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Comment On: National Public Radio



One of my favorite podcasts on NPR is Planet Money.  This is a weekly radio show where they focus on one topic in depth.  While many of their shows talk about some economic related topic, other shows just focus on something not related to economics.  On the non-economics related shows they view the topics from a an economists point of view often bringing in experts to help explain things (sometimes nobel prize winners).  Viewing it like an economist really just means trying to understand things in a logical way.  Often this is from a statically valid point of view, but while listening to this show I’ve learned that isn’t the only way economists view things anymore.  There is also this whole field of behavioral economics which factors in human behaviors.  This makes everything more complex and interesting.

An interesting episode I remember was about santa suits. They used that as a springboard into tariffs and how complex the current world wide tariff system is.  They focused on one guy who many years ago fought in court to classify fancy santa suits as “festive articles” because there are lower tariffs on “festive articles” than clothing.  At the time he was making fancy santa suits in the USA and wanted that protection.  Fast forward a few years and he was now importing his fancy santa suits and in court he argued the exact opposite position that now these same fancy santa suits should be classified as “festive articles” so he could pay less on his imported suits.  Along the way I learned a lot about our tariff system and how messed up it is.

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