Tuesday, June 01, 2010

This American Life vs 5 years of Econ grad school

This Amerian Life is my favorite NPR show, the one that got me hooked, and as my cousin E- calls it, the epitome of NPR. It has managed to stay fresh and engaging for the decade+ that I have been a fan, though in the past couple of years, the show has grown a bit tired. I attributed that in part to the new tv show which may have diverted their attentions. But they also have grown more ambitious, where instead of just focusing on quirks of daily life, they have started engaging with policy esp their planet money spinoff. The most well cited was perhaps the best reporting on the financial crisis anywhere. Healthcare was so-so. And some of the reporting on derivatives and shorts was just plain wrong.

But last week's show on Haiti summed up very well I think the most important thing I learned about economic development from 5 years of grad school (after all, trying to figure out how to fix countries like Haiti was the main reason I went to grad school to begin with). The dilemma between structure and agency. Between aid and capacity building. Good stuff.


John Paul said...

Oddly, I just started listening to This American Life and the Haiti episode was the first one I ever heard. I agree, it's a good one, and now I'm looking to hear others. Too bad the archives you either have to stream from the website or pay for the podcast. I like supporting good work, but something bugs me about paying for something that was originally free, and I will only listen to one time.

HoBs said...

the current episode of the podcast is free (and they do re-runs every other week or so). but yes, archives have to be streamed. supposedly the iphone app does the streaming pretty well, but I think I've heard most of the archive anyway.

much of the haiti episode also was done by the planet money people, and their podcasts are completely free.

their giant pool of money episode should be free, and is probably one of the most heard.