006: Andrew Heaton on Using Comedy to Explain Economic Concepts
Andrew Heaton is a comedian, writer and political satirist. He is the presenter of the witty and entertaining economics podcast, EconPop and has a Masters degree in International Politics. Andrew has been featured in a Bollywood movie, plays a lead role in the sitcom Cap South and has been voted best new comedian of 2013 in New York. Andrew hails from Oklahoma, is an Officer to a Prince and plays the Ukelele to enhance the mood of his friends’ amorous endeavors.
In this interview, Andrew mentions and discusses: wheat quotas, comparative advantage, protectionism, relative and actual growth, free markets and limited government, Austrian Theory of Monetary Creation, supply and demand, signalling, subjective value, negative externalities, tariffs and import duty, protectionism, corporation tax, scarce resources, population, abundance of resources, the Great Depression, US deficit, unintended consequences, behavioral economics and risk aversion.
Economists and Economic Schools:
In this interview, Andrew mentions: the Chicago School, the Austrian School, Libertarianism, Adam Smith, Milton Friedman, Freidrich Hayek, John Maynard Keynes, Murray Rothbard, Frédéric Bastiat, Thomas Malthus, Gene Epstein, Steven Horwitz,
Gene Epstein and Milton Friedman.
EconPop is hosted by Andrew, who is joined by economist Steven Horwitz and professor of literature Paul Cantor.
In this episode, you will learn:
- how Andrew became interested in economics while studying abroad in Scotland.
- what parallels Andrew draws between politics, economics and comedy.
- what economists and school of thought Andrew draws inspiration from to carve out his own views.
- where and from whom Andrew gets his inspiration for his anecdotal writings on economics concepts.
- how economic concepts is in abundance in life and can be found in the many movies we may have watched.
- what qualities Andrew believes makes a successful person.
- about Andrew being an Officer to Prince Leonard of Hutt River.
- what comparative advantage is and how Andrew explains it in an unusual but light-hearted way.
- why Andrew believes we will never run out of resources and why we should not worry about scarcity.
‘If you’re gonna have a lot of activities that you are doing, you need to be mentally organised and very good at prioritising.’
‘To supercharge your day, when you are getting to your tasks, do the one you hate most first… the rest of your day is a cinch.’
‘With books, the trick is you just write a thousand words a night… your subconscious mind works on it and when you sit down the following night it’s a little bit easier. You have a full novel in two and half months.’
- Andrew works extremely hard to get things done. He has blended comedy with economics to allow this dismal science to become enjoyable or entertaining.
- Andrew believes that having the right mentor is hugely beneficial and such a relationship allows him to learn and focus on reaching small milestones. This has worked out favorably well for Andrew in the field of economics where he developed a strong set of opinions on some theoretical aspects of economics. By expanding his knowledge-base through economics books and the many discussions with his mentor, Gene Epstein, Andrew has opened new doors and created new opportunities that otherwise may not have been attainable. His love of economics, particularly the Austrian and Chicago Schools and libertarianism, has given Andrew a lot of material to work on for his comedic performances onstage, online and in books.
- Andrew writes quite frequently and believes that constant writing will have a payoff in terms of the publication of a book.
- Andrew plays the ukelele but, unfortunately, it wasn’t ‘tuned’ correctly for him to give us a treat on this podcast. So, as an homage to Andrew, I changed the outro music theme of Economic Rockstar to one that uses a ukelele. I hope you enjoy it!
On Economics and Comedy:
On Humor and Economic Differences:
‘When you start arguing with somebody your adrenaline level shoots up. Just on a biochemical level, you become much less able to hear what they are saying because you are taking a defensive posture. Conversely, when you’re laughing, you produce endorphins. And, if I can make you laugh, for a moment you are willing to listen to me – just for a moment.’
On Human Innovation Outpacing Declining Resources:
- Laughter Is Better Than Communism by Andrew Heaton
- Frank Got Abducted by Andrew Heaton
- Re-Boot Grandpa by Andrew Heaton (coming soon in 2016)
- Speech Trap Werewolf by Andrew Heaton (coming soon)
- The Conscience of a Conservative by Barry Goldwater
- Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government by P.J. O’Rourke
- Free To Choose by Milton Friedman and Rose Friedman
- Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass by Theodore Dairymple
- Economics In One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt
- Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein
Favorite Internet Resources:
Where To Find Andrew Heaton:
Contact Andrew and start a campaign if you would like him to create a ‘Mighty Heaton’ doll!