Like any good geek, I listen to NPR while at the gym. (I will admit that the speakers’ cadence is usually a little slow for my treadmill stride frequency, but I make it work.) My favorite program for this purpose is probably Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, mainly because it’s more upbeat and less serious than most of the others. (Also, it’s available On Demand via WBUR’s iPhone app, which doesn’t hurt.) It also might be my favorite because it sometimes shows the lighter side of some pretty big-name economists. (Yep, I’m talking to you, Austan Goolsbee.)
Last week’s Wait Wait had none other than Paul Krugman- Nobel Laureate, Princeton professor, New York Times blogger, etc etc.- and it was pretty good, though a solid second place to Goolsbee’s antics. You can find the stream and the transcript here, or you could just skip to the highlights, at least in my opinion:
- If Krugman is “the only economist you’ve probably ever heard of,” what did Peter Sagal say to Goolsbee when he was on? “Hey, at least people don’t know who you are so they can’t yell at you in the street?”
- I don’t know why Krugman was called the “Mick Jagger of Political Economic Punditry,” since he’s not British and has never, to my knowledge, stuck his microphone in his pants while performing.
- I really like that Krugman acknowledged that the shrill thing is kind of put on, since I feel to some degree that it makes economists look a little silly. That said, I do blame the game more than the player, since it’s hard nowadays to get anyone to listen to you in a pundit sense unless you take a rigid ideological stance and are at least a 7.5 on the bombastic/belligerent scale.
- In related news, I will ask Jarret whether Krugman is cuddly and/or ticklish.
- I find it interesting that, despite multiple inquiries into his home life, Krugman never points out that his wife is, in fact, also an economist and even one of his coauthors. (Maybe that’s why he’s never right at home. )
- The War of the Worlds reference was absolutely fantastic.
- Krugman is making the rounds to promote his latest book, so I will provide you with the obligatory link here
I’ll start paying attention to “real” news programs one of these days, I promise.
UPDATE: For those of you who are surprised that Krugman has a sense of humor (or has a thing for aliens I suppose), I would like to direct you to a 1978 paper on interstellar trade theory.