Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Tyler Cowens in the Financial Times Has a Discouraging Word

Two Things That Come Out of the Story – His Blog Has Huge Readership and He Spends Too Much on His Watch

The Financial Times is one of the great pleasures of journalism.  Well written, entertaining, informative, it is the exact opposite of anything put out in print or broadcast media by Fox News or its parent, the News Corporation.  A great feature is its Saturday lunch interview with a notable person.

Recently the subject is Tyler Cowens (who?).  Well here is who he is.

Illustration by James Ferguson of Tyler CowenCowen, 50, is an economist. He teaches at George Mason University (GMU), a few miles away. His research spans monetary policy, the economics of culture and political philosophy. But he is no stuffy prof. Marginal Revolution, the blog he writes with colleague Alex Tabarrok, receives about 200,000 views per post. It is replete with pithy observations on German morality, high-frequency trading, college basketball, Congolese music, Beijing food, Indonesian traffic jockeys, and so on; so long as there is a market at work.


200,000 views per post.  This forum on a good day gets about 500 views.  As to why Mr. Cowens get a lot of viewers, here is his views on politics, which incredibly makes a fair amount of sense.  And the conclusion, the "empty set" is dead on.

What does he look for in a candidate? “What I would like to vote for is a candidate that is socially liberal, a fiscal conservative, broadly libertarian with a small ‘l’ but sensible and pragmatic and with a chance of winning. That’s more or less the empty set.”

But this being The Dismal Political Economist Forum we must have one serious complaint with Mr. Cowens, who is actually far more conservative than the above passage would indicate.  He prides himself on spending money wisely, but there is this.

You’re not susceptible to a $30,000 watch, I say. “This watch cost about $60 and works just fine. Part of the thing about being an infovore is spending your money more effectively.”

$60.00 for a watch, you have got to be kidding.  A reliable watch can be had for less than $15.00.  No real economists who purports to spend money wisely spends $60.00 on a watch.  Get with the program Tyler.

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