Loose, Vague, and Indeterminate

Loose, Vague, and Indeterminate

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Loose, Vague, and Indeterminate is the podcast of the Economics Society at George Mason University. The title is a phrase used by Adam Smith in The Theory of Moral Sentiments to describe the set of rules that are not “precise and accurate.” Since economics is all about people and the decisions they make, very little of it is precise and accurate. Every Friday, this podcast dives into the looseness, vagueness, and indeterminacy with interviews of undergraduate students, graduate students, professors, and outsiders exploring economics from all angles.


Peter Boettke on History of GMU Economics (Part 2: Economic Boogaloo)
Mar 6 • 54 min
Dr. Boettke finishes his conversation with us from last time. We discuss the personal bonds between many GMU economics faculty. We talk about Hayek and his influence on economists. Are GMU economics professors ideologically biased? Dr. Boettke gives his…
Peter Boettke on History of GMU Economics (Part 1)
Feb 28 • 52 min
Dr. Peter Boettke joins the podcast to talk about the history of GMU economics. He discusses his days as an undergraduate student at Grove City College and as a graduate student here at GMU. We learn who the major professors were back then and how the…
Bryan Cutsinger on Monetary Policy and Becoming a Professor
Feb 21 • 60 min
Dr. Bryan Cutsinger, who earned his PhD in economics in 2019 from GMU, joins the podcast. He’s a professor at Angelo State University in Texas, and also works with the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech. We discuss monetary policy: what it is, how it…
Janelle Cammenga on Tax Policy and Working in D.C.
Feb 7 • 51 min
Our guest this week is Janelle Cammenga, a policy analyst with the Center on State Tax Policy at Tax Foundation. We discuss some recent publications she has worked on and learn about different aspects of state tax policy. We cover corporate income taxes,…
The Rustici Rules Episode
Jan 31 • 65 min
Prof. Thomas Rustici joins the podcast for the first episode of second semester. There’s something for everyone in this episode with the hardest-working man in introductory economics. We discuss the origin of some of his teaching phrases, like “stupid on…
Molly Harnish on Internships, Environmental Economics, and Fonts
Dec 6, 2019 • 49 min
Our guest is Molly Harnish, Econ Society webmaster emerita. We discuss internships: what they are and how to get them. We also discuss two research projects Molly is working on: one on private vs. public ownership in environmental economics and one on…
Rosolino Candela on Price Theory
Nov 22, 2019 • 56 min
Mercatus Center Associate Director of Academic and Student Programs Rosolino Candela joins the podcast to talk about price theory. In an example-filled episode, we discuss free parking at shopping centers, lighthouses and lightships in 18th-century…
Andrew Humphries on Teaching Economics
Nov 15, 2019 • 55 min
GMU Econ PhD student Andrew Humphries joins the show to talk about his passion for pedagogy. We discuss Socratic teaching methods, dialogue in the classroom, and the discovery process of knowledge. Andrew talks about how he learned to read and the best…
Nick McFaden’s Post-Presidency Policy Palooza
Nov 8, 2019 • 59 min
Last year’s president of Econ Society, Nick McFaden, joins the show to discuss what he’s up to these days, presidential candidates, taxation, and antipoverty policy. What does it mean to be a neoliberal? Are reparations a good idea? Greg Mankiw is…
Marcus Shera on New Institutional Economics and the Armenian Genocide
Nov 1, 2019 • 52 min
GMU econ student Marcus Shera joins the show to discuss a paper he wrote on the Armenian Genocide. Inspired by his Armenian heritage, he used the tools of new institutional economics to analyze the genocide as a homogenization technology by the Ottoman…
Jon Murphy on Teaching Economics, the Nobel Prize, and What Economists Should Do
Oct 31, 2019 • 54 min
On Episode 4 of Loose, Vague, and Indeterminate, Rajee Agrawal joins me as cohost to talk to PhD student Jon Murphy. We ask Jon about his experience teaching introductory economics, international economics, and law and economics. We also discuss the…
Jacob Hall on Hume’s History of England
Oct 31, 2019 • 54 min
Episode 3 of Loose, Vague, and Indeterminate is here! This episode’s guest is first-year Ph.D. student Jacob Hall. We discuss David Hume’s book The History of England and touch on political economy, theories of jurisprudence, and development economics. We…
Hitchhiking and Hazlitt
Oct 31, 2019 • 69 min
On the second episode of Loose, Vague, and Indeterminate, I am accompanied in my hosting duties by Econ Society member George Minning as we interview Caleb Petitt. Caleb is a fellow undergraduate at George Mason University who went on an exchange trip to…
Daniel Klein on Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments
Oct 31, 2019 • 43 min
“Loose, vague, and indeterminate” is a phrase from Adam Smith’s 1759 book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (TMS). To explain what that phrase means, Prof. Daniel Klein, a Smith expert, is our first guest. We dive into TMS and talk about how scholars view…