Podcast of the Week: Russ Roberts’ EconTalk Monologue on Information Tribalism

This week Russ Roberts posted a monologue on the EconTalk podcast called, “Russ Roberts on the Information Revolution, Politics, Yeats, and Yelling.” He makes several excellent points and shows off his professorial side. This episode deserves to be studied. There’s a written version on Medium as well.

Roberts lays out an argument that we have increasingly become more tribal with our ideologies as “fit, comfort, and style” has moved from the way we pick shoes into the way we pick news.

We prefer information that fits our point of view, makes us feel comfortable with ourselves and makes us appear stylish or fashionable to our friends and peers.

In order to best think about how the model works for shoes vs. news, consider the incentives to make a change. While dropping a pair of Nike’s for some Adidas may be easy, few people switch from the New York Times to Breitbart and vice versa. This is a modern problem.

Roberts lays out several possible paths and methods for being a better citizen, but the point here is that he raises the questions in a concise manner for the listener to consider.

Give it a chance, and if you are interested in similar perspectives, I recommend Tim Wu’s The Attention Merchants, Joshua Greene’s Moral Tribes, and Yuval Noah Harari’s Homo Deus.

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