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« Macro Problems, Micro Explanations and Solutions | Main | Message to Graduate Students Interested in Austrian Economics --- Do Austrian Economics! »

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"I have been in awe of Tyler's intellect"

I have yet to get this. I've read one of his books, read part of another, and I've read one or two of his papers.

Very sincerely, point me Pete to Tyler's best work which will let be glimpse what you see.

I know that Tyler reads alot. Is that where the awe comes in?

OK, I get this:

"It is this art of being reasonable while pushing the accepted limits of policy opinion that I think is Tyler's greatest gift as an intellectual. It brings him a wide audience and it enables him to engage people and make them think about issues different than if they had just dismissed them out of hand as unreasonable.

Despite whatever quams I might have with this or that argument, I do wish I had his eloquence in speech and facility in playing with ideas."

The pleasant side effect of Tyler's "reasonableness" is how effective it makes him when he does get his fur up.

Well, I had linked to an example in my above post, but the link is gone. Let's try again: http://www.the-american-interest.com/article.cfm?piece=601

Greg,

First, I would suggest you look at Tyler's early essays in economics that were published in the journals, e.g., his work on foundations of choice theory from his dissertation.

Second, as for a book, I am very partial to In Praise of Commercial Culture, which I think captures his breadth and depth.

Third, read his philosophic essays that have been published in top philosophy journals such as Ethics and Philosophy and Public Affairs.

Finally, I guess just watch him discuss ideas.

Ultimately, it is an issue of judgement and how impressed one allows themselves to be with the work of others.

Pete

Thanks Pete. I haven't read any of these, and I now intent to take a peek.

Pete wrote:

"First, I would suggest you look at Tyler's early essays in economics that were published in the journals, e.g., his work on foundations of choice theory from his dissertation.

Second, as for a book, I am very partial to In Praise of Commercial Culture, which I think captures his breadth and depth.

Third, read his philosophic essays that have been published in top philosophy journals such as Ethics and Philosophy and Public Affairs."

Greg, check out his critique of the Marshall Plan. http://www.gmu.edu/jbc/Tyler/Marshall_Plan.pdf

Cowen demonstrated that the usual view of the Plan is quite wrong. Just to give two examples, (1) the Belgians recovered before the Germans and both were on the rise before any aid arrived. (2) Britain received more aid per capita than any other state but had the slowest rate of economic recovery.

If Cowen's take on the Plan had been taken on board then the Third World would have been spared the disasters of aid.

Sometimes in the pursuit of sounding “high-scholar”, a scholarly argument can lose some force of conviction. Mises certainly did not speak or write with such subtlety. Even is his later carreer, he wrote and presented his ideas clearly with the force of conviction of one who was forced to flee from the jaws of a statist regime bound and determined to snuff out his very life. He was disgusted with the state of the contemporary intellectual hierarchy of his day, and without a doubt believed until his end that the socialist/fascist interventionist paradigm was not just sincerely misguided, but rather an outlet of much that is ugly in the human being. He was un-liked by some of his peers because he doused them with the kind of intellectual light that disturbs cock roaches. Pardon me, but Tyler Cowen’s arguments do not carry such power. If someone teaches in the classroom with such a nuanced tone as Cowen exhibits in his writing, most of the brightest students will go to sleep. (by the looks of Dave Prychitko’s student reviews, it appears that he must be one fantastic teacher). Timid teaching will attract grey, timid, geeky-sweet grad students with nothing interesting or challenging to say either to academia or the public at large. A teacher who blandly says “so the argument goes” is usually unconvincing. We need brilliant, bold and charismatic academicians with grand, beautiful ideas under-girded with unflinching rationality and logic, and the conviction to calmly yet inspirationally teach true ideas to others. True ideas are happier when they are married to true believers. Without these believers, reality will still be true, but it will be very lonely indeed.

Tyler Cowen has a great gift for economics and for explanation. I think he has little appreciation of this though, or perhaps little appreciation of the longer term.

He spends his time dealing mostly with ephemera. He and Alex Tabarrok have written a macroeconomics textbook recently. It's full of all the same rubbish found in other Macro textbooks.

What's really sad is that those two know most of it is rubbish, they spent the beginning of their careers writing about that.

Greg,

I think that the explanation for Pete's remarks has to do with those "quams" he has. I think he gets those when he is wearing a clown suit, or maybe it is when he is wearing a pirate's one (ouch, ouch! put down that sword!).

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