Steps in the Right Direction

A Conversation with Russ Roberts

October 4, 2022

Sam speaks with Russ Roberts about decision-making and the nature of moral progress. They discuss the shortcomings of economics as a science, the power of books, the difference between "wild" and "tame" problems, Darwin’s embarrassing thoughts about the value of marriage, the utility of decision of analysis, incommensurate goods, free riding, counterfactuals, how the decisions we make change us, the difficulty of predicting future experience, changing moral norms, Effective Altruism, free speech, whether we are making moral progress, social media, truth vs comfort, problems with consequentialism, rule-based consequentialism, free will, meditation, and other topics.  

Russ Roberts is president of Shalem College in Jerusalem and the John and Jean De Nault Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is the host of EconTalk: Conversations for the Curious and the co-creator of the Keynes-Hayek rap videos. He started EconTalk in 2006—past guests include Christopher Hitchens, Angela Duckworth, Milton Friedman, Martha Nussbaum, Thomas Piketty, Emily Oster, and Michael Lewis. His books include How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness, and his latest—Wild Problems: A Guide to the Decisions That Define Us.