The World Trade Organization is the referee for 164 trading partners, each with their own political and economic agendas. Lately, those agendas have gotten more complicated — especially with President Trump’s tariff blitz. Roberto Azevêdo, head of the W.T.O., tells us why it’s so hard to balance protectionism and globalism; what’s really behind the loss of jobs; and what he’d say to Trump (if he ever gets the chance).
Kevin Hassett, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, explains the thinking behind the controversial new Republican tax package — and why its critics are wrong. (Next week, we’ll hear from the critics.)
The International Monetary Fund has long been the “lender of last resort” for economies in crisis. Christine Lagarde, who runs the institution, would like to prevent those crises from ever happening. She tells us her plans.
He’s been U.S. Treasury Secretary, a chief economist for the Obama White House and the World Bank, and president of Harvard. He’s one of the most brilliant economists of his generation (and perhaps the most irascible). And he thinks the Trump Administration is wrong on just about everything.
Since its inception in 1944, the World Bank, a multilateral organization charged with financing the development of poor nations, has been led by macroeconomists, bankers, and government insiders. The White House’s 2012 nomination of President Jim Yong Kim -- a physician, anthropologist, and academic who used to advocate dismantling the Bank -- broke the mold. He is the focus of our latest Freakonomics Radio podcast, "Hacking the World Bank." (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes or elsewhere, 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.)
In less than three years, Kim has overhauled the Bank and laid out ambitious goals -- including a 2030 deadline to rescue the more than 1 billion people who live in extreme poverty. Kim is also -- along with the Bank’s chief economist Kaushik Basu -- eager to apply the insights of behavioral economics to development policy. That is the focus of Kim's conversation today with Stephen Dubner.