EconTalk: Conversations for the Curious is an award-winning weekly podcast hosted by Russ Roberts of Shalem College in Jerusalem and Stanford's Hoover Institution. The eclectic guest list includes authors, doctors, psychologists, historians, philosophers, economists, and more. Learn how the health care system really works, the serenity that comes from humility, the challenge of interpreting data, how potato chips are made, what it's like to run an upscale Manhattan restaurant, what caused the 2008 financial crisis, the nature of consciousness, and more. EconTalk has been taking the Monday out of Mondays since 2006. All 900+ episodes are available in the archive. Go to for transcripts, related resources, and comments.


Mon Feb 19 2024

A Lively Debate on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (with Robert Wright)

Israeli-Palestinian ConflictCivilian CasualtiesMedia BiasFree SpeechGlobal Politics

The podcast features a comprehensive conversation on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, covering topics such as civilian casualties, strategic considerations, cultural differences, and historical context. The discussion explores different viewpoints, delves into the events of October 7th, and highlights the resolve among soldiers and parents. Insights are provided on the proportionality of civilian casualties, the impact of media coverage, and the challenges of free speech. The episode concludes with reflections on global politics, concerns about the current political landscape, and personal anecdotes about Israel.


Mon Feb 12 2024

Year Zero of the Arab-Israeli Conflict (with Hillel Cohen)

Arab-Israeli conflict1929historical perspectivesnarrativesemotions

The podcast episode discusses the events of 1929 as a significant turning point in the Arab-Israeli conflict. It explores different perspectives, historical accuracy, narratives shaped by emotions, and the desire for morality and understanding. The current situation, Hamas charter, Israeli settlements, Zionism, opposition to a Palestinian state, and the complexity of the situation are also discussed. The episode concludes with optimism for finding a way to live together after reaching a level of bloodshed.


Mon Feb 05 2024

Should Israel Depend on the US? (with Michael Oren)

Middle EastUnited StatesIsraelGazaIran

Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the United States, discusses the unclear and changing role of the United States in the Middle East. He highlights how the Biden administration initially cold-shouldered Netanyahu and Saudi Arabia but later attempted to broker a peace agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Oren mentions that initially, the Biden administration showed unequivocal support for Israel but criticism began to mount over time regarding Israel's actions in Gaza. He questions the expectation of how many Palestinians would have been enough casualties in a brutal urban warfare situation. Oren expresses confusion about the United States' stance on Iran, as they have been attacked numerous times by Iranian-backed forces without a strong response from the US. He emphasizes that Iran is responsible for most of the violence in the region but has faced no consequences. Oren appreciates that the US has maintained two core policies: vetoing attempts to impose a ceasefire and providing ammunition to Israel. However, he remains concerned about future developments. The significance of condemnations from international bodies like the United Nations and International Court of Justice lies in their potential to serve as a basis for boycotts and sanctions against Israel.


Mon Jan 29 2024

What Palestinians Are Thinking (with Dahlia Scheindlin)

IsraelGazaArab CitizensConflictDemocracy

The episode discusses the mood in Israel since October 7th, the response of Arab citizens of Israel to the war with Gaza, fear and civil society in Israel, perception and support among Palestinians, living conditions in Gaza, political stances and solutions, a confederated approach to resolving the conflict, challenges and national narratives, democracy and identity in Israel, and the optimism and challenges faced by Israeli society.


Mon Jan 22 2024

If Life Is Random, Is It Meaningless? (with Brian Klaas)

contingencysmall changessocial science researchripple effectsuncertainty

The episode explores the concept of contingency and how small changes and decisions can have significant impacts on our lives and societies. It discusses the limitations of social science research, the interplay between contingency and convergence, and the ripple effects of our actions. The podcast also delves into the interconnectedness of events, the acceptance of uncertainty, and reevaluating what truly matters in life.


Mon Jan 15 2024

Can a Nation Plunder Its Way to Wealth (with Noah Smith)


The podcast episode features economist Noah Smith discussing the concept of wealth in nations. It explores the traditional idea of plundering resources from other nations, the difference between relative and absolute wealth, the role of industrialization and machines in wealth creation, consequences of plunder, importance of cooperation, globalization and economic nationalism, immigration and economic growth, progress of globalization and technology, and risks and optimism for the future.


Mon Jan 08 2024

The Challenge of Covering the Most Important Story on Earth (with Matti Friedman)

Israeli-Palestinian conflictMedia coverageBiasesCasualty numbersEthical considerations

The episode discusses the media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, framing of the conflict, challenges in understanding it, biases in news coverage, misunderstandings, casualty numbers, ethical considerations, and potential solutions.


Mon Jan 01 2024

From the Second Intifada to October 7th (with Daniel Gordis)

IsraelPalestineSecond IntifadaTerritorial DisputesGaza

The podcast episode features a discussion with Daniel Gordus, a distinguished fellow at Shalom College, about his perspective on Israel in light of recent events. They cover topics such as the Second Intifada, territorial disputes, concerns for the future of Jewish people, and rebuilding efforts in Gaza. The episode provides insights into the complex dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its broader implications.


Mon Dec 25 2023

Can Artificial Intelligence Be Moral? (with Paul Bloom)


The podcast episode features psychologist and author Paul Bloom discussing the moral implications of AI. The standard concerns about AI include its potential to destroy humanity and cause harm, such as unemployment, spreading fake news, and creating harmful pathogens. One proposed solution is to align AI's values with human morality, known as the alignment problem. Intelligence and morality are believed to be related, as smarter individuals can see a broader view and understand mutual benefit in interactions. However, there are different definitions of intelligence, with some viewing it as the capacity to achieve one's goals across various contexts.


Mon Dec 18 2023

An Extraordinary Introduction to the Birth of Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (with Haviv Rettig Gur)

European Jew HatredAnti-SemitismHolocaustRussian EmpireJewish Immigration

The podcast episode discusses two topics: the historical look at European Jew hatred and anti-Semitism, and the current situation in Israel during the war in Gaza. It covers various aspects such as the Holocaust, programs against Jews in the Russian Empire, Jewish immigration to the United States, violence against Jews, the desire for a Jewish state, conflicts with Arabs, debates on identity, perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, changing dynamics in Israeli society, unity and determination, key insights, and concluding thoughts.

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