The Indicator from Planet Money - Overrated/Underrated After The Great Stagnation

There's no denying that 2020 has been a rough year, but economist Tyler Cowen brings the show a source of hope: the possible return of productivity growth. And he plays overrated/underrated! | Support public radio here.

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A1 safety card of here. This is the indicator from planet money back in 2011 Economist. Tyler Cowen published a book called The Great stagnation. The book was about productivity growth, which is an indicator that measures economic progress Innovation efficiency. And what Tyler argued in that book was kind of a bummer. I argued the rate of progress is slowing down productivity growth had been much slower in the early 20th century. Everything changed right radio comes Cars, airplanes come antibiotics clean water in the last 50 years. Well things have gotten better cars are safer. They have better sound systems, but it's basically still a car. So our society has not been advancing as quickly as it had been safe for my grandmother. But that was back in 2011. Tyler is now becoming more hopeful that the great stagnation. Of slow progress is ending maybe I was cautiously hopeful because we are

Recently finding new ways to apply technologies that scientists and businesses have been working on for decades and has an example he points to the fact that we got a covid vaccine in just nine months a record for the development of a vaccine and furthermore. It turns out in moderna. The vaccine itself was designed within 2 days due to Advanced computational Techniques. It is a sign that progress has been brewing in a way that we ourselves are just starting to become aware of and Tyler is also known here on the indicator as the inventor of a game. We like to play sometimes our guests a game called overrated or underrated. This is where we pretty much throw anything at our guests like a book and idea a trend anything and our guest then just tells us if that thing is overrated or underrated Steven Tyler's new found optimism. We have decided to play a game of overrated versus underrated with Tylertown himself, but with a futuristic twist, so we are going to assume that Tyler's Hunters write the Great

Stagnation is ending and the economy is about to start a. Of awesome Innovation more efficiency fast productivity growth and lots of progress and in this hypothetical new world. We wanted to ask Tyler. What are the things that would suddenly be underrated and what are the things that might suddenly become overrated and we're just going to go rapid fire here. Let's do this. First up. We ask Tyler about economics itself. I think economics actually becomes overrated economist's are not that great at thinking about technology. They're better for static settings normal cost benefit analysis will be overwhelmed by these Dynamic considerations 2/8 just like can't keep track. Yeah so many variables all at once things moving and directions you can anticipate there was a point of optimism here Thursday. See you cannot mix podcasts overrated or underrated.

Economic podcast with a broad variety of guests will be very underrated indeed highly excellent.

Seriously, though what Tyler was predicting is that the so-called hard Sciences chemistry math physics will become underrated at least relative to economics or sociology or the other social sciences. We may have to start dusting off our high school science textbooks speaking of which card is in a fast productivity growth World here is what Tyler thinks about books books will be overrated in this world books are static which is fine. They can communicate enduring truths. But what you ought to care about is figuring out what the heck is going on. So I'm recommending that people consume more YouTube videos because those are updated much more frequently than our books. I'm guessing. It depends on the YouTube clips, right like going to YouTube to find out if tutorial on something scientific or the cosmos or whatever is different than finding the, you know, YouTube clip where a wolf is friend.

With a kangaroo. Kangaroo is about an enduring truth that friendship transcends physical form. That was lovely break a few more overrated and underrated categories with Tyler Cowen. Including we did not back away from the hard stuff religion working from home and a surprise pick from the man himself from Tylertown.

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Picking up where we left off in a world of fast productivity growth. We asked Economist. Tyler Cowen if religion would be overrated or underrated underrated America is becoming more secular. I believe this is part of our social breakdown and as conditions become more volatile. We will need some kinds of religion more than in the last 10 or 20 years is that gives you community gives you comfort as Hedges risk that gives you a faith in the future you believe in something greater and more glorious than yourself the more volatile our times. The more useful bat is next up. We were curious about a trend that accelerated during the pandemic which is of course people working from home working remotely. Would that become overrated or underrated in the world? And what progress is also accelerating work is here to stay the value of meetings. We grossly overrated the value of business travel. We grossly overrated.

Having the highest productivity individuals in the company be free to do what they want to have his phone call with the people. They want that's going to drive a lot of innovation and productivity growth as we keep a lot of the current practices for the next decade or two. There is a personality trait that can make it easier to happily work alone remotely from your house misanthropy introversion. There. There are some misanthropic introverts I suppose but introversion Tyler says will also be underrated in this new world absolutely work is valuable people who can be at home a lot of the time and have that periodic Zoom call but work at their own pace and they don't always need to be out and about like shouting and backslapping those people become more valuable and the extroverts who feel deprived life is tougher for them because they thrive on being in the office all day and that's not how everything is going to be in 5 years time.

Rise of the introverts. Yes. Our time has finally come all the like the quiet library frequent thing public radio listening folk will rise up and like driving There Lonely isolated worlds. Finally. The Vindication is is sweet. I got to tell you it has been an extrovert world my entire life. It is true. I know I mean I do miss having a little bit for just a little bit and finally we ask Tyler to surprise us to offer is just one thing that we have not asked about that will become overrated or underrated in this new world that he is hoping is upon us having bad personal health habits will be much worse. And here's the thing. If you take good care of yourself will be a chance you'll live for the next great medical Innovation that will give you another 20 years of life. So they returned to just good habits was always underrated now, it's grossly underrated like just hang on. There's more life.

Waiting for you out there if you hang on for long enough to know by the way that you and I both need to eat less bacon. That's not a good habit. That's going to get us let us hang on until that great medical Innovation and maybe it'll be worth it. I feel like Bacon's got like the health benefits of bacon are TBD. I feel like in 2021 one of the things that's going to happen. That's going to make it better than 20/20 is the doctors are going to realize that I bacon diet actually spend if it's even know about to be able to see x-ray vision, you know, it's like extra long life low cholesterol above-average dancer or one of these computational techniques will actually design a healthy bacon and then we'll just be having bacon three times a day. See they're just so many ways that 2021 is going to be great. And I think that is a good place to close the show.

Indicator was produced by Jamila Huxtable. In fact check by Shawn. Saldania our editors Patty Hearst and the indicator is a production of NPR.

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