This week, I had Tyler Cowen on the CSPI podcast. We started by talking about his new book with Daniel Gross called Talent: How to Identify Energizers, Creatives, and Winners Around the World. Then we move on to a wide variety of topics, including “State Capacity Libertarianism,”
Great interview until the very end where you both talk about it being OK for Twitter and Facebook to censor because they’re private companies with no awareness at all of the government pressure to censor that is expressed through them! (A second issue here is the “natural monopoly” problem which Tyler as a libertarian economist might be biased against recognizing, but which the case of Parler shows is very serious.)
> And the woke there are correct.
The government of Singapore often seems rather competent, so I'd like to hear Tyler argue for this.
> So legalizing gay marriage, causally, it seems to me, made marriage somewhat stronger, reaffirmed traditional values, and took away some interesting, but probably better left taken away, parts of promiscuous male gay culture.
Marriage has declined and gays are currently being hit with monkeypox, which can't spread in less promiscuous networks.
Greg Cochran could have predicted that since long-established gay couples weren't less likely to contract AIDs than singles.
Regarding Peter Thiel, the returns on his fellowships have been enormous. I don't know if being politically polarizing helped though.
Of course Tyler would praise 'global cities' like Paris where the elite can enjoy the best of everything, while blithely gliding over the parts of France & Europe that give rise to the Yellow Vests, Michel Houellebecq and the Rassemblement National. For that you have to read Christopher Caldwell:
"Even if Paris does not need a middle class, it desperately needs a lower class. Those symbolic analysts require people to chop their sushi, mix their cocktails, dust their apartments, and push their children's strollers and their parents' wheelchairs. This means immigrants — and increasingly it means only immigrants. Because who would you rather have washing your bathtub for 12 euros an hour? A laid-off factory worker who used to get 30 euros an hour and seven weeks' vacation and who is now looking daggers at you? Or a polite woman from Mali, for whom the smell of Formula 409 is the smell of liberation? The banlieues are an integrated part of the world economy. There is now an immigrant-descended petite bourgeoisie. Naturally, as rich people monopolize the private housing stock, poor newcomers monopolize the welfare housing. Far from being a drain on rich people's taxes, these projects provide subsidized housing for their servants. Big problems will eventually come, because there is no next rung on the social ladder onto which the migrants' children can step. But this is not an acute problem just yet. For now, worrying about the banlieues is something of a red herring."
It's hard for me to believe that someone as intelligent as Tyler can be as "pro-woke" as he appears to be. Perhaps he is moderating his public views so he doesn't get cancelled. But perhaps, once you are safe and secure in a prestigious tenured position, you can afford to simply tune out the feminized wokeness that makes academia such a neverending nightmare for anyone trying to both crawl their way up the ladder, and maintain the slightest shred of intellectual integrity... By contrast, the best thing about Richard is his complete fearlessness in being anti-woke. I
On Operation Warp Speed/State-Capacity Libertarianism:
- The libertarian solution you propose may be a little too utopian. I agree 100% with your argument, but Trump wasn't realistically going to immediately abolish the FDA in April 2020. If he did the vaccines would have been held up in court for years like Tyler said. In the future I would like to abolish the FDA or make it voluntary, but for Trump OWS was the best option.
- I disagree with Tyler that it's an example of SCL. It didn't require any state capacity besides the ability to write checks! The genius of OWS was that it barely relied on government institutions, it just promised pharma companies they'd be rich if they created a vaccine. If Tyler had his way and the CDC/FDA/NIH had greater capacity, there would be mandatory N95 masks, possibly strict lockdowns and enforced quarantines, and likely more roadblocks to a successful vaccine. I'm on your side here, firmly against SCL.
I think it was a mistake to let Cowen conflate liberalism with wokery. IMO liberalism is not wokery lite, it is the antithesis of it. Wokery should not be credited for the societal acceptance of gays.
outstanding talk. made me very happy reading the transcript, indeed. better than most "Conversations with Tyler" - heck; I might even go on to listen to it!
Thank you both!
I would like to know what Tyler is talking about when he says "women have their own ways of caring about truth more than men do."
Optimist, Cowen is a satirist:
China, spending 5.4 percent of GNP on health care in 2019 leads in life expectancy over the US, spending 19.7% of GNP (one dollar out of five) in 2020 on health care. If the US health care system wasn't a completely inefficient monstrosity of rentier capitalism, with what America spends, we should have universal health care, free cosmetic surgery and be able to reverse aging and cure cancer for what we spend on it. . . but if having a massive bloated inefficient health care system is necessary to make it too expensive for the US to compete internationally in manufacturing, I'd rather live in a de-industrialized waste land on gig jobs than embrace socialism. At least when our young people OD on fentanyl out of hopelessness, they get admitted to the ER (which isn't socialism because Ronald Reagan did it).
Absolute barn-burner of a conversation, thank you.
I was wondering when this would happen.
Re: "State Capacity Libertarianism". Cowen advocates for lavishly funded university system that is at the heart of society, the economy, and government. This seems entirely non-libertarian. Operation Warp Speed was an example of a relatively small successful government project; that's great but so what? That is such a small issue compared to having this university government bureaucracy leviathan controlling or influencing every aspect of society. I was hoping Hanania would challenge that, not this tiny successful one-time government project.