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Tag Archives: Tyler Cowen

Noubar Afeyan on Academia, Business, Immigration, and the American Dream

Tyler Cowen has posted an outstanding interview of Noubar Afeyan, co-founder of Moderna, which produces one of the two COVID-19 vaccines approved so far by the Food and Drug Administration. Tyler is at the top of his game, asking really good questions, and you can just see the respect that that creates in Afeyan. Some highlights follow. On individualized medicine We have a program in cancer vaccines. You might say, “What does a cancer vaccine have to do with...

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China won the trade war

A year ago, Tyler Cowen claimed that President Trump won round one of the trade war with China: I’m not entirely convinced we won even the first round of the trade war, although the claim might be true.  The stated goal of President Trump and his advisers was to reduce the US trade deficit with China.  A secondary goal may have been to slow the growth of China’s economy.  A third goal might have been to weaken the position of Xi Jinping, who has been moving China in...

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There are no non-Bayesians in a COVID foxhole

There is some level of danger that pushes even the most stubborn government bureaucracies to start acting semi-rationally. Tyler Cowen has a brilliant new post that clearly demonstrates that the US has not reached that point. But things are much worse in the UK, due to a new variant of Covid-19 that spreads much more rapidly. As a result, the UK has switched to the “first dose first” approach, which is very likely to save lives.  And even if it doesn’t, the approach...

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Tyler Interviews a Liar

Tyler Cowen’s latest “Conversations with Tyler” is an interview of former CIA Director John Brennan. If you read the whole interview, you see that Tyler has done due diligence by reading background material on Brennan. Unfortunately, Tyler doesn’t ask him a thing about Brennan’s lying to Congress about the fact that his CIA staff, at his behest, spied on Senator Feinstein and other employees of her Senate Intelligence Committee. Conor Friedersdorf lays it out in “A...

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Is the Absolute Number of Deaths the Only Thing That Matters?

Answer: It depends on the question we’re trying to answer. In a post about Covid-19 deaths, Tyler Cowen writes: By the way, deaths as a percentage of population isn’t the right metric here.  Losing 320,000 lives (including excess deaths) has about the same moral import, whether or not there are a billion Morlocks living under the earth’s surface, though that fact would change the loss greatly as measured in percentage terms and of course make it look much smaller....

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The Unjoined Debate

As I noted earlier this week, Tyler Cowen wrote a blog post, “David Henderson needs a reboot,” October 27, in which he responded to my three critical pieces on his two Bloomberg articles. My pieces are, from earliest to latest, here, here, and here. Cowen’s articles (gated unless you look at only a few on Bloomberg) are here and here. Here’s the problem: Other than on one issue where he did point to a serious problem in my argument, as I noted here, Cowen didn’t join...

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One of Tyler Cowen’s Points is Right

As noted earlier today, Tyler Cowen posted about my critiques of his views on lockdowns. I don’t have time to answer thoroughly but I do think I did him an injustice on one issue. Cowen writes: And my remark about “It just doesn’t seem worth it”, cited by David as me dismissing school reopenings?  Here is what I actually wrote: Indoor restaurant dining and drinking, for example, is probably not a good idea in most parts of the U.S. right now. Yes, many of the Covid...

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Tyler Cowen Doubles Down

I criticized (here and here) a recent article that Tyler Cowen wrote in Bloomberg about COVID-19 and lockdowns. Last week he doubled down by raising the issue of the elderly. The title fits his theme, is “Yes, Covid-19 Is More Serious for the Elderly. So What?” Cowen starts with an analogy to 9/11. (Everything in the shaded areas is a quote from his article.) Consider 9/11, when some 3,000 Americans died. The U.S. mounted a very activist response that included new...

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Sir Samuel Brittan RIP

Tyler Cowen, over at Marginal Revolution, quite rightly laments the death of British economic journalist, the aptly named Samuel Brittan. Like Tyler, I first heard of Brittan’s Capitalism and the Permissive Society from the late Roy A. Childs, Jr. You might think that “Permissive” in the title is used negatively. No. One of the things Brittan liked about capitalism was that it is permissive. I’m going from memory here; my copy was destroyed in my 2007 office fire....

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Our Great Purpose

The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) is the first book that Adam Smith wrote, and for decades it was contrasted to his most famous other book, The Wealth of Nations (1776). Most scholars today do not see the contrast anymore, but Ryan Patrick Hanley resumes this so-called Adam Smith Problem in his Our Great Purpose: Adam Smith on Living a Better Life. For Hanley, the Wealth of Nations is the book about self-interest (but not greed) and wealth accumulation, and Theory...

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