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Nicholas Gruen

Nicholas Gruen

By Nicholas Gruen
When I remember, I try to upload media interviews and podcasts I've done here.
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How come stoicism is suddenly a thing?

Nicholas Gruen

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Could social media drive better civic conversation?
This discussion with David Thunder arose from my criticism of his embrace of free speech in response to his being thrown off Twitter. As I explained, I sympathised with what had happened to him. Twitter had no business throwing off someone who was clearly in good faith and seeking to debate substantial issues in a reality-based way. But as we discuss, I still thought that the issues are far from straightforward.  The audio of this discussion can be found here. The video is here.
01:15:24
May 22, 2022
Fast foodification: what is it, what's driving it, how do we stop it?
In this discussion, Peyton Bowman and I discuss my term ‘fast-foodification’. I coined the word trying to describe modern politics. The techniques used by politicians and their professional enablers are optimised to attract votes in the same way that McDonalds and KFC optimise their food with salt, sugar and fat to attract sales. We also discuss other areas characterised by fast-foodification.  And we look at the question of what psychologists call ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ preferences — namely what we want as compared with what we want to want. Growing as people involves a process of schooling tastes to acquire better ones. We might want to get fit, find going to the gym a chore for a while as we get used to it, but once we’re habituated to it we don’t want to miss our session.  Many things in human flourishing are like this as we school ourselves and habituate ourselves to better tastes and better behaviour.   Finally, having both agreed that capitalism and competition for votes tends to reinforce primary preferences — we discuss what institutions might encourage a culture in which secondary preferences might be nurtured. The video is available here. 
48:12
May 20, 2022
Death by wellbeing
An interview with Tyson Yunkaporta on wellbeing.  The idea of targeting government policy on wellbeing is a great opportunity to do things differently and better. Alas the way we're doing it, wellbeing means little and its presence in policy is rather like the theme at a ball. The New Zealand government tells us that it's targetting wellbeing in its budget, but if you look closely it's doing nothing of the kind. It tells us that its wellbeing budget has five 'themes' or priorities, but where did they come from. Did the literature or any other serious endeavour determine that. Not a bit of it. It was government spin. Some of the themes seem likely to correlate with wellbeing, but the wellbeing impacts of the new policy is not measured so we won't know how much they contribute to wellbeing. Others — like innovation — are a simple rebadging. They'd be in a non-wellbeing themed budget.  You can also watch the interview here. (https://youtu.be/ra4OFTl4lb8)
01:12:02
May 06, 2022
Building institutions for human flourishing
I really enjoyed this conversation with my friend Peyton Bowman and I explore this tantalising suggestion in Elinor Ostrom’s speech accepting the 2009 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics:      Designing institutions to force (or nudge) entirely self-interested individuals      to achieve better outcomes has been the major goal posited by policy analysts      for much of the past half-century. Extensive empirical research leads me to      argue that instead, a core goal of public policy should be to facilitate the      development of institutions that bring out the best in humans.   We explore various ways in which the world we’ve built following the first strategy predicated on people’s self-interestedness has undermined the better angels of our nature. And we explore the institutions we might build to embrace the second strategy — to build the institutions of human flourishing.     Without suggesting we can set the clock back, we look at what we’ve lost in amateur and community based sport as sport has become more professionalised and commercialised.   We then discuss various ways in which people put boundaries around competition — for instance with rules against conflict of interest. And we look at something I think is a big deal. I call them “de-competitive” institutions. These involve mechanisms of selection which are not competitive. This is particularly interesting where merit is selected without competition between the population from whom the most meritorious are selected. We conclude with a quick look at something we'll explore later in greater depth. Hyper-competition produces ‘fast-foodification’ — a process whereby competitive strategies frustrate the  development of better habits of mind and body. Though there are a few slides, you'll be able to easily follow along without looking at them. If you'd like to see them, they're here. The video can be seen here. 
55:26
April 15, 2022
The public goods of the 21st-century
In this conversation, Peyton Bowman and I complete the elaboration of what I’ve suggested are the four principles of a flourishing society. We do so via an extension of the economists’ notion of the complementarity of public and private goods. For economists, those goods you buy in the market are private goods. Competition is also a good thing in ensuring those private goods are the best they can be. But we also need public goods — which are goods markets won’t provide. In this schema, cars are private goods and roads are public goods. But where economists apply this idea to goods, in this conversation we explore how they can be extended to social institutions. A line to get onto a bus, a game of tennis — even a conversation — are all what I call ‘ecologies’ of public and private goods. And that gives us a key to what’s gone wrong in our world. Because more and more the ecology of our institutions is becoming unbalanced and unhealthy, as what should be shared is colonised by powerful special interests. The video is here.
37:08
April 07, 2022
Mark Zuckerberg or Muhammad Yunus?
What's your vision for success as a start-up entrepreneur. Would you rather be Mark Zuckerberg worth tens of billions of dollars or Muhammad Yunus whose development of micro-credit in poor countries has lifted millions from poverty? (Oh and he'll never want for money as he won the Nobel Peace Prize and can pick up $75,000 for a speech). Of course, he could want for more, owning billions instead of millions, but how much extra satisfaction would it buy him?    This is the way I crystalised a choice lots of modern start-ups need to make, and certainly, one that the company I've invested in — Speedlancer — may find itself making. Because any builder of a platform is a builder of a public good. And one can build it to maximise profit or one can build it to maximise the value it creates. But here's the thing. Because of the extraordinary productivity of platforms, certainly early on in their lives, the most successful platforms are often the ones that focus most on maxing out the value they create with monetising that value thought of as the next stage of the plan. As Paul Graham suggests the first, hardest problem is to build something great. He argues that that's why so many of the most successful start ups look like not for profits for the early part of their existence — they're just focused on their customers, their suppliers, their tech and how it all fits together. That's hard.  Anyway, that's my vision for Speedlancer. I can't say it's official policy, but it's how I think it might change the world. So enjoy the interview, which was conducted for Speedlancer to give me an opportunity to convey these ideas. And if you want to watch the video of the interview, it's here. 
01:02:16
April 07, 2022
Four foundational principles for a flourishing organisation or society: Part Two
This was a second discussion of my framework of four principles needed for a healthy organisation or political system. We began the discussion considering Elon Musk's recent complaint about censorship on social media. We reprised the basic principles we discussed last week and showed how they helped us understand Musk’s claim and why any ‘free speech’ alternative to existing dominant social media platforms is likely to run into similar dilemmas to them — even if it can get enough subscribers to become a force. I also refer to my comments on this post which elaborate these ideas further. I also explain the fourth principle in the framework — merit — using the example of Wikipedia and open-source software. While we're in love with how 'democratic' and open these production methods are, while this is beneficial, the real 'secret sauce' of these extraordinary new production methods is not their radical openness and connectedness but that they have found a new and very effective way of building meritocracies. Anyone can contribute and, by doing so can work their way into a position of greater respect, standing and authority. If this was not in place, opening up their production process to all comers would lead to chaos, not the miracles to which it has. If you prefer the video, you can find it here.
37:46
April 01, 2022
What are we missing? Foundational principles from the deep
I explore a way I've come to think about society with my friend Peyton Bowman (https://www.protoclassic.com/paying-attention/) and represent in a diagram which is the first slide in these slides. (pptx, pdf.) (Note only the first two slides were used in this talk). The diagram illustrates the principles which should characterise communication within any kind of community — in which I include organisations like a firm or something larger like a national polity. Isegoria — or equality of speech — is a 'horizontal' value — calling for everyone to be heard no matter their status in society. But, the ‘vertical’ concept of parrhēsia is also absent. “Parrhēsia’ is usually translated as 'freedom of speech', but it’s a richer idea infused with mutual ethical obligation. It is the importance of speaking truth to power, but it also entails the powerful's duty to listen to what they're being told. In our society those lower down are mostly expected to flatter those above, and so they 'gild the lily', and tell the kinds of stories the powerful want to be told. The result is lies all the way up the line. We explore these ideas in the classroom and then in organisations. I use the example of Toyota which shows how empowering those on the line is an astoundingly more productive way to make cars efficiently than having people directed by, and fearful of, those above.   There are two other orders within which we explore these ideas. Throughout the discussion, we refer back to political life, and towards the end we also talk about science, which also enables us to discuss an additional concept in the diagram, the notion of fidelity. That leaves a fourth principle ‘merit’ to be explained in a future discussion!
51:53
March 25, 2022
Will you join me in the alt-centre?
In this video Peyton Bowman and I explore aspects of my blog post "Will you join me in the alt-centre?". I initially coined the term “alt-centre” light-heartedly, but, like many such things, having put it up there, I think it might be about something real.  An earlier iteration of my centrism is here.  But that was then.  Now I’d say, how about a fusion of Alasdair MacIntyre, James Burnham and George Orwell together with the idea that outputs from modern academia are mostly useless?   And, in this discussion, as I do in my post, we explore James Burnham's argument that over nine-tenths of political discussion — from the heights of political theory right down to discussions in the street is fatally infected with wish fulfilment, rather than a proper engagement with the problems of the world and what we can practically do about them.    I illustrate this by referring to the much relied on the distinction between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome noting that neither actually exists in the world. They're abstractions. More to the point, if you give one generation equality of opportunity, its children will not have equality of opportunity because the children of people who've not done well will start disadvantaged. And yet the concept is bandied about in political discussion as if it were far more determinative than it is. We go on to discuss a range of questions such as the role that our values — and our wishes — should play in political discussion and the way in which various practices associated with wokedom, often have more to do with organisations protecting themselves from risk than they do with helping address difficult issues. As such, when organisations regulate conduct to take these ideas into account, they often do so to make them disappear rather than to engage with them. These ideas are explored further in this blog post.
36:48
March 18, 2022
How come stoicism is suddenly a thing?
A quick browse of the self-help section of your local bookstore will show you that Stoicism has become popular in the last decade or so with a strong surge during the pandemic. Peyton Bowman and I discuss this phenomenon alongside of my own interest in the ethics of the ancient world and my dissatisfaction with contemporary moral systems — something I discussed in this essay which we discuss. Peyton suggests that Stoicism is appealing because it speaks to our need to take what ends we're required to achieve in our jobs and our life and to make the most of our situation. Modern Stoicism seems to emphasize what’s sometimes called the dichotomy of control, an idea traced back to the 1st-2nd century philosopher, Epictetus.  People, he believed, can’t be held responsible for things beyond their control — it’s essentially pointless, then, to worry about anything except that which one can control. In the modern context, Peyton contends that this makes the philosophy extremely compatible with people inside organizations or bureaucracies which dictate the ends to which people's work will be directed — those people being the means of achieving those given ends.   Of course, as a system of ethics, modern Stoicism is not blind to the worth or otherwise of our labour — and has its own ideas about how virtue works in the modern world — but this along with other aspects of ancient Stoicism seem to receive less emphasis. Towards the end of the discussion I talk about Effective Altruism, what a great thing it is, and also how much it bugs me and why :) The video of the discussion is on YouTube here.
46:03
March 11, 2022
How Volodymyr Zelenskyy sent courage viral
From 2GB's website Luke Grants chats to Dr Nicholas Gruen, the CEO of Lateral Economics, who argues that Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is playing the role Winston Churchill played in 1940.  In a world bathed in BS, Zelenskyy’s physical courage actually makes a greater contribution today than it did in Churchill’s time. He says Zelinsky cuts through the BS, he means what he says and it’s as simple as just his actions move us because he’s doing his job, like the captain of an old ship that has foundered committing themself to save all or go down with the ship. He says we’re now in a different world to that, where politicians never say quite what they mean.
16:13
March 10, 2022
How Volodymyr Zelenskyy sent courage viral
Another great discussion with my friend Peyton Bowman. We began with a passage from William James on faith. Though the essay does discuss religious faith, it starts more mundanely, speaking of the way faith makes community life possible by knitting people together in bonds of mutual rights and obligations.  One implication is that social life is necessarily a network phenomenon. Further, even without this, it is 'kaleidic'. That is, an apparently small change can make all the difference between the way the whole scene looks — and can for instance throw the switch from pessimism to optimism. This kind of thing often happens in the economy. People's pessimism is mutually reinforcing and depresses the economy generally, until one day when things change and their optimism becomes reinforcing.  We then talk about the different metaphors for society and community. In ancient and early modern thinking, society is often conceived of as being like a human body with government being the brain. Peyton then discusses a speech by the Roman statesman Agrippa which references the stomach as the 'social body'. I think this switch helps us spot some of our modern hubris.  I argue that Zelenskyy is playing the role Winston Churchill played in 1940, but that in a world bathed in bullshit, Zelenskyy's physical courage makes a greater contribution today than it did in Churchill's time. It cuts through the bullshit, it demonstrates that he's not just another bullshit artist. He means what he says. And I cavil at the cliché that he's is 'inspirational'. He is, but the word is so bandied about that we're dead to it.  I focus on something closer to home, more humdrum and, because of it more profound. Zelenskyy's actions move us because he did his job, like the captain of a ship that has foundered committing themself to save all it or go down with the ship. And we're in a different world to that. Where politicians never say quite what they mean (why — because if they did we wouldn't vote for them!), and where our own job may not make that much sense, and whether it does or not everyone's keeping their eye on their next career move. In any event, the contrast Zelenskyy's actions made with all this were enough to set a cascade of effects going, as we have seen in the last week.  As much as we buy into the magnificence of these actions and the courage they showed, we end on the note of prudence. We are talking about heightened conflict between nations that can with the press of a button — including as a result of miscalculation, misunderstanding or more mundane cockup — annihilate all that we value. 
46:33
March 04, 2022
Tackling American Autocracy: That Trippi Show
Joe Trippi was the campaign manager who first worked out how to use the internet in campaigning. I met him about a decade ago and was fascinated with his campaigning exploits — including taking Howard Dean from backmarker to presidential frontrunner in 2004. Many of the architects of the online campaigning that took Obama to the White House came from the Dean campaign that Joe engineered.   Anyway, in this podcast we talk a little about how even back then I had a more wary expectation of how things would turn out. See for instance this essay. And I was also thinking about the way citizens’ juries could detox our politics. Since Joe's trying to save democracy from further degeneration, we talked about what it could contribute in our current dire times. The interview was recorded before Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
34:51
March 03, 2022
Democracy works to exclude everyday people: Me on 2GB
From 2GB's website: Luke Grant is joined by Dr Nicholas Gruen, Lateral Economics’ CEO & Index author and a thinker who doesn’t mind challenging the norms and we love that on this programme. Most people would say those who occupy seats in our various parliaments and councils are not always seen as being in touch with us ordinary folk or even worse, not always putting our best interests first in their deliberations. Today we should be seeking to balance representation by election with representation by sortation as occurs, in juries by random selection from the citizenry. I’ll elaborate more on this in a subsequent essay. Luke and Mr Gruen discuss doing politics better with an old idea that may just have found relevance today.
17:13
February 25, 2022
Love, truth, freedom and flattery: Mal Meninga v King Lear
I really enjoyed this conversation with Peyton Bowman (https://www.protoclassic.com/paying-attention/). We were both quite taken with how much the simple story of Mal Meninga's famous 30-second political career had resonated with us and with our audience. It turned out that the story prompted quite a bit of further thought which was worth taking further. So we did.    Meninga's political career can be seen in its entirety on this video. The passage I read out on lying in organisations can be found here. And Act 1 of King Lear is here.
45:13
February 24, 2022
Mal Meninga and virtue in politics
Tyson Yunkaporta was greatly taken with the story of Mal Meninga's thirty-second political career, ending when he realised he couldn't go through the falsity, bullshit and self-importance of campaigning. I mentioned this in my weekly newsletter when I was contacted by someone in Ohio who had a similar revulsion of political business-as-usual but who is hoping to parlay that into a campaign for a citizens' assembly in Ohio. That and much more in our long and winding conversation. 
01:16:20
February 22, 2022
Toxic Careerism in Politics
Peyton and I start from the first heading of an article in which I first tried to summarise the attractions of random selection or 'sortition' as a means by which we might heal our beleaguered democracies. We go on to discuss an idea of mine which I've begun writing on which is this. The thing we're most proud of about democracy is its egalitarian nature. But a democracy will founder if those within it are not infused with a sense of their own duties to do the right thing. Yet in establishing democracy through elections the norms of democracy ultimately gravitate towards whatever is most effective at securing votes. This leads to a remarkable illustration of these principles on Sept 24 in 2001 when a former captain of the Australian Rugby League team gave his first political interview. As you'll see, he took his own sense of what he was and was not prepared to do into the interview. What happened next made him a minor legend of Australian politics. Right now in Ohio there's someone who feels just as he did, but it's led him to make some different choices.  
33:29
February 17, 2022
Knowledge and its enemies
Working away on some explainer videos, we discuss the script for an explainer video which is currently called "Knowledge and its enemies" — currently because it's not yet been produced and we might change its name.  The script begins "Meet Socrates The Delphic Oracle proclaimed him Greece’s wisest man Incredulous, he searched high and low for someone wiser. Expert craftsmen had more technical skill, but that fed their vanity. So they pontificated on subjects they knew nothing about. At bottom, Socratic wisdom is an ethical idea — that vanity is the enemy of wisdom. If you’re wise, you’re radically humble — the more you learn, the more you realise how little you know. The cathedral of modern science was built on this idea. That, as much as it offends our vanity, true knowledge begins with scepticism about how much we really know. And whatever our reputation, the limits of our knowledge must be relentlessly tested against reality. But somehow we never got the memo. The enemies of truth-telling remain — deep in our psyche as virulent as ever. …"
36:47
February 11, 2022
With Crikey's Bernard Keane on democracy, corruption and citizens' assemblies.
As part of Crikey's Democracy Lost series, Crikey's political editor Bernard Keane conducted an extended discussion with Nicholas Gruen on Christmas Eve. Nicholas is one of Australia's finest public policy intellectuals and has written on an extraordinary array of issues while working as a ministerial adviser, Productivity Commissioner, academic and investor. He is also an advocate for citizens' assemblies, and argues that they offer a solution to some of the complex problems besetting our democracy, as well as overcoming the opposition of vested interests to much-needed reforms. He explains why in nearly an hour of free-wheeling discussion.
01:01:06
February 11, 2022
Thermonuclear terms
Another enjoyable discussion with P. Bowman in which we range over the pros and cons of the numerous terms that have come to prominence in our language over the last decade. Words like 'gaslighting' and 'microaggression'. What's distinctive about these terms is firstly their preparedness to break the 'forth wall' of a conversation. They allow one to address not just the words and arguments that others have used but also their intent or even their unintended effects. The result is the prospect of great addition to our language, but more often its weaponisation. 
47:31
February 03, 2022
We need the eggs: How keeping up appearances keeps us from the truth
In this chat we start from an essay of mine called 'needing the eggs'.* We talk about how so much of what matters takes place in all those ways in which what people say and what they do differ — in a thousand ways subtle and not so subtle. Towards the end of the discussion, we also talk about the prospect of a 'new professionalism' in preference to the managerialism of strategies and KPIs (which is always at risk of falling into roleplay) and also in preference to the 'old professionalism' which was replaced by managerialism. We'll explore an institutional framework which might enable us to develop that kind of professionalism in a future discussion.   *It's not been published but DM @ngruen1 at Twitter for access to it. 
35:22
January 28, 2022
Discussion with Leon Delaney with Canberra Radio station 2CC
This was a fun interview with Leon Delaney about the business of putting a dollar value on mental illness and indeed on death itself. 
05:46
January 27, 2022
Wellbeing, mental health and COVID
I enjoyed this chat with Luke Grant on the Herald/Age Lateral Economics (HALE) Index of wellbeing and our finding that the mental health impact of lockdowns had cost around $13 billion dollars over the course of the last couple of years. But there's much more to the story than that. Here's the story as published in the Sydney Morning Herald and Age. 
17:31
January 25, 2022
The art of the short rising ball: getting to where the conversation should be at
In this discussion, I discuss where my approach to economics came from, how from the beginning I'd tried to steer economic policy making away from tribal disputes to find what the parties could agree on and how I started generalising that approach much more widely than economics. 
51:08
January 20, 2022
Paying attention and thinking about politics
P Bowman and Nicholas Gruen on 13th Jan 2022.  Following up on our last discussion in about the significance of paying attention to things that surprise you or deviations between the way people describe their behaviour or their situation and what one can observe we explore similar questions in the world of politics.  We begin by discussing this post on my distinction between policy ideas and policy hacks, and, later in the podcast talk about James Burnham's devastating critique of political thought as wish fulfilment. Viz: It would be a great error to suppose that Dante’s method, in De Monarchia, is outworn. His method is exactly that of the Democratic Platform with which we began our inquiry. It has been and continues to be the method of nine-tenths, yes, much more than nine-tenths, of all writing and speaking in the field of politics. The myths, the ghosts, the idealistic abstractions, change name and form, but the method persistently remains. It is, then, important to be entirely clear about the general features of this method.
54:12
January 14, 2022
The art of paying attention
I enjoyed this conversation with P Bowman, a super thoughtful fellow with whom I've been discussing some possible collaborations. The conversation began with him asking me why I come up short when people ask me for books to read that will enable them to more fully understand things I've said. Short answer: because I didn't get my ideas out of books and I didn't get them by 'applying' some professional training I've had in economics or anywhere else. Of course those things provide a backdrop and a box of tools, but I cooked up my ideas slowly by paying attention and pondering things that surprised me. Anyway, what good is a short answer when you can give a long answer? It was a fun and quite wide ranging conversation. It's also a bit amusing to reflect that while I begin by saying that I can't provide people with 'tips and tricks' to think better, I end up offering some — well let's call them tips and tricks ;) (Apologies for some background noise during the recording.)
49:07
January 09, 2022
Rethinking democracy with juries: Podcast with Jim O'Shaugnessey on Infinite Loops
From Infinite Loops Nicholas Gruen is a widely published policy economist, entrepreneur and commentator. He has advised Cabinet Ministers, sat on Australia’s Productivity Commission and founded Lateral Economics and Peach Financial. We discuss: Fast foodification of Democracy Isegoria, or equality of speech Pros and Cons of a citizen jury How citizen juries help in nuanced policy discussions Using philanthropy for political experiments And MUCH more! Follow Nicholas on Twitter at https://twitter.com/NGruen1 and read his essays at https://clubtroppo.com.au
01:11:20
December 28, 2021
Skimming the surface or plumbing the depths
Social and marketing researchers run focus groups to find out what people are thinking. But usually they skim the surface to find out people's concerns so they can parrot them back to them. This is good for campaigning and marketing, but it skims the surface of people's thinking. It doesn't require them to deliberate and it doesn't elicit HOW MUCH they care about things. Plumbing those depths requires a different approach — for instance one in which you get people to deliberate and, even better, make difficult choices that enable you to see how much they care about things compared with others. 
10:44
December 12, 2021
A people's bank
An interview on The Wire following the Greens picking up my Central banking for all. You may also be interested in my piece for the FT on central bank digital currency. 
04:38
December 08, 2021
Disequilibrium and Musical Chairs
Another podcast with Tyson Yunkaporta. Here's his introduction …  Friend of the pod, Nicholas Gruen, tries to help me get to the bottom of my theories about supply and demand. Turns out economics as a discipline is so opaque that it's turtles all the way down and there's no proof to be found - just interesting perspectives through stories about property auction smoking ceremonies and Mafia internships.
01:07:21
December 05, 2021
Hegel, Fidelio and Emu: Podcast with Tyson Yunkaporta
Here's how Tyson describes this exchange:  Nicholas Gruen is a white Kant philosopher who keeps talking to me about Western philosophers when I'm supposed to be working. We kick this one off with a Fidelio monologue I wrote for the Opera House this season, while I try to finish a chapter on the Enlightenment and Nicholas tells me the best bits of the Age of Reason that will be worth keeping after the global economic system collapses. And I get schooled on my "vulgar Marxist interpretation" of Hegel, which I completely deserve.
01:00:05
December 05, 2021
Jokes and other things with Tyson Yunkaporta Oct 2021
A long chat prompted by the issues in this essay — "Needing the eggs: 70 years of going through the motions". 
01:21:21
October 12, 2021
Prominent Australian economist Dr Nicholas Gruen gives his thoughts on both David Graeber's BS jobs thesis and Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs)
I talk to friend and collegue Gene Tunny who's doing a great job running an economics podcast from Brisbane. From his shownotes: David Graeber's BS jobs thesis (previously covered in EP95) lacks microeconomic foundations, according to Dr Nicholas Gruen. In EP97, Economics Explored host Gene Tunny speaks with Nicholas about BS jobs and also about Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). Nicholas is a big believer in the potential of CBDC, which he has written about in the Financial Times. Links relevant to the conversation Re. BS jobs: https://queenslandeconomywatch.com/2021/07/10/people-escaping-bs-jobs-covered-in-my-latest-podcast-episode-and-going-into-business-for-themselves/#comments https://www.griffithreview.com/articles/trust-competition-delusion-gruen/ Re: CBDCs: https://clubtroppo.com.au/2021/05/19/central-banks-get-serious-on-digital-currencies-2/ https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/central-bank-digital-currency-cbdc.asp https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/quarterly-bulletin/2014/q1/money-creation-in-the-modern-economy
55:45
July 25, 2021
The placebo effect is too valuable to ignore
If we're testing a drug, we want to make sure that it works better than a placebo (like a sugar pill). But if the placebo effect is real we shouldn't ignore it. Our medicine should mobilise it to improve health and to do that it needs to understand it better. 
09:60
June 25, 2021
Eureka Podcast: Nicholas Gruen talks with Misha Saul
From Misha's website Nicholas is a prominent Australian economist and has chaired various Australian government groups and initiatives as well as Kaggle, where he was an early investor. Lindsay Tanner has described him as "Australia's foremost public intellectual". We cover: Toyota, Tech and Isegoria Problems with technological scale vs human-centred design Our inability to solve child abuse and indigenous disadvantage Corporate value phoniness The surreal waste of government programs Mentorship Interesting people Investment philosophy The Australian Dream and Australian identity The meaning of life and what Nicholas would do with a billion dollars New banking initiatives Plain packaging cigarettes Regrets and the long shadow of the Holocaust A Poem Advice he’d give his younger self “We need the eggs”, a joke that gets better with age https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-M3Q2zhGd4 The poem Nicholas recites is from The Fiftieth Gate: A Journey Through Memory by Mark Raphael Baker, and I extract it and its lead in sentence below: "My parents sing a Yiddish lullaby to their numerous grandchildren about what might have been: ”Sleep now child, my pretty one Close your dark eyes. A little boy who has all his teeth Still needs his mother to sing him to sleep? A little bly who has all his teeth And will soon attend cheder. There he will study Torah and Talmud But still he cries when mother rocks him to sleep. A little boy who will become a great scholar And a successful business man as well. A little boy who’ll grow to be a bridegroom Has soaked his bed as if he’s in a pool. So hush-a-bye my clever little bridegroom Meanwhile you lie wet in your cradle. Your mother will shed many a tear Before you grow to be a man. Shloft zhe mir maybe eltern, maybe sheyne Sleep my dear parents but do not dream. Tomorrow your children will shed your tears, Tuck your memories in bed and say goodnight.”
01:36:49
June 16, 2021
The Greatest Music of All Time: Nicholas Gruen edition
Nicholas Gruen speaks to Tom about his favourite records, including Paul Simon's "The Boy In The Bubble", how the demise of pop culture and politics began with fast food and continued with social media, his book, "Together: rethinking community and competition in the age of Facebook" and how he thinks we could fix our ailing democracies: https://tinyurl.com/36wpd255.
01:35:27
June 16, 2021
My Favourite Economist on the micro-economics of the miracle of the internet
In physics, we’re used to the idea that at different scales and at different stages of some process, very different things happen. We inhabit Newton’s world of medium-sized things and speeds – planets, trees, footballs and travel at walking, driving or flying speed – even space station speed. When things get very big or fast – intergalactic or close to the speed of light – very strange things happen that defy our own intuitions. And inside atoms when things get even weirder. Likewise during a ‘phase transition’ of some matter from one phase to another – from solid to liquid for instance – strange and counterintuitive things happen. Something  similar has happened on the internet where transactions costs have fallen to near zero. And strange and fascinating things are happening. Anyway, I’ve been mulling over this for a while now, and verily, along comes this compelling OECD study of the internet. So I’ve written it up in this week’s column in the Age and SMH. From: ClubTroppo, Nov 2012
13:35
May 28, 2021
Nicholas Gruen on the value of public data and scientific infrastructure
From ABC Radio National's Science Show.  We hear people criticise the cost of the census. In Australia it happens every five years. There is also debate over the collection of medical data. Nicholas Gruen has studied the value of public information such as that provided by the census. He says there are clear cost benefits to collecting data and making it available. The Public Health Research Network generates $16 for each dollar spent on it. And the census generates $6 for each dollar spent. Originally broadcast on Sat 18 Jan 2020.
06:07
April 08, 2021
The case for more independent fiscal policy has never been stronger
In a March 2021 Financial Times article Dr Nicholas Gruen proposed an independent fiscal policy advisory body so that fiscal policy is freed from political tinkering. Economics Explored host Gene Tunny speaks with Dr Gruen about his proposal in this episode.
36:52
April 04, 2021
Objectivity in science and the art of evidence based policy
Nicholas Gruen is interviewed by Michael Lester for Northern Beaches Radio on this essay. 
30:20
February 09, 2021
2.0 Is Changing Definitions Of Public Goods. Or Is It?
Nicholas Gruen, economist and former chair of the Australian Gov 2.0 Taskforce debates the ways in which 2.0 thinking and technologies are changing economic definitions of public goods. Podcast with John Wells, June 7th, 2012 
31:05
January 26, 2021
Intellectual property: High handed conduct, low hanging fruit
A presentation to the Australian Digital Alliance Policy Forum National Library of Australia , Canberra, 4th March, 2011
39:03
January 26, 2021
Nicholas Gruen on Modern Monetary Theory
From the QAV podcast
58:46
November 28, 2020
Should we select the upper house by lot?
Discussion on Afternoons with Sonya Feldhoff, ABC Radio Adelaide, 20th Sept, 2020
31:05
November 18, 2020
Nicholas Gruen on evidence-based policy and the Evaluator General
Other relevant links are as follows The Catch 22 at the heart of evidence-based policy or our failure at it A submission to the Thodey Review proposing the Evaluator General  The Evaluator General can generate a new professionalism 
56:26
May 20, 2020
Coronavirus: decision making give uncertainty
In this interview, I discuss how Coronavirus provides us with an example of decision making under uncertainty. Although it is a case of decision making under EXTREME uncertainty, a great deal of policy making, I'd say most, should be understood as essentially the same. It might be more 'normal' but what stands out is our ignorance. Certainly in the social sciences, we should never forget how profoundly ignorant we are.   
38:35
March 26, 2020
The competition delusion
An interview I did on the ABC program Future Tense on my Griffith Review article "Trust and the competition delusion". 
11:59
February 11, 2020
What economic reform thinking might have looked like – if we’d bothered to do it. With Martin Wolf
A talk given in London on Nov 14th 2018. This was the paper distributed with the talk, itself 'internationalised' from this essay which focuses on Australia – the slides of which can be downloaded from this link.
01:27:44
January 03, 2020
Nicholas Gruen is interviewed by Gene Tunny on innovation (with some discussion of democracy)
Gene Tunny has provided the following program notes on his own podcast. In this episode, Economics Explained host Gene Tunny discusses innovation and digital public goods with his colleague Dr Nicholas Gruen, CEO of Lateral Economics. Nicholas is a well-known Australian economist, entrepreneur, and angel investor. Australia’s former Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner once described Nicholas as “Australia’s foremost public intellectual.” Many listeners will know of Nicholas’s work, through his published articles, reports and blog posts at Club Troppo and the Mandarin. He’s frequently quoted in national and international media, including the Financial Times. It’s challenging to summarise Nicholas’s wide-ranging career. He’s worked as a ministerial adviser and as a member of the Productivity Commission, and he has chaired several boards, including those of the Australian Centre for Social Innovation, Innovation Australia, and, in its early days, the data science start up Kaggle, which was later acquired by Google. Nicholas certainly has the track record to be a credible authority on innovation. Gene's wide ranging conversation with Nicholas includes discussion of: innovation knowledge as a public good digital public goods government as impresario Nicholas's upcoming book on the public goods of the 21st century climate change policy citizens' juries If you're interested in Nicholas's Government as Impresario report mentioned in the podcast, you can find it on the Nesta website: Government as Impresario
56:23
November 02, 2019
The Competition Delusion Episode 1
Whether or not we have private affluence and public squalor in the economy generally as J.K. Galbraith argued regarding the American economy in the 1950s, we have it in the world of ideas. 
10:21
November 01, 2019
Fiscal Position - Sep 2019
..
08:25
October 15, 2019
2.0 Is Changing Definitions Of Public Goods. Or Is It?
In an interview with Radio2.0, Nicholas Gruen, economist and former chair of the Australian Gov 2.0 Taskforce debates the ways in which 2.0 thinking and technologies are changing economic definitions of public goods. In this far-ranging discussion, Nicholas explains how Gov 2.0 is a nexus between 'Jefferson's dream' of the transformative potential of ideas as public goods, and 'Schumpeter's nightmare' of the chaos of direct democracy.  He argues that democracy is chaos unless it's mediated by specialists, and that the social web actually makes it harder to get the leaders we need to govern.
31:05
April 17, 2019
Gruen on Krugman
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
13:26
August 08, 2018
Economic Forecasting - Aug 2018
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
09:36
August 08, 2018
Internet and Phone Infrastructure MFE- Mar 2018
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
13:31
August 08, 2018
Public and Private Goods MFE Mar 2018
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
17:33
August 08, 2018
Brexit- Nov 2017
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
05:44
August 08, 2018
Wellbeing Frameworks - Aug 2017
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
11:18
August 08, 2018
Central Banking for All - Apr 2017
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
09:46
August 08, 2018
TACSI launches open source human services in Australia Sep 2016
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
16:12
August 08, 2018
Efficacy in human services and the Evaluator General Aug 2016
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
10:56
August 08, 2018
Elite tribalism and the new ruling class (Meritocracy) MFE Jul 2016
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
13:30
August 08, 2018
No-pain-no-gain High-road-low-road MFE Mar 2016
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
16:36
August 08, 2018
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Mar 2016
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
11:29
August 08, 2018
Stimulus , secular stagnation, what to do in the next recession MFE Feb 2016
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
18:16
August 08, 2018
Platform for the Arts in review format MFE Oct 2015
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
13:13
August 08, 2018
Bitcoin interview 2 MFE Aug 2015
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
15:42
August 08, 2018
Bitcoin interview Aug 2015
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
24:06
August 08, 2018
Deliberative democracy MFE July 2015
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
14:48
August 08, 2018
Data as property Part 1 and 2 MFE Mar 2015
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
20:33
August 08, 2018
Ageing - Walter Williams Feb 2015
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
20:04
August 08, 2018
Greek Crisis - MFE Jan 2015
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
12:30
August 08, 2018
Bullshit MFE Nov 2014
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
16:01
August 08, 2018
Reinventing Reform MFE - Sept 2014
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
14:16
August 08, 2018
Nudge MFE - August 2014
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
19:05
August 08, 2018
Grattan panel on Superannuation July 2014
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
01:16:54
August 08, 2018
Nudge Nudge Wink Wink MFE June 2014
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
16:18
August 08, 2018
Family by Family Linda Mottram April 2014
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
12:17
August 08, 2018
Political Correctness MFE - Dec 2013
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
20:52
August 08, 2018
Workplaces and Open Data -MFE May 2013
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
22:06
August 08, 2018
What should we make NG - May 2013
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
13:55
August 08, 2018
Beyond voxpop democracy - deepening democracy in the internet - Apr 2012
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
13:37
August 08, 2018
Car-Industry - James O'Loghlin - Feb 2012
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
23:09
August 08, 2018
Adam Smith Counterpoint 2009
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
13:26
August 08, 2018
Spin in politics - Aug 2010
Stopping political dependence on spin
16:12
August 08, 2018
Open government (Gov 2.0 initiatives) and federal election campaign Aug 2010
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
28:46
August 08, 2018
Adam Smith is to markets as Jane Austen is to marriage- Apr 2009
Latest episode of Nicholas Gruen
11:49
August 08, 2018