39: Tyler Cowen - Economist and Master Generalist on: Economic Outlook, Social Change, and Future Cities

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Tyler Cowen is an American economist, academic, and writer. He is the author of books like The Great Stagnation, Average is Over, The Complacent Class, and more.

He occupies the Holbert L. Harris Chair of economics, as a professor at George Mason University, and is co-author, with Alex Tabarrok, of the popular economics blog Marginal Revolution. Cowen and Tabarrok have also ventured into online education by starting Marginal Revolution University. He currently writes a regular column for Bloomberg View. He also has written for such publications as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Time, Wired, Newsweek, and the Wilson Quarterly. Cowen also serves as faculty director of George Mason's Mercatus Center, a university research center that focuses on the market economy. In February 2011, Cowen received a nomination as one of the most influential economists in the last decade in a survey by The Economist. He was ranked #72 among the "Top 100 Global Thinkers" in 2011 by Foreign Policy Magazine "for finding markets in everything."

His newest book (subject of conversation today) is Stubborn Attachments. It took him almost 20 years to write it.

A few practical tips by Tyler: You should re-read the best books; you should have hobbies that make you think more, and you should argue for what you think is correct, but also understand it’s likely that you’re wrong.

Then we talk about big picture things, like:

  • What is Tyler’s view of economic growth and how it happens?
  • ­Have we seen the majority of economic growth from the Internet, or is most of it yet to come?
  • What are the 2 things we—as a society—should prioritize above all else. And also: When should we prioritize economic growth over the redistribution of wealth by government?
  • What are the 3 things scarce in today’s economy?
  • How will future cities look different in 20-30 years from now?
  • And, will the future economy reward generalists or specialists?

Learn more about Tyler:

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47 episodes