June 13, 2014

Famous Economists Freely Spout Their Economic Ideas

Want to learn more about what makes the economy tick? With this list of 11 audio & video titles, we’ve provided an overview covering the best economists and economic ideas. Below you’ll find lectures from free market thinkers such as Milton Friedman, Thomas Sowell, and Alan Greenspan. This list also covers important economic books, from Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations to Marx’s Communist Manifesto, and forward into the turbulent modern world of Freakonomics. Whether you are a newbie to the free market, or are looking for commentary on current issues with the world’s leading economists, this list has it all:

1. Human Action: A Treatise on Economics

Download what is considered to be Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises’ magnum opus entitled Human Action: A Treatise on Economics. In this book Mises argues for laissez-faire capitalism and concludes that the free-market economy serves as the foundation of civilization. Over the course of 39 chapters Mises provides a comprehensive outlook of his economic philosophy which has been influential up to the present day. This unabridged audio book is professionally narrated by Jeff Riggenbach. It is available on MP3 download from the Mises Institute site and can be played and downloaded directly on our site as a podcast.

2. The Wealth of Nations, Book 1

Listen to Book 1 of Adam Smith’s classic work on economics The Wealth of Nations. Book 1 covers the division of labor, prices, wages, and profit. Written at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, this book has heavily influenced modern economics and economists to the present day. This 9 hour audio book is well narrated by Stephen Escalera over at LibriVox and is available on MP3 download.

3. Milton Friedman at the American Legislative Council

Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman is best known for his advocation of the free market which has heavily influenced American economic policy up to the present day. In this talk delivered at the 33rd annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council, Friedman speaks about school vouchers and his efforts push forward vouchers on a state by state basis to improve K-12 education. His talk was delivered at the 33rd annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council and Mr. Friedman is featured in the first half of this program. It is available on streaming video.

4. Beyond Freakonomics: New Musings on the Economics of Everyday Life

In this lecture from Princeton’s University Channel, economist and author of Freakonomics Steven D. Levitt lectures on his unique methods of economic research. Through entertaining stories Levitt discusses the economics of prostitution, whether or not people are generally altruistic, and many other interesting topics. This lecture was recorded at Princeton University and is available on streaming video through YouTube.

5. Muhammad Yunus – 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Lecture

Listen to this great speech from the 2006 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize Muhammad Yunus. Yunus is a Bangladeshi banker and economist who established the Grameen Bank which conducted “mircoloans” to people living in poverty who were too poor to receive a regular bank loan. These mircoloans helped many people work themselves out of poverty including women. Yunus discusses this success and also talks about the idea of social capitalism which goes beyond the traditional role of capitalism’s focus on maximizing profit. This lecture is available on streaming video from NobelPrize.org.

6. Behavioral Economist Daniel Kahneman: The Riddle of Experience vs. Memory

The Nobel Prize-winning inventor of behavioral economics and renowned psychologist Daniel Kahneman recently spoke at the TED conference on the complicated subject of happiness. Kahneman attempts to distinguish the happiness we experience versus the happiness we feel from our memories. We usually recall our memories like stories so if they ended poorly we often remember them as unhappy even we generally experienced happiness throughout their duration. With the vacations that we take, we often decide on where to go with the idea of creating great memories, even if we spend a great deal more time experiencing the vacation than reliving the memories later. He applies these distinctions to many other examples in an attempt to clarify the idea of happiness. This talk is available from TED.com on MP3 audio download and streaming video.

7. The Communist Manifesto (from Librivox)
The Communist Manifesto (from Thought Audio)
The Communist Manifesto (from ejunto.org)

We are featuring 3 free versions of The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. This short work (with a running time of only 1 hour and 15 minutes) has been recognized as one of the world’s most influential political manuscripts. First published on February 21, 1848, the book lays out the class struggle between the “Bourgeois and Proletarians”, and how communists will arise from the working-class and overthrow the capitalist system. The work ends with the rallying cry of communism: “Workers of the world, unite!“. Download this free audio book on MP3 today!

8. Reflections on Theory in the Social Sciences

In this biographical interview, host Harry Kreisler interviews Nobel Prize winning political philosopher Amartya Sen to discuss a career devoted to merging economic thought with sociology. Sen’s work has broadened the definition of economics thanks to an attitude that is always questioning how academic theories are set in place. His studies in famine for instance went beyond a food-centered focus and took into account the overarching economic and political dimensions that lead to widespread hunger. Sen’s intellectual odyssey has led him to always view a problem from an outsider’s perspective, leading to a pluralistic approach to tackling the world’s most pressing problems.

9. The Economic Meltdown: What we have Learned, if Anything? with Paul Krugman

Economist Paul Krugman asks how we got ourselves into another Great Depression in this streaming video lecture provided by MIT World. When the U.S. was rocked with economic crisis in 2008, Krugman explains that many experts were left confused. After all, we had 80 years to learn from the great banking collapse of the 1930s and had added fail-safes into the system to assure that it would never happen again. Unfortunately, the 2008 “great recession” turned out to be what Krugman describes as a “teched-up” version of what came before, and though the country was able to level off from the initial plummet, a future of long-term unemployment is still very possible. Krugman cautions that our slow recovery is not a complete success story, and goes on to formulate his ideas on where the World’s leader should go next.

10. Alan Greenspan: The Map and the Territory

Alan Greenspan discusses his latest book The Map and the Territory: Risk, Human Nature, and the Future of Forecasting in this talk at the National Press Club. Greenspan chimes in about the state of politics in Washington, the national debt, and the financial crisis of 2008. He then examines where the global economy is headed.

11. Uncommon Knowledge: Thomas Sowell

Host Peter Robinson speaks with economist Thomas Sowell in this episode of Uncommon Knowledge from the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Sowell attempts to debunk some of the common myths of economics citing examples from his book Economic Facts and Fallacies. He also addresses areas such as income differences, male-female economic differences, academia, race, and much more. This interview is certain to get you thinking twice about economic issues. It is available on streaming video.