The New Bazaar


Cogs and monsters and economists, oh my!

Season 1, Ep. 16

Economists don’t just try to understand the economy. They also influence it. Because as they share their analysis and understanding of it, people and institutions and companies and politicians start to act differently -- precisely in response to that understanding of how the economy works. Which means that the economy itself then changes, and economists have to catch up and try to understand it again. 

That is one of the themes in a new book called Cogs and Monsters, by the economist Diane Coyle, Cardiff’s guest in this episode. The book is also about how the digitization of the economy in particular presents such thorny new challenges for understanding it. Diane never goes for easy criticisms or easy solutions. She burrows deep. And she makes the point that the economy, like society at large, is always in flux. And so the job of the economist can never be finished. 

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More Episodes


The craft of economic storytelling

Season 1, Ep. 20
Tim Harford is the author of numerous terrific economics books and the host of two great podcasts: “Cautionary Tales”, about what we should learn from big mistakes; and “More or Less”, about statistics. He also writes columns and essays for the Financial Times.And what sets Tim apart in all these different mediums is his exceptional storytelling. And when it comes to telling economic stories – stories that are meant to grab your attention, and keep you in suspense, and then ultimately land on a message or a lesson that really stays with you – I’m not sure there’s anyone better.And Tim’s latest book, The Data Detective, is no different: there’s a lot of great stories in it. But what I really loved about it is that it’s very much also about the craft of storytelling itself. And that’s what today’s conversation with Tim is also about: What are the ingredients of a captivating story? Why is it that stories are so necessary for fighting back against misinformation? (Why aren’t the facts themselves enough?) And how do you wield the power of storytelling responsibly?Links from the episode:Cautionary Tales, hosted by Tim Harford, from Pushkin Industries("The Problem with Facts", by Tim Harford ( Data Detective, by Tim Harford ( and Aimee are on Twitter at @CardiffGarcia and @AimeePKeaneSend us an email! You can write to us at