Tyler Cowen

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A professional, second-generation libertarian selected by the Kochs as head of the George Mason University Economics Department.

Tyler is brilliant, smug, and a leading Koch tool. His job as an economist seems to be more to maintain a drumbeat of propaganda than to do any research of significance. If anybody has any evidence of the significance of his work (such as status by numbers of citations) I'd be interested to hear it.

Cowen generally adopts denialist tactics for economic positions his masters oppose; if you cannot refute it legitimately then spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt. (FUD)

Cowen (and Tabarrok) run a very popular, high-volume blog "Marginal Revolution". It's full of obvious shout-outs to the libertarian faithful (such as "Markets in Everything") and links to the latest libertarian propaganda. It links to innumerable Fortean-like factoids with no real significance. Analysis tends to run towards nattering criticism with very little committing to any position. But some leads from there are very useful or interesting: Cowen is well characterized as an infovore and popularizer. That's his good side. To quote an anonymous commenter at Noahpinion:

"To read Tyler Cowen is to understand that there are two sides to Dr. Cowen, the very bright quasi-prodigy who has seems to have trouble feeling empathy (maybe something on the autism spectrum? Maybe mild sociopathy?), but has good mind when it comes to thinking differently and having an interesting perspective. Then there's the Tyler GMU/Mercatus Center side of Tyler where huge amounts of Koch brothers money keeps the paychecks coming and there's an implicit, if not explicit, agreement to push research that essentially amounts to, "Gov't programs and regulations, especially those meant to benefit the poor or protect the environment, are the root of all of America's economic problems." Tyler's trouble with empathy (and his libertarian beliefs, which are likely linked), make him a good fit for Mercatus/GMU."

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" Upton Sinclair

Paul Krugman says: "within each subfield [of economics] everyone knows who the top guns are". Tyler is only tops in his subfield of pandering to plutocratic class warfare. He might also be at the top of the field of studies of economics of support of the arts, but isn't that part of the same thing?


Brad DeLong and Paul Krugman school Tyler Cowen (15 links)
Tyler Cowen criticized IS-LM to undermine rival economists' arguments. Brad DeLong and Paul Krugman explain why such criticisms are foolish even if true -- because there is no real substitute for starting with IS-LM. Ignoring IS-LM leads to serious errors.
Bully for the Baltics? [More...]
Paul Krugman slaps down Tyler Cowen hard for repeatedly claiming that Ireland's recent performance is evidence against Keynesianism.
Coercion vs. Freedom: BHL vs. BRG [More...]
John Holbo explains Bertram, Robins and Gourvitch’s post criticizing the Bleeding Heart Libertarians views on liberty and voluntary slavery. He then explains how Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok make the same errors. Follow the link to the original post.
Do economists have even more hubris than physicists? [More...]
"Tyler Cowen demonstrates his arrogance by questioning the validity of epidemiology, and he asks a series of stupid questions that show how little thought he has put into the subject."
Fiscal policy worked – evidence [More...]
Tyler Cowen is soundly thumped for his lies about the effectiveness of fiscal stimulus.
How and why Bitcoin will plummet in price [More...]
Tyler Cowen makes a strong marginalist argument for why values of crypto currencies will plummet. Prices of currencies will be limited by marketing costs of potential competitors. "In short, we are still in a situation where supply-side arbitrage has not worked its way through the value of Bitcoin. And that is one reason -- among others -- why I expect the value of Bitcoin to fall -- a lot."
Inequality and the arts [More...]
Tyler Cowen's defensive observation that inequality allows patronage of the arts gets properly skewered by Henry Farrell and assorted commenters such as Corey Robin.
Markets Don't Work for Everything [More...]
"Like every ideology, marketism has its limits, and like every movement it eventually overreached. There are plenty of reasons that a vast array of human interaction should be carried out without money or any kind of quid pro quo. And unsurprisingly, these problems crop up in many of the areas of human life into which people are now trying to push markets."
Markets in Everything (1 link)
A propaganda theme at Marginal Revolution blog. Be amazed at the triumph of markets everywhere, but don't notice that they are often missing, noxious or poor substitutes for government. Markets are tools, like fire: but you wouldn't want fire in everything.
Millian Liberalism and the Irish Famine [More...]
Tyler Cowen wrote that progressivism needed a dose of Millian liberalism because it endorsed eugenics. Henry Farrell points out that Millian liberalism was guilty of much greater actual crimes during the Irish Famine.
Probing Tyler Cowen, or: When Libertarians Get Medieval on Your Vagina [More...]
Tyler Cowen confuses "being informed" with having a large probe stuck up a vagina. Maybe he's attempting to be witty, but failing. Links to several other libertarian misogynies.
Reviews of "The Great Stagnation"
Tyler Cowen's short, digital-only book is a non-academic attempt to divert attention from growing inequality. It does so by lying with statistics.
The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will( Eventually) Feel Better (book)
The Market Power Story [More...]
Noah Smith spanks Tyler Cowen for Tyler's ineffectual criticisms of a major paper on Market Power as a cause for economic ills. Among other things, Tyler does not consider "the inefficiency of monopolistic competition in standard theory".
The Master Class on the Make [More...]
"In marking Calhoun’s political philosophy as the crucial antecedent of public choice theory, Tabarrok and Cowen unwittingly confirmed what critics have long maintained: libertarianism is a political philosophy shot through with white supremacy. Public choice theory, a technical language nominally about human behavior and incentives, helps ensure that blacks remain shackled."
Tyler Cowen on Subprime Lending [More...]
Tyler Cowen's ignorant misreading of the subprime lending crisis.
Tyler Cowen's anti-Piketty crusade [More...]
Noah Smith observes the Koch-funded propaganda drumbeat, though he is too polite to call it that.
Tyler Cowen: Statist, anti-Rothbardian agent of the Kochtopus [More...]
Tyler Cowen is a strong critic of Austrian and Rothbardian views, and he is hated for that.
What libertarianism has become and will become — State Capacity Libertarianism [More...]
Tyler Cowen, in the age of Trump, swings his libertarian propaganda efforts towards crony capitalism. He also gets in a few digs at liberaltarianism.
With Tyler against the strawmen and conservatives. [More...]
Eric Rauchway points out Tyler Cowen's subtle insertion of unspoken claims about the New Deal. When did you stop beating your wife, Tyler?


"Let them eat liberty and secure property rights" is not an efficacious program for immediate famine relief, whatever its abstract and/or long term merits.
Henry Farrell, "Millian Liberalism and the Irish Famine"
There is also the word “classical liberal,” but what is “classical” supposed to mean that is not question-begging? The classical liberalism of its time focused on 19th century problems — appropriate for the 19th century of course — but from WWII onwards it has been a very different ballgame.
Tyler Cowen, "What libertarianism has become and will become — State Capacity Libertarianism"