How Stupid Is Our Obsession With Lawns?

Season 6, Episode 44 This week on Freakonomics Radio: why are we so obsessed with lawns? Plus: Stephen J. Dubner talks to the British political operative trying to launch the United States’s next political revolution. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “How Stupid Is Our Obsession With Lawns?” and […]

Why Cities Rock

Season 6, Episode 39 This week on Freakonomics Radio: could it be that cities are humanity’s greatest invention? Is it possible that, despite their reputation as soot-spewing engines of doom, they make us richer, smarter, happier and (gulp) greener? Plus: Stephen Dubner speaks with Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles. To find out more, check […]

How Stupid Is Our Obsession With Lawns?

Nearly two percent of America is grassy green. Sure, lawns are beautiful and useful and they smell great. But are the costs — financial, environmental and otherwise — worth the benefits?

Confessions of a Pothole Politician

Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles, has big ambitions but knows he must first master the small stuff. He’s also a polymath who relies heavily on data and new technologies. Could this be what modern politics is supposed to look like?

“If Mayors Ruled the World”

Season 5, Episode 30 This week, Freakonomics Radio expands on an idea from political theorist Benjamin Barber, who wrote If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities. Barber argues that cities are paragons of good governance — compared, at least, to nation-states — and that is largely due to their mayors. Mayors, Barber argues, are can-do people […]

“If Mayors Ruled the World”: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast

Our latest Freakonomics Radio episode is called “'If Mayors Ruled the World.'” (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript, which includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.)

The episode expands on an idea from political theorist Benjamin Barber, whose latest book is called If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities. Barber argues that cities are paragons of good governance – compared at least to nation-states – and that is largely due to their mayors. Mayors, Barber argues, are can-do people who inevitably cut through the inertia and partisanship that can plague state and federal governments. To that end, Barber would like to see a global “Parliament of Mayors,” to help solve the kind of big, borderless problems that national leaders aren't so good at solving.