Interviewing Americans

You can learn a lot about the world just by asking questions of people that normally don't get asked. That's why we do a Q&A series here, and why you may like David Lynch's Interview Project; Alex Chadwick's Interviews: 50 Cents; and Our Time, a revealing documentary on American youth directed by Matt Heineman and Matt Wiggins, and co-screenwritten by Freakonomics research assistant Ryan Hagen.

Samuelson Sounds Off

Conor Clarke interviews Paul Samuelson, a recipient of both the John Bates Clark medal and a Nobel prize. Samuelson, age 94, discusses the history of Keynesian economics, his relationships with Milton Friedman, Alan Greenspan, and Larry Summers, as well as the current stimulus debate. Part two of the interview appears here. [%comments]

Animal Spirits: A Q&A With George Akerlof

It’s safe to say that macroeconomists haven’t been very popular lately. In fact, many people blame the profession for such sins as failing to predict the housing bubble and encouraging the deregulation of the financial industry. In their new book Animal Spirits, the economists George Akerlof and Robert Shiller propose a new macroeconomic framework — […]

What Do Truckers Have to Do With Country Music, Food Prices, and Politics?

Since the first trucks began carrying freight in the early 1900's, the U.S. trucking industry has had an influence on politics, food prices, and even music.

For Madoff, Reputation Is Apparently a One-Way Street

Our friend James Altucher, in an interview at Yahoo!’s Tech Ticker, talks about visiting Bernie Madoff and his son Mark back in early 2005 to pitch them his fund of funds: I had a fund of what’s called PIPE [private investment in public equity] hedge funds. And I went through the whole pitch. My returns […]

Bring Your Questions for Lawrence Lessig

Stanford Law School professor Lawrence Lessig has spent much of his career focused on technology and the law, and how the two affect copyright. He represented internet publisher Eric Eldred in Eldred v. Ashcroft, wherein Eldred and others challenged the constitutionality of the Copyright Term Extension Act, which extended terms of copyright protection in the United States by 20 years. Eldred lost the case.

The Ugly Scout Answers Your Questions

Last week, we solicited your questions for Simon Rogers, the owner of the talent and modeling agency UglyNY. In his answers below, Rogers discusses, among other topics, why George Clooney probably earns more than William H. Macy and why finding ugly talent is harder than it seems. You’ll find more photos of his clients throughout […]

Who Survives a Plane Crash?

When a jetliner made a water landing on the Hudson River last week and all 155 passengers survived, Levitt wrote that maybe airplane safety briefings aren't entirely useless after all.

White House Economist Keith Hennessey Answers Your Questions

Last week, we solicited your questions for Keith Hennessey, the outgoing White House chief economic adviser and director of the National Economic Council.

In his answers below, Hennessey explains (among other things) what he thinks are some of the "most absurd economic assumptions" by Washington politicians; where, exactly, the first few hundred billion dollars of the TARP money has gone; and why he had "the coolest job ever." Thanks to all of you for the good questions and to Hennessey for his candid and thorough answers.

Bring Your Questions for Outgoing White House Economist Keith Hennessey

Keith Hennessey Keith Hennessey is the outgoing chief economic adviser to President Bush and director of the National Economic Council. When Obama takes office, Lawrence Summers will take his place. “Our assumptions are that the economy will begin to recover early in the next president’s term,” Hennessey recently told CNBC, “but it’s too early to […]