205 | John Quiggin on Interest Rates and the Information Economy

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The idea of an “interest rate” might seem mundane and practical, in comparison to our usual topics around here, but there is a profound philosophical idea lurking in the background: if you lend me money now against the promise of me paying you back more in the future, I am relating the different values that a certain sum has to me at different moments in time. Traditionally, the interest rates set by the government have been a major tool for influencing the economy, but in recent decades they have increasingly fallen near zero. John Quiggin relates this change to the shift from manufacturing to an information economy, and we talk about what that means for the public interest in having information be reliable and widely available. And yes, there is a bit about crypto.

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John Quiggin received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of New England. He is currently a VC Senior Fellow in Economics at the University of Queensland. He is a Fellow of the Econometric Society and the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. Among his books are Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk Among Us and Economics in Two Lessons: Why Markets Work So Well, and Why They Can Fail So Badly.

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