconomic policy?

I would like to know how to cut the cost of health care when demand increases (by 45 million) and supply remains the same.

I would like to know how you can cut health care costs while increasing demand for health care and holding supply unchanged.

I agree with nate.

Health care reform, please!

Why do dogs look like their masters?

The failure of enterprise prediction markets to take off, in spite of Robin Hanson pumping them up:

Psychedelics, death, consciousness, antinatalism, culture, monogamy, tawhid, race, political correctness, prostitution, torture, empire, oil, norway

Should the U.S. fold and be replaced by something(s) better?

Do cultures breed institutions? Or vice-versa?

Race in America

I second Arnold's request to discuss evolutionary behavior of the sexes. You might also discuss Roissy's
ideas about this topic.

I like Kling's suggestion, except that Hanson should discuss it with a woman. It's bizarre to have 2 men discuss the topic, as if women were, say, chairs, with the inability to speak for themselves on this topic.

I second the topic request of new methodologies in economics, such as agent-based modeling and physics-inspired techniques.
If we flagrantly ignore any right to privacy, can we reach into credit card records cross-indexed with demographic information, etc., to get a better handle on "expected future velocity" of money placed into a particular person's wallet?

(2) when I save, rather than spend, I don't put the money into the mattress, I put it into the bank. The government is putting money into those same banks.
So how can it be such a great thing for the government to do it to keep the banks from failing, but such an economically bad thing for me to put money into those same banks for a rainy day?

Here's my understanding. When you save, you are adding to the bank's deposits. When the government puts money in, it is adding to the bank's capital. The banks have too little capital (in some cases they might have negative capital, which is one definition of insolvency). They have plenty of deposits, but this doesn't help their capitalization problem.

Did I get this right, anyone else?

I don't see how calling the deposits one thing and calling the government grants another things amounts to a any difference at all.

If a bank gets more deposits then they can lend more money. If the government gives them our money then they can also lend more money. In either case the banks don't want to lend money right now,(per the JP Morgan conference calls) they would prefer to hit their bonus targets and wait a year or two and buy up some of their lesser competitors as they are about to go bankrupt.

I'd like to see a biased critique of Taleb's Black Swan.

"Everybody's an idiot."
is not true. is very rong, please go to doctor, you are sick.

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