It’s a Wonderful Way to Learn About Emergent Order

How does the market self-organize to ensure what we want is available? Russ Roberts has the answer.

I have been listening to and learning about economics from Russ Roberts’ EconTalk podcasts  for years.

Roberts is an economist and research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute, and author of many books, the most recent being How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness. He’s also an incredibly talented educator and interviewer.

Earlier this year, Roberts created and narrates an extremely creative long-form poem and beautifully illustrated video called “It’s a Wonderful Loaf.” The title is a play on the title of the Frank Capra’s film It’s a Wonderful Life. In terms of story, the poem is a modern version of Leonard Read’s famous short story, I Pencil, which is also worthy of reading for it’s important lesson.

In the six-and-a-half months since it’s release, It’s a Wonderful Loaf has exceeded 1.5 million views on YouTube.

Russ Roberts has created an instant educational classic that I suspect students and life-long learners will be watching forevermore. You owe it to yourself to watch it now, and to share it with as many people as possible.

Explaining the emergent order and mechanics of free-markets – a highly abstract concept – in simple terms is not an easy task. Doing it in rhyme only makes what Russ Roberts has achieved more impressive, and enhances my admiration for his audacious achievement.

This isn’t Roberts’ first effort at this sort of thing. He’s unusually creative for an academic economist.

In 2011, Roberts wrote a mind-boggling long-form rap, Fear the Boom and Bust“: Keynes v Hayek Rap with film-maker John Papola. This rap predates the debut of Hamilton on Broadway by five years, and has had more than 6.1 million YouTube views.

The first Keynes-Hayek rap was followed by a sequel, Fight of the Century“: Keynes vs. Hayek Rap Battle Round Two, with 3.7 million YouTube views.

This is one way to make the teaching and learning of important historical and educational topics fun, and hopefully inspire students to learn more about these important economic ideas and concepts, and their relationship to our real-world freedom and prosperity.

Russ Roberts is an American national treasure.

Barry Linetsky is a Partner with The Strategic Planning Group, a Toronto-based consultancy. He is the author of The Business of Walt Disney and the Nine Principles of His Success (Theme Park Press, 2017) and Free Will: Sam Harris Has It (Wrong). His articles have been published by Ivey Business Journal and Rotman Magazine. Visit his website to find original articles and blog posts on Walt Disney and other management topics. Follow Barry on Twitter @BizPhilosopher and on LinkedIn.

© 2017, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved

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