A phone call with Bob Frank, author of ‘The Economic Naturalist’

One of my favourite things to do is to talk to the people who write the books I love, often they are hard to reach, others are surprisingly easy, some of them are hard to talk to, others are some of the nicest folks you could hope to have a conversation with, Bob Frank is very much the former and the latter, it took a while to reach him but it was worth waiting for, he has the quality I like best (and I mentioned it already in the review I did on his book ‘The Economic Naturalist’) – namely the ability to talk about complex ideas in plain language.

I called Bob at his house in Ithaca and below are the contents of some of that conversation.

KD: Bob, you have said before that you feel economics has gotten too numerical, that taking that direction can sometimes provide absolute ‘truths’ that simply are not what they seem, so where does the art come into it? Where …

Read More

Irish economic policy for the crisis: What next? (first session)

On Wednesday there was a conference in Trinity College Dublin called ‘Irish economic policy for the crisis: What next?’. This post is video footage taken at the conference (thanks again to Philip Lane and Patrick Honohan for allowing me to film it).

There are some really fascinating ideas in the talks and for those of you who couldn’t make it on the day it is really worthwhile watching.

The first speaker of the day was John Fitzgerald of the ESRI who gave a talk about competitiveness. The other parts are here ( part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 )

Karl Whelan of TCD followed with a piece on Potential Output. Karl’s talk raised some great points about the structural deficit but pointed out (towards the end) that the actual deficit is the thing to focus on. …

Read More

Irish economic policy for the crisis: What Next? (second session)

The second session was chaired by John McHale  now of NUIG, formerly of Queens University Canada, who I have emailed back and forth with in the past (so I was really pleased to meet him in the flesh!).

Colm McCarthy (more recently infamous for his role in an bord snip nua) talked about pensions and debt management. The audio on this one is a bit tricky as he was talking away from the camera but it is a great talk, the other segments are here ( part 2, part 3, part 4, )

Philip Lane gave a talk on on the challenges facing Ireland regarding our fiscal policy, the factors affecting Ireland (such as our EMU membership) were raised and his talk was fascinating, he also -and …

Read More