The Right Coast

May 05, 2005
Tape Recommendation: Economics
By Mike Rappaport

I just finished a lecture course from the Teaching Company on Contemporary Economic Issues. It was 48 tapes of 30 minutes each taught by Timothy Taylor. While a long course on economics is not for everyone, I enjoyed it quite a bit. The lecturer is very clear and well organized. His approach to economics is, in my view, that of a New Democrat: he clearly appreciates the importance of markets but there is no mistaking his liberal committments and his willingness to intervene in the economy often. Despite my disagreements with his politics, I still learned a lot from the course, since it covers such a variety of topics. He seemed best when discussing international trade and the need for developing countries to adopt market institutions.

I should also recommend two of his other courses, which I have enjoyed: Legacies of the Great Economists and History of the US Economy in the 20th Century.

One course from the Teaching Company that I have not been thrilled with is their recent release on Alexis De Tocqueville and the American Experiment. Anything on Tocqueville can't be all bad, but the lecturer just was not my cup of tea. He had a good ability to translate some of Tocqueville's ideas into modern conditions, but he just wasn't precise or theoretical enough for me.