Tyler Cowen - Be Suspicious of Stories

Monday, January 9, 2012

In this talk, Tyler Cowen asks us to step away from thinking of our lives -- and our messy, complicated irrational world - in terms of a simple narrative.

Tyler Cowen is a professor of economics at George Mason University, and partners with Alex Tabarrok to write the economics blog Marginal Revolution, where he hunts for clues to whatever is coming next, in the space where economics and culture entwine. His outlook is fairly libertarian, but it's not ivory-tower -- in fact, he's been accused of "cute-o-nomics" for daring to use economic models to explain real-world problems instead of theoretical abstractions.  Cowen was recently a speaker at the 2011 Singularity Summit where he spoke about his latest book, The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better. In it, he suggests that while the days of easy growth are probably over for the US, it's probably not in a death spiral just yet.

The following Techonomy video is a great debate between Cowen and Erik Brynjolfsson, author of Race Against the Machine about the function of technology in the economy.  Interestingly, the two seem to end up agreeing quite a bit on this.

Watch live streaming video from techonomy at livestream.com