Tabarrok on the Ezra Klein Podcast

Late last year I responded to an excellent tweet storm from Ezra Klein by in effect saying he should read Mancur Olson’s The Rise and Decline of Nations. And you know what? He did! Ezra then kindly invited me on to his New York Times podcast to discuss public choice, liberalism, and the rise and decline of nations.

A few good quotes from me:

Japan has caught up to us in slowing down.


Let me put it in a way that progressives can understand, there is an inequality of voice and that inequality of voice also goes to the rich and the powerful and the people who can hire lawyers and the people who can use these so-called equitable institutions to their advantage—even the people in the marginalized communities have not benefited.

Ezra asked challenging questions and had lots of interesting things to say. I was especially struck by his argument that people want to tell heroic stories about themselves and so rent seeking comes to be redefined as something heroic. I think that’s an important insight which public choice scholars are likely to overlook–it becomes harder and harder to break out of a rent-seeking equilibrium not just because of transitional gains traps and the like but because the equilibrium comes to be seen as virtuous.

You also get to hear me rant about new hiring procedures at GMU and my HOA.

Ezra asks a good question about why developer interest groups don’t dominate the planning process.

We also talk about crypto and decentralized consensus as well as other topics.

Whether you call it state capacity libertarianism, creating the innovation nation, or supply side progressivism, I think this movement, which Ezra is leading from the left, is one of the most important movements today.

Podcast: Apple, Spotify, Google or wherever you get your podcasts. Transcript here.


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