Steven Teles & Rajiv Sethi on Jailbreaking The Captured Economy (EPE 04)

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As the old nut goes, “To the victor goes the spoils.” But if each round of play consolidates the spoils into fewer hands, eventually it comes to pass that wealthy special interests twist the rules so much it undermines the game itself. When economic power overtakes the processes of democratic governance, growth stagnates, and the rift between the rich and poor becomes abyssal. Desperate times and desperate measures jeopardize the fabric of society. How might nonpartisan approaches to this wicked problem help us walk the system back into a healthy balance?

Welcome to COMPLEXITY, the official podcast of the Santa Fe Institute. I’m your host, Michael Garfield, and every other week we’ll bring you with us for far-ranging conversations with our worldwide network of rigorous researchers developing new frameworks to explain the deepest mysteries of the universe.

This week on Complexity we speak with Steven Teles, political scientist at Johns Hopkins University and SFI External Professor Rajiv Sethi, Professor of Economics at Barnard College, Columbia University about how self-serving economic actors intervene in regulation to stifle innovation, increase inequality, and contribute to the conditions in which violence can flourish. Referencing Teles’ aisle-crossing book The Captured Economy with co-author Brink Lindsey, we link the problem of regulatory capture in its myriad forms to Sethi’s work on race, inequality, and crime, which we discussed in Episode 7 (Rajiv Sethi on Crime, Stereotypes, and The Pursuit of Justice). At the interface between the left and right, public and private, our guests shed light on the forces that divide — and may help reunite — the USA and other modern nations.

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More on the Emergent Political Economies SFI Research Theme:

SFI launches new research theme on emergent political economies

Complexity 82 - David Krakauer on Emergent Political Economies and A Science of Possibility (EPE 01)

Complexity 83 - Eric Beinhocker & Diane Coyle on Rethinking Economics for A Sustainable & Prosperous World (EPE 02)

Complexity 84 - Ricardo Hausmann & J. Doyne Farmer on Evolving Technologies & Market Ecologies (EPE 03)

Referenced in (or related to) this episode:

The Captured Economy: How The Powerful Enrich Themselves, Slow Down Growth, and Increase Inequality
by Brink Lindsey and Steven Teles

Shadows of Doubt: Stereotypes, Crime, and the Pursuit of Justice
by Brendan O’Flaherty and Rajiv Sethi

Complexity 19 - David B. Kinney on the Philosophy of Science

Common as Air
by Lewis Hyde

Signalling architectures can prevent cancer evolution
by Leonardo Oña & Michael Lachmann

Scaling of urban income inequality in the USA
by Elisa Heinrich Mora, Cate Heine, Jacob J. Jackson, Geoffrey B. West, Vicky Chuqiao Yang and Christopher P. Kempes

Crime and Punishment in a Divided Society
by Rajiv Sethi

Rajiv Sethi discusses gun violence, critical race theory, and bezzles
on The Glenn Loury Show (video)
(audio-only podcast link)

The Gun Deal by Rajiv Sethi (Substack)

Rajiv Sethi reviews Boldrin/Levine’s Against Intellectual Monopoly

Steven Teles and Brink Lindsey on EconTalk with Russ Roberts

Is Nothing Sacred? Rajiv Sethi on Salman Rushdie (Substack)

Rajiv Sethi with Bari Weiss and David French on gun violence

Rajiv Sethi on James Tobin’s Hirsch Lecture on Functional Inefficiency in Finance (Substack)

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