Episode 33: Science fiction explains our messed up economy

Will these Hyundai robots replace human labor?

Will these Hyundai robots replace human labor?

We talk to economist Noah Smith about how different theories of economics show up in science fiction -- and how economics is also an exercise in speculative worldbuilding. How do ideas about "rational actors" make their way into space operas, and why is everyone so obsessed with game theory? Will robots replace all human labor? Plus, did Ayn Rand ruin everything? 

Works cited, etc: 

Noah Smith on Bloomberg and Twitter

Milton Friedman 

Thomas Piketty, author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century

Game Theory

Larry Summers

Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged

“the tragedy of the commons”

Foundation, by Isaac Asimov

Three Body Problem, by Liu Cixin

Makers, by Cory Doctorow

The Dispossessed, by Ursula LeGuin

World of Warcraft

Eve Online

Reamde, by Neal Stephenson

Dune, by Frank Herbert

Obelix and Co.

Marie Kondo, creator of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and the KonMari method

Charles Stross

Prediction Machines, by Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans, and Avi Goldfarb

The Inner Lives of Markets, by Ray Fisman and Tim Sullivan

Concrete Economics, by Stephen S. Cohen and Bradford DeLong

The CORE Economics Project, an economics education resource that’s free

Annalee Newitz