16: Tyler Cowen - The Revolution Will Not Be Marginalized
In this episode, Eric sits down with Tyler Cowen to discuss how/why a Harvard educated chess prodigy would choose a commuter school to launch a stealth attack on the self-satisfied economic establishment, various forms of existential risk, tech/social stagnation and more. On first glance, Tyler Cowen is an unlikely candidate for America's most influential economist. Since 2003, Cowen has grown his widely read and revered economics blog Marginal Revolution with lively thought, insight and prose resulting in a successful war of attrition against traditional thinking. In fact, his well of heterodox thinking is so deep that there is an argument to be made that Tyler may be the living person with the most diverse set of original rigorous opinions to be found in any conversation. The conversation takes many turns and is thus hard to categorize. We hope you enjoy it.
Eric: Hello, you found The Portal. I'm your host Eric Weinstein, and today I get to sit down with one of my favorite conversationalists, Tyler Cowen, who's here from George Mason University where he's a professor of economics. Tyler, welcome to The Portal.
Tyler: Thank you Eric.
Eric: When we were talking about what topics we could begin with, I didn't want to begin with economics, and you suggested “the Apocalypse” is a great place to start. The great benefit of this is that if we get past it, the rest of the conversation will be post-apocalyptic.
Tyler: The Apocalypse itself is economics of course, but I was just thinking that virtually any good theory of politics needs some notion of the Apocalypse. Let’s say you thought the time horizon for the universe or a human civilization were potentially infinite. You would then be so concerned with minimizing existential risk, that nothing would get done. Whereas if you think “well, you know mankind has another 800 years left on earth on average and by that time probably will have blown ourselves up or an asteroid will come”, then you think “what glorious things can we do with those 800 years”, and it's quite a difference in perspective. So an infinite time horizon might actually choke off rational thought about political decision-making.
Eric: So is there any possibility for keeping the apocalypse exactly 800 years away, like a donkey with a carrot dangled in front of it at a fixed distance?
Tyler: That would be the Straussian view; that you always think it's 800 years away. But think of it as like a problem from finance: you're writing a naked put on a security. Well, it's going to bankrupt you at some point, but any given month, any given day, the chance of that happening is probably quite small. So the Apocalypse may be like the proverbial naked put. It's out there, the chance is very small, the optimists always sound like they're right – in the sense they are right as Steven Pinker would claim – but at the end of the day, if the clock ticks for long enough, it’s boom and bye. But in the meantime let's do something grand and glorious.
Eric: Now Tyler, you have a sort of a portfolio of different ways of communicating with the world. Have you ever dragged Steven Pinker onto a podcast – which you do under “Conversations with Tyler” – or have you discussed his bizarre notion of optimism, on your famous economics blog “Marginal Revolution” which you do with your colleague Alex?
Tyler: My podcast “Conversations with Tyler” has an episode with Steven Pinker, and I sat him down in a chair the way you did with me and I said: “Steven, the cost of destroying the world by pressing a button is falling all of the time, every year. At some point it will only cost, say, twenty thousand dollars to take out a major city. How long do you think the world is actually going to last, given that the demand curve slopes downwards – when prices fall, people do more of things, destructive weaponry is becoming cheaper – how can you be optimistic?”, I asked him. No good answer. I would say evasion. He said “well, my theory is not predictive, it's just a way of thinking about it [and so on].
Eric: So, it instantly falls apart.
Tyler: It falls apart. I don't know if it falls apart instantly, because weaponry has spread more slowly than we might have thought. So you read nuclear theorists in the 50s and 60s, they think a third world war might be coming quite soon… they were wrong. You read worries about proliferation from the 80s and 90s, they sound horrible. I wouldn't say it's been great. North Korea, no one's happy about that. But at the same time the weapons have not been used, so there's something fundamental about the models we don't understand. You can ask the question: why didn't Al-Qaeda hire a bunch of stooges to go into a Tyson's Corner shopping mall with submachine guns and just cause some terror? That didn't happen, so the logic of choice of wielding destructive power is one of the issues in social science we understand least well, I would say. And there is perhaps some hope of salvation. So I'm not sure Pinker falls apart instantly, but I didn't feel Pinker defended Pinker very well. And on my blog Marginal Revolution I did review his book, and my worry is that there's an observational equivalence with how you look at the data. So you could say “well, deaths in wars have been going down, will continue to fall” – that's possibly true. But another model is: the more destructive the weapons are, the less frequent the wars. Things will seem great for quite a while, but the next war when it comes will be quite a doozy.
Eric: So in some sense this is the Great Moderation, which last time was about market volatility, and here it's about the volatility of human violence.
Tyler: Great Moderations maybe contain the seeds of their own destruction. Again, I would want to be cautious there, because we don't understand destructive decisions very well. Like why did Hitler invade Russia? We know a lot about it in the documented sense, but I don't feel it's understood very well.
Eric: Agreed. And I agree that we don't know why so few reservoirs have been poisoned with relatively low-tech options. The Las Vegas shooting for example showed what a small level of innovation in mass killing can do to really amp the body count, if that's what somebody is trying to optimize. I think that there is a huge mystery, but I don't think that Pinker – from what I understand of his basis for optimism – is really getting at that. People who listen to this podcast and have heard me elsewhere, have heard me complain that it's as if he's neglecting a potential energy term, but for violence. And so, the realized violence as you were pointing out has gone down – but the potential for violence is enormous, and as the cost falls, the access to violence of this particular nature seems to put it within reach of far too many hands.
Tyler: One of our saving graces could be that the contagion effects for methods of violence seem pretty strong. We're in a time where in the U.S. shooting up schools is the thing to do. It happens more often by some metrics than it used to. In the 1970's being a serial killer was somehow like the thing to do. So if you're inspired by what people have done just before you, and you're not very innovative, it could be that violence and lack of innovation are somehow correlated, and contagion effects mean you'll kill a terrible number of innocent people, but it still will quite limit how much damage you do to the world as a whole.
Eric: Well, in terms of R&D; thinking about terror innovation is quite interesting. It seems to me that it's hard to remember that there is no known linkage between suicide bombing and Islam before the the Beirut barracks bombing, if I'm not mistaken.
Tyler: It came from Sri Lanka, in the approximate sense the idea, from the Tamil Tigers. They're not the only ones who've done it, but…
Eric: Didn't they really perfect it after the Beirut barracks bombing, and then it sort of came back to the Middle East, do I have that wrong?
Tyler: I'm not sure on the timing.
Eric: But there are very few groups that have been using suicide bombing in the modern era.
Eric: Maybe the Kurds, the Tamils in Sri Lanka, and various muslim violent movements; jihadi movements.
Tyler: The striking thing about 9/11 is how innovative it was. That's what really ought to scare us, but it does seem also such innovations are pretty scarce.
Eric: Well, in some sense Afghanistan was like an R&D lab for Al-Qaeda. And one of the things I believe I remember was that there was a taped conversation within Al-Qaeda that had leaked, in which various groups were trying to decide whether this was the greatest thing they'd ever done, or whether it was a terrible move because it was gonna cause them the loss of their R&D lab.
Tyler: You know, Karlheinz Stockhausen – the German composer – he said, well, it was such a wonderful work of art, and obviously he got pilloried for that comment. I'm not sure what he meant by it. It's a terrible thing to say. I wouldn't say it. But it's still getting at some aspect of 9/11 that was quite different, that it was an attempt to innovate.
00:08:13Well, I mean could we could we go there I've talked in this program about message violence, which is violence that is made particularly theatrical for the purpose of underscoring a message for example, affecting position of kindness, which clearly ends up, you know, torturing somebody like, you know, drowning them in a tub of their favorite wine or something like this if there's something very perverse about certain kinds of violence who's where the intention is to amplify the underlying harm in a way that animates the imagination in some sense, you know, the Jordanian pilot video which was cinematically gorgeous and as sick as could possibly be imagined that was released by ISIS would be in this realm. Is there a sense in which we can look at 9:11 is deliberately theatrical an artistic.
00:09:08Most likely it was as I understand it and if you look at the targets chosen, the World Trade Center was not actually that economically important it certainly was not politically important, but they were the tallest structure is there was a theory they would collapse in a certain way and it seems they did it they did so it does seem artistically motivated in some sense.
00:09:32and there is this odd Obsession of many dictators with the Arts, which I think is also poorly understood but it also gets at the notion that the totalitarian and violent impulses in us can be severed from Innovation, but don't necessarily have to be
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00:12:17Yes, I do. You know the passion inside of the Passion Play anything that can truly excite the spirit can easily be weaponized. So there's a way in which I guess I would expect the dictators would be very animated by by the theater in particular but I think Mass opinion in general tends to neuter some of that desire for artistic creativity. So if you look at passion plays around the world, if you go see one say during Easter in Mexico, are they become something quite celebratory? It's her family and friends and people get together people drink people cook special dishes. So it's drained of so much of the actual fashion story and it becomes among other things less passionate. So it's hard to sustain.
00:13:04The emotional violence behind the innovation of violence and that maybe another one of our saving Graces and you see this with suicide bombers when they removed from their environments where they've been indoctrinated. It can be quite hard to get them to go through with what they've been told to do. And sometimes you get them to go through with it by not even telling them they're going to die. I read some accounts. I'm not sure I validated this is that a lot of the 9/11 terrorists. They didn't know they were going to die.
00:13:34And maybe that ambiguity I mean presumably everybody signs up with an idea that martyrdom is part of the package potentially, but they don't know that the play is going to be called for any particular Tuesday and the same was true for RAF fighters in World War II or any other very high-risk activity where you're pretty sure you're one of the good guys, but you don't want to die. So the fact that it's a lottery ticket of sorts in some ways. It piques your interest that motivates you it gets your adrenaline up probably improve your performance oven at the same time. It's absolutely terrifying and you know, how much does that operate symmetrically on the good and bad moral sides. If this equation it's probably more similar than we would feel comfortable admitting. I ran into an idea that I hadn't heard codified with in labeled with a phrase before called strategic silence and I read about this and writings or speeches of Dana Boyd works with the
00:14:34Data and Society Institute idea behind it is that if you have predictable reliable news coverage, it allows somebody who lets a wishes to undertake a terrorist action to know that they will can count on you to amplify their message because they have the ability to create news. They are not just news takers but newsmakers in that realm the news media has been experimenting with the idea that they will not do the bidding of the attacker by broadcasting things about motive about name or about certain circumstances of the crime. So at least I stencil e is not to amplify The Leverage of the attack is that kind of a a death knell for confidence and Reporting the if we report the facts straight we give people too much leverage over or news and if we don't report
00:15:34Faxed then we quickly a road confidence in our system. I favored the experiment of not reporting the names of say Mass Shooters. I'm not sure we're really withholding facts. So the name of the person didn't mean anything to the audience in advance whether the person's name is John Smith or John Brown.
00:15:54It's it's a fact in some way but in another way, it's not a fact at all. Where is if it's a person who is already known side back back then Osama Bin Laden, then you are withholding of fact, if you don't say Osama Bin Laden had a role in 911 on my worry with the policy of strategic silence is that destroyers will innovating ways to recapture the attention so they don't report your name. Maybe you kill more people or maybe you innovate with a new method of killing people. So you might be inducing Innovation over the medium-term and I don't think we know yet as an experiment. It does seem to me worth trying but I wouldn't be all too optimistic about it because I saw you on my blog like solve for the equilibrium. And what's the act of Librium here. We don't quite know.
00:16:41Although with somebody like the Unabomber left us a Manifesto or let's say the Christ Church shooter in the mosque. We have a fairly detailed account of what was going through the person's mind while they were committing their crimes. I don't know if that is what was going through their mind. It was what was going through their mind at some point in time, but was it their actual set of motivations would I don't feel qualified to judge but I wouldn't just take that for granted or take it quite literally, but would you feel comfortable and suppressing the dissemination of such a document? I don't think it's possible to suppress that at the way the internet and other institutions have evolved. I wouldn't do it either.
00:17:24I've been in any case it will get out there. So if we decide I was not going to be on Facebook as you well know their other parts of the internet, we're just can't be taken down interesting place. I think I disagree with you. I don't disagree with you that we can't stop the document from being on the internet in a very determined person in their ability to find it. I do believe that there's a frictional coefficient that the search engines and the major platforms can control if they so choose to slow down the flow of information and weather. It gets reified and disgust inside of what I've turned the Gated institutional narrative is a big deal because those news organizations react chiefly to each other and special trusted institutions. It's a many of us still have the idea when we're listening to that conversation that it's an open conversation. When if you're in a position like you alright maybe were astounded by the number of things that simply can't be discuss.
00:18:23In in that Echo chamber in in in in those quarters, I think the short-term in the medium-term are quite different here. So if Facebook and YouTube and Google all of a sudden decide, they won't cover some awful video that will have real impact but I think safe for five years later. You'll be some new set of tools. Maybe they're only used to find that really bad stuff that people will know there are sites are methods. Were you can go see here experience all the really bad things and then it still gets out. So I'm not at all opposed to people say who run Facebook deciding not to post something. I think it's fine. It's their website I more power to them. But at the same time we should not infer Too Much from the short-run reaction against all for the equilibrium institutions and Searchers will adjust
00:19:12So you and I have a slightly different orientation. That might be fun to play with it for a second. I think I've been used to hold a position that these companies had the right to do what they want. And I started to change my opinion on that based on the idea that if I Define
00:19:30the public space relative to private space I can find only private space on the internet. I need to hire a company to allow me to get an on-ramp in the form of an ISP and then in general unlike a city with parks and institutions of government. I really can't find any public space on the internet. And so if the whole thing is private, I feel like it's absolutely essential that we place much more restrictive rules about what can and cannot be prohibited on the internet because there is no public space from the get-go on my way on my way off the analogies of public and private space to the internet. I think we're quite complex. I would just start with a very simple question. Who is it? You would trust in politics to make those decisions better than what our current Internet. 00:20:30Giving us and for me the answer is no one no party no institution. So I would like to keep things more or less the way they are now and have no liability for the internet company let them decide and the notion that Congress did you see the recent recent testimony of Mark Zuckerberg before Congress or a little bit of it? Not much. It's remarkable how little people in Washington understand about tech at any level. So so what explains it's you and I spent a fair amount of time in Silicon Valley and it's not like the government couldn't get help from the world's smartest tech people and they can and they do but the actual decisions are made by Congress and buy a president, but what explains the lousy level of questioning of tech people and you know, both scientific equality voters, right? So people get the leaders they deserve voters are poorly informed Representatives want to parade a certain display of toughness or strength in front of those voters.
00:21:30They're deliberately rude to Mark Zuckerberg. They asked you two questions, which voters will let them get away with in my Twitter feed. Some of the very stupidest questions were being applauded Say by PhD Economist so I can show Mark Zuckerberg. So even at that level there's an expressive responds to encourage is this behavior and that's why we get it. But when you then think G this system is going to regulate speech on the internet. I say no way, you know singer was right. I think that's different you ever watched giraffes fighting or bunnies bunnies fighting on the internet, right? It's like I got this from Joe Rogan bunny UFC is just they fighting such an intense passion. I think people are cheering some of these hearings in the same way that they would
00:22:20Cheer for like one rabbit over Another lyrics it's like a cock fights just it's just interesting watching people beat up on each other particular if you like one more than the other. I don't think that people are anywhere near as stupid as I don't think we're getting the government we deserve in and let me give you an analogy which is plaguing me from anything. We used to think that TV was the idiot box and we clearly just didn't understand long-form television of the form that has been discovered with Game of Thrones or The Sopranos.
00:22:56I think there's a long-form politics that we want and we're smart enough to know the difference between what we have in that and we can't get it because it's really not in the interests of people who have more leverage than the rest of us. I don't think it's the elites who are keeping this long for in politics from us. I think it's the voters. There are plenty of candidates on the Democratic side. Some of them are quite smart. Are you may or may not agree with them but will find quite smart on the Democratic side. We won't talk about dumb thing. For instance. I'm not familiar with all the candidates. So if I haven't mentioned your favorite Nintendo slight but they're obviously both quite smart, their chance of winning is pretty small. They have gotten media exposure. I know Andrew Yang is sometimes kept out of the CNN graphics and stuff and so on.
00:23:48But the virgin of itself hysterically funny as if it's you know, we're back in 1994 and no one will be able to discuss this because we don't have a lively internet, but the people who manipulate emotions right are more likely to be the Democratic candidates than those two individuals and that I don't blame on the elites not saying the elites are blameless. That's mostly the voters, you know, Frank Luntz. Well, I've met him and I've heard him talk. I wouldn't say I know him. Well, I think he's very smart. I think he's very smart. So I went to college with him in for those who don't know is a republican pollster who pioneered the use of particular phraseology for common concept any more or less discovered that we don't actually have opinions about underlying law or fax with Theory, but we have huge lead Divergent opinions are based on how the same underlying.
00:24:45Stuff is presented to us the death taxes and estate taxes. Maybe the same thing but we oppose the death tax and wear for the estate tax. Do you believe that this level of emotional manipulation would go away if we started getting tools with which to discuss it?
00:25:07Clearly that kind of emotional manipulation is higher in some countries than in others. So it's impossible to lie to believe it's them fixed Eternal constant, but the United States have it has a long history of emotional and sometimes populist politics in the eighties and nineties. I view is an outlier kind of error with things were relatively calm and reasonable even though at the time it didn't always feel that way that way to me at all my goodness, right? Yeah, then you would people in Congress attacking each other a lot of partisan media a lot of that right line. So I don't see America becoming like Switzerland anytime soon, but clearly it's not impossible. But I think one of the things that really strikes me about that is that the Lee attwater's in the Frank Luntz is who put a sort of a deliberate spin on this kind of mean-spirited emotional manipulation. We're surprised that it didn't behave what's a like rugby where you have a bunch of gentlemen take the field.
00:26:07Play absolutely brutally with each other and then going back going back to being gentleman when the game is over. Frank Luntz is told me that he just hates the current state of our politics that it's far too mean-spirited and destructive and he can't locate anything that he's done.
00:26:29To kick this this this into high gear. It's if it's a very strange thing is a disconnection between working on these campaigns in a somewhat scientific fashion to use people's passions to sort of take over the decision-making and then there's this inability to understand what how did we all become so uncivil. I wonder if one of the problems in America is our temporal distance from more. So there was World War II terrible event, but it did make us more instrumental irrational and if you look at something like the Manhattan Project phenomenal achievement, as you know done really quite quickly would not have been possible outside of wartime even in an earlier American then there's the Cold War now the Cold War let's say it ended 1989-1990 to that's a number for decades young people today don't know about it. So without a common enemy may be the enemy becomes each other in some way and we're more mean-spirited because there's a lack of a common enemy. That's to me the most
00:27:29Play single hypothesis for what's happened? And it's evolutionarily rational that when there isn't a common enemy, you would attempt potentially to make your slice larger at the expense of someone else's slicing might be on your team. Where is during wartime? That would be seen as a sort of an unforgivable offense because you have something much bigger to to organize and I think it's interesting the one issue where there is at least potentially a common enemy. Maybe not quite Vivid. Yeah, but that would be China sure pinion on China. It's not polarized Republican vs Democrat. I've spoken to people in Congress on both sides of vagina is a mix of opinions diverse opinions within each party. It's not that all the Republicans lineup on one side and all the progressives on another so they are easy polarisation actually not being so strong. I think China has done a wonderful job of manipulating Us by making sure that most of their activities below a threshold.
00:28:29So that it appears that they don't really have any Global designs. And of course there's a narrative that says China really cares only about China and it's not focused on the outside world.
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00:31:34My view is China has very strong. Asian designs. I'm not sure they have truly Global designs. But I view them as a threat to Liberty in Asia. Sure now, I guess I have a question. Do you think we're living through a very unusual time in the last this the last decade and really probably the last five to seven years. I'm not sure I would slice up the years that way so I know see the 1980s and 90s as the unusual time of calm and feeling of Triumph and that neoliberalism can do no wrong. And that's the outlier. The turning point for me is mine 11 and the financial crisis and now you have trumpism a series of very strange events that are causing people to revise many things. They had believed and we're responding by being nasty or to each other. So I see the cutoff point is 2001.
00:32:32Do you see anything? For example that to me? I view the apparent death of Jeffrey Epstein is one of the most bizarre news stories I've ever seen it. It seemingly happened with every bizarre coincidence that would be necessary for somebody in protective custody to meet his end under a situation in which everybody wants to know exactly who he was how he was connected to the intelligence community's where are his supposed probable co-conspirators. They seem to still be alive. Nobody seems to be tracking this down the news media seems preternatural Leon interested in it. And if you look at like top podcast there lots of podcast that are dedicated to the Jeffrey Epstein Quest anybody could make money even debunking conspiracy theories about murders of Jeffrey Epstein by the intelligence Community. What the hell is going on? We're not even talking about I haven't followed the
00:33:31Details of the Epstein death very closely, but in general it's very hard to get me to believe in conspiracy theories. Just looking at base rates. How many people kill themselves in prison vs. How many people are killed by outside conspiracies in prison other than the case of someone who snitches on the end of the drug gang and their shift in the shower that kind of thing which is pretty common. So I'm not close to thinking that was a conspiracy. I would say I have an open mind and I haven't studied it but I don't look at it and recoil I think my goodness this is so strange. I don't know you don't have to believe it's a conspiracy. You can believe that there to camera failures in that there's some guards that were asleep on the job and then a freakishly long. With nobody killing themselves in that facility happened to be ended because there's an arrival of an unpredictable event what I'm trying to set up my point to you would be if that's what I believed and that is a part of what I believe. I have a probability distribution if it's far more weight on other things that then I think
00:34:31Probability distribution does I would be interested to discuss that and to show people just how The Conspirator The Conspiracy Theory Rising mind is let astray will be a wonderful opportunity for a rationalist to take this on and to sell a bunch of papers by showing what nonsense is an even Michael Shermer at some point you put us the market for that so large it wanted to prove he wasn't murdered but my point is people wanted to talk about this much more than papers wanted like why not do it a special on what is known about Jeffrey Epstein's connections to the intelligence community.
00:35:18Just just that what has known. I'm not saying that they he has huge connections the intelligence, but what do we know I read about it in my blog comments all the time. I'm not sure how much if it to dress up. If I look back on History to me. It's remarkable have few successful conspiracies there are and there can be a lot of circumstantial evidence that something was a conspiracy talk of Pearl Harbor JFK assassination many other cases on Pearl Harbor affect. You most historians think it was a series of massive screw-ups and they were clearly pieces of information put on tables and left around but there was no committee or individual such as FDR saying I'm going to let this go. I'm not saying that I don't think anybody wanted Japan to attack us. That ferocity in Pearl Harbor, but the question of did we want kassia's belly for World War II and was probably where we interested in potentially getting trapped.
00:36:18In British shipping lanes or choking Japan which is resource-poor for natural resources. So as to induce them into some active belligerents, hopefully much smaller than Pearl Harbor. That's not a conspiracy, right? That's that's a plan that went wrong. It would be a bit of a conspiracy to attempt to get someone to attack you so that you could enter the war claiming to have been attacked. I don't know why you don't see as many pretty procedure. I guess. I'm always shocked by how many relatively large and complicated conspiracies have been proven to have existed. If not falling apart and all these standard thing. You can't get a large number of people to do something with that somebody squealing that people have an urge to purge. So nobody keeps a secret. This has been to my mind clearly disproven just buy proven conspiracy.
00:37:18What is to you the most traumatic large-scale conspiracy? Cointelpro has to be the best of them and what happened there that the FBI had a dirty tricks Department that actually fed misinformation to create fake news into the mainstream media with the intention of killing law-abiding Americans because the FBI didn't like the politics. That's pretty bad.
00:37:43Look at watch number people to it's not what I see is a conspiracy so we know for instance as a fact that the CIA supported abstract expressionism within the field of fainting would neutralize propagandistic art and make America's less communistic. I don't think that's seriously disputed. I got into a much more interesting discussion with an economist not too long ago who was looking at my work in economics and said Eric person said to me Eric, I can't stand to see you fighting The Chicago School of Economics. Are you aware that this was really just a bulwark against to tell Terry and communism rather than a theory that was intended to be operational and descriptive it with predictive power. And it now that the Cold War is Over Now The problem is we didn't tell the children that it was really a political project rather than an analytic one.
00:38:40I mean I know where do most of those people they were Economist what they said. They believe was true. They had careerist concerns are they wanted to make the world a better place? That's actually the best theory of The Chicago School of economics.
00:38:55Well, I don't know. I mean that you know that there's this very funny Paradigm, which I call earns as an ex spends as a y and you know, for example in physics, I would say that Edward Witten has earned as a geometer, but he spent as a string theorist. Okay in economically, I would say Milton Friedman earned is an economist who was a very fine, and he spent as a political theorist and that impart this game of earning in one place and spending somewhere else is
00:39:29Depending upon how you view the history of a subject. It can be far more important to the participants how they spend rather than how they earn their credibility Friedman made some mistakes. So he thought that educational vouchers would work easily and simply and be quite popular that hasn't turned out to be the case. He was more optimistic about shock therapy than he should have been though. I would say I'm a whole shock therapy has done well on average. Look at Poland, right Poland is a successful fairly free economy.
00:40:02But what explains that I think is just simply that Milton didn't see the future course of world history and he was in perfect and may be too optimistic about some of his own ideas and you'll hear all kinds of accounts about the Chicago the Chicago boys and conspiracy or the Habsburg monarchy. You hear this from Lyndon larouche, okay with the CIA funded them and chili or whatever. I don't feel closer the correct deep historical understandings, the more or less superficial account. They had ideas they believed in the ideas. Some of the ideas were wrong. A lot of them turned out to be really quite correct. Their overall record is pretty good that superficial account. I think is fundamentally true.
00:40:43So now that we've somehow found its economic after breathing through some other stuff and I really never out if I cannot expect at least continue. All right, can we talk? And again, let's feel free to turn any question around on me. Although I'm not an economist. Would I find astounding about the field of Economics? Is that on the one hand? I can't get enough of it. I need to use its Concepts its terminology some of its models and on the other hand. I think it's an absolute Abomination that has been
00:41:23Not it's at the field is broken so much as that, the field is fixed in the same sense that the World Series can be fixed and I find it whenever I go into economically is this the sort of Martin Bailey type approach where there's this very defensible core of economic Friday. And then there's this is absolutely tortured Just So Stories that we tell that almost always seems to flatter institutions in power and in the structures that would be offended. If we actually just let the field run and will reach the conclusions that would emerge from the models. It may depend on what exactly you're being upset by but keep in mind at least in the west but you're calling institutions and power are the most successful institutions the world has singing ever. So there's something to be said on their behalf, right, Jordan, Illinois. 00:42:23We shouldn't be repulsed by that there may be margins were there getting things wrong. So I would say no Economist that I know of is really willing to write a critique of the National Science Foundation. Why is that hard approved? But I think the logical reasons are the obvious ones. I don't want to alienate a potential funder.
00:42:42Was the only major critique written was written by myself by with Alex tabarrok. Other than that, it's a virtual ELD literature.
00:42:51I've accused the National Science Foundation of specifically destroying the pipeline for stem labor for the purpose of making stem labor cheap for employers to the detriment of American Spirits. Sure. I read that but within economics it's very hard to find criticisms of the NSF virtually impossible. Okay. So here's an interesting question to me Economist have been very comfortable turning the lens of economic theory Rising on absolutely any group save one of those priests will do it to scientists to politicians.
00:43:33They cannot imagine. I mean that this is going to escape notice forever. My wife is talked about economics squared. What is the political economy of Economist themselves? And where are these paper that you don't find it interesting particularly that this field doesn't exist. I think they do it now on Twitter. So they accuse each other of having bad motives or being captive of their funders. So with social media, you're seeing blossoming of this kind of attack how they're still criticisms. I don't like being made. So there's the partisan criticism of people who disagree with you but to say criticize Chinese graduate students because they can't speak their mind about issues related to China because they fear for their own careers are for their family members back in China that somehow not acceptable to raise even as an issue. So I do think there'll be blind spots but just like attacking the other person is now pretty common typically done in a not very clever sophisticated way.
00:44:33Okay, but we are more sophisticated. If you were going to turn the lens of economics and particularly the analysis of political economy on the profession of Economics. What would be the assuming that they're sort of a Pareto curve here shirt for the first 10% of my effort? I should get something like 70% of the of the of the bang. What would be the first thing to do in economic theory using economic theory against Economist themselves really use the subjunctive but I haven't factored in this the biggest problem is people over specialized and right narrow defensible papers to be published that are invulnerable to Pier criticism, but don't amount to very much and there's a massive waste of human labor and people do not direct their energy energy stored actually solving problems and answering questions that to me is criticism. Number one. I think it's absolutely correct concerns me greatly.
00:45:33Phone number if people have voiced this that's sort of a finder's to the correct then perhaps I didn't that's a little bit of an opportunity cost that we could have done a lot more and instead we settled for something that wasn't or maybe those people should just not be doing economics or talented people they could just you know, Bill bricks, whatever true but if if I think about what really move the needle in medicine, let's say the whole concept of iatrogenic harm, which is you no harm done by healers really focused on the idea that certain hospitals kill more people than others. What about Econo Jenna car?
00:46:13Pence at whom you point the finger, but if you look at what is sometimes called the Washington consensus, which is not a view I completely agree with by any means but it's called the Washington consensus for a reason. There's a recent paper by Bill easterly that goes through and argues correctly. I think that on average the Washington consensus has done more good than harm. So the idea that economics are some great Scandal that we've gone around wrecking things Benjamin Applebaum argues this in his recent book. I like that book. I think it's smart, but I think it is more wrong than right and it's overlooking the many cases where economic advice has done. Well, I mentioned Poland before but Czech Republic Slovakia, you look at Chile, which is been Democratic since 1990 economic inequality in Chile has been falling for some. Of time the country started from Sky High rates and it has fallen somewhat. It's in the middle of the Latin American distribution, but it's fallen and the country at the
00:47:13Highest real wages in Latin America by some amount. It's not a miracle. It's not perfect Economist gave some bad advice there, but overall they did much more good than harm. This is the thing. I'm very confused by I understand. Let me just say that I see that even though Economist may do a lot of harm prettified is doing pure good that
00:47:41that's not the criticism that I would really level first at the profession. It's really something closer to academic malpractice where the economist know the truth the right way to set up the problem and choose not only not to do that in public but to demonize to exclude to blackball anyone who would make the correct critique in other words. I don't know the right way to set up the problem. We don't we're too stupid or not. That is answer.
00:48:17What what's the problem we should be setting up a right way to give the example that I perhaps snow. Are we going to get to gauge Theory now? You want to make your point but we need to get to gauge Theory cuz I need you to fire a little of each. I'll change one. I'll do the gates of do a gauge their example that's complicated. Do you rather simple point then? We'll do gauge Theory well.
00:48:41I could do the great moderation I could do.
00:48:46Stem labor and I could do CPI. These are things I've I've engaged with if I did the CPI one. That's very clear.
00:48:55You have a small number of Economist who in the mid-90s became directed by Bob Packwood and Daniel Moynihan to find an overstatement of the CPI because tax brackets were indexed right and entitlement benefits Social Security Medicare were index. And so what they found is if you could knock down the measurement of the CPI, you could raise taxes and slash benefits and they backed out that 1.1% over statement if corrected would lead to a trillion dollar savings over 10 years and they actually broke into two groups to come up with two separate numbers that would add together to 1.1.
00:49:43Which to me is academic malpractice. That is they started with the target.
00:49:48And this is according to one of their own members of the spa skin commission Professor Gordon who talked about the fact that somehow the two groups came up with the two numbers which would added together gave Dale Jorgenson a Harvard professor of Economics is 1.1% / statement, and that's what they went with not to me that's like saying we need to find an error and all the temperature gauges so that we can come up with different targets because global warming is a problem. You're not allowed to touch the temperature gauges for god sakes for sure you are as in so many numbers does an error as exaggerated exactness, but if you look say it's Google's price index. It's not so different from how we calculate the CPI. If you look at how central banks are other economic authorities around the world calculate their cpi's, it's not that different than what we have done and you could say it's all one big overly Carly Hunter.
00:50:48CPI is off by very much. And if it's off it's still may be overstating inflation a wee bit cuz there are perhaps more free Goods today through the internet then we hadn't not legitimate counter-argument. What I'm trying to say is that Sumit. In fact, there is a best CPI and assumed that it was 1.1% overstated. It's still not legitimate to go into a quiet room in a closed commission and say Here's the target boys and we have to find this number. Let's break into groups and put together that number so that are finding will raise taxes and Flash benefit. You're not allowed to break the gauge to get the policy. The gauge is the gauge.
00:51:31Politics is an ugly sister, but it does seem they gave us a measure of the CPI somewhat better than what we had had if you think that inflation is actually been much higher. You must think real rates of return today are responding Lilo. I mean that will truly make you a make a pessimist which perhaps you are but keep in mind people compare are measurements of rates of inflation to other economic variables and see if the whole picture makes sense. And if you think the true rate is very different from what we have that apply some very radical conclusions, which I don't want to dismiss out of hand, but I'll just say there are multiple checks on this process do they fit in with her into different layers of the discussion, which is fascinating to me one way or the discussion is did they point out some good things about ways in which the CPI could be done better they did and did they do some work that I absolutely did.
00:52:23Did they commit academic malpractice?
00:52:27Absolutely, motherfuking. Yes. They committed academic malpractice. It's not in the same layer of the Stacked. I like to me is your objection just to process so I don't doubt that things went on in those rooms. I don't know I wasn't there. Will they destroyed my wife's career over? It is my opinion. They went into something called the Harvard jobs Market meeting which is a closed-door session during the time that the boss can commission was active and she was talking about two of the things that you can do to try to adjust the CPI to make it more accurate one is to replace what's called a mechanical index. That is something to prices. Let's say a basket of goods in two different time periods. Famous examples being the passionless pairs index.
00:53:16That you can either replace that with a human standard which is like cost of living. What is the cost to make you equally happy between two points in time, right? Or you can do something called Channing and Channing given that your blog is called marginal Revolution. Marginal Revolution was originally the introduction of the differential calculus in the economic theory and this is in the limit and application of differential calculus. And the fact is that these two things have never played well together because you can't chain tastes in economic theory you have the doctrine that says The Taste have to be treated as if they were unchanging.
00:53:57And what we did in collaborative work was to bring in Gates. There is you are stating to make sure for the first time you had Dynamic agents who were allowed to change their taste as humans do and still stay within the folds of what's known as ordinal utility Theory thought I would say this most people would admit and indeed emphasize that over a time. Of multiple decades the comparisons just don't work and cannot work their various impossibility theorem for aggregating Price indices overtime. So if you asked what would you rather have me like the Frisch's right? Would you rather have $50,000 to spend in the Sears Roebuck catalog of today or 1,900 most people would rather spend it in the catalog of today, but that suggests there's actually been radical deflation. I don't think that's exactly the correct conclusion. I think the correct conclusion is over very long periods of time. The comparability goes away in transitivity enters into the calculation and you just need to
00:54:57Very careful and modest as to what you know and don't know actually is an entirely different possibilities. So would we were discussing for those of you at home? We want to play along what are the things that's weird about this podcast is that I'm very willing to throw out pointers rather than 2 dumb things down to the point that nothing ever happens on the podcast. So there was a guy named Irving Fisher who you can look up who came up with lots of axioms to find the perfect price index and then Ragnar Frisch came up with an impossibility theorem that said if you took on Fisher's axioms, there was provably no measure that could satisfy all of the acts arends and possible before you tell us what it is. Give us the bottom line, you know money shot. Let's say gauge theory is correct is the actual rate of inflation higher or lower than what we're measuring. It's that you're measuring the wrong object. There's something that you would create which you might so
00:55:57If we previously used these mechanical Posh and less pairs in this industry's those are replaced by something called a conus index Nokomis comes in two flavors, but it's a cost-of-living which prices utility the pleasure I get for my items rather than the cost of the items. So if if if wine and beer are the same price per litre and I'm a difference between them and there's a frost that kills off a bunch of grapes. If you pay me the money to re-buy my original basket, I'm going to take the money. I'm going to buy a mess of beer because wine has become too expensive and spend the extra money on something else. Right? So if you want to get rid of that affect, you move to this thing called the conus index and you adjust for Quality better, but that's hard to do this a lot of people but there's a lot of growing to do this, right so highly in perfect indirect the internet makes it harder but that's not that's not weird gauge Theory really comes in what the really exciting thing about gauge theory in economics. And there's nobody I'd rather just
00:56:57Tabitha Lynn Tyler is the economics should be the most interesting of subjects analytically and intellectually because it is the only place that I'm familiar with men's to greatest idea is coming into direct contact the theory of selection both sexual and natural that governs us as Apes which we don't use very much but you will allow a reinterpretation in which lets a utility maps to Fitness and indifference maps to drift. I think you'll find that you're using it everywhere. In fact, what economics does is to give you a second layer using the fact that money uniformize is a lot of things to allow and as if physics to arise as in the work of Paul Samuelson, and so the weird thing is that you've got Apes engaging and markets, which is really just selection by other by other means
00:57:57using an as if physics as the language of interaction
00:58:02See, I would say the best idea of Economics is that demand curves? Slope downwards price goes up people do less of something a selection is an incredibly important idea. We've done a bad job of incorporating it no slime into the idea. There's a lot of pieces on selection in economics, but they tend to be big sprawling messes rather than useful and most of the best economics pieces are based on pretty simple applications of the law of demand her income affects but to get back to gauge Theory, let's say everything you're saying is true is the actual real rate of return higher or lower than I used to think it is that's what I want to know. Should I be more optimistic? I'm more pessimistic know my guess is you probably end up more pessimistic, but the number of different things that would change you see there's a concept let's say in computer programming about how something is cast if I have the number three, I can either treat three is a symbol in which case it's a string I can treat it as an integer in which case I'd call it an INT or I could treat it as a
00:59:023.000 an hour how much accuracy that the computers willing to maintain the question of what is let's say a representative consumer.
00:59:13Is not properly understood in my opinion that the the problem is the representative consumer should be a field something like a temperature field or a field of wind measurements on the space of all possible consumers that you and I will explore hopefully in this podcast something about our difference in taste in music. I don't even know what it is, but we're going to start now we're going to find out it is the case that if you were doing inflation properly you would be using gauge Theory and you would you be using field theoretical concepts for representative agency wouldn't be making these Point like you would never say what's the temperature today in America because it's it's it's you cast temperature which should be a field displayed on a map as if it was a single number like a float. What's the action of all trade based on this information?
01:00:10I mean you probably are already rich but you should be truly truly Rich, right? This will be an actionable trade if we miss calculating real rates of return.
01:00:20What are you going to marry into the proper estimate is higher than we realize they'll be some kind of options play on that and over time. It will systematically make money and I think that my my reluctance is that it's not really a sharp question. You have all sorts of questions like a doncic adjustments which is you know, the car that I call a Mustang today isn't like the car that I call a Mustang from 30 years ago. So I may have to look at how much luxury trunk space fuel efficiency that series of different objects had in as it is it changed qualitatively there's a question about why does economics Focus so much on Pareto Improvement as a gold standard where if you all get rich by an additional billion dollars and I get rich by 35 Cent. I'm supposed to say that I'm improved any sensible human being looking at things like mate selection or you know scarce vacation property will know that I'm much worse off.
01:01:20I agree with that, but that's a separate question. But that's the dish so many of those things. I don't know how to answer your question in other words the field but you should be shortened tangible Capital. If you think it true real rates of return or lower than other people realize it may be tangible Capital. You can measure exactly how valuable the factory is but intangible Capital which is hard to Value. You should be more pessimistic about so there's a bunch of firms with a lot of intangible Capital you could short those if you want to be hedged the market is a whole you could be long or otherwise protect yourself against other developments by having some other long except. It's also the case that some of us who have attempted to form these kind of broad Theses. I can tell you that I didn't really appreciate what was going to happen between the collapse of bear Stearns and several months after AIG was about to turn hard and basically no one did even people who saw some parts of the crash early on did not
01:02:20Have a good day by day predictions of how it would all involved. Well and the issue of the interceding in the markets, you know with a very visible hand to engage in pure acts of political economy to
01:02:37You know both stabilize the economic system, but also to defend very vulnerable institutional players. I no longer know how to make those kinds of Trance because I don't believe that I know what we can do artificially in the face of a crisis if real rates of return are truly lower than his believed the system cannot deny that either forever or even for that long that I had claiming the word just keep on buying puts on the appropriate stocks. Don't do it with leverage just tossed money into this trades forget about them do it for 30 years. Your young man. Maybe you're doing it right. I'm not expecting you to tell the audience your financial position. I'm just saying there's a way of testing this view. It's not that hard.
01:03:21Most people in the hedge fund world or not doing this right and they think very closely about I do believe that we are here is about a 50-year bubble. I mean, so one of the things that that unites us is I was thrilled that you were also focused on the early 1970s as a real and mysterious discontinuity with respect to growth in the end. It's a lot of indicators crash. You can say find the higher price of oil. That's great. But the higher price of oil goes away and those indicators do not come back very well. What do you think? Okay.
01:04:02First of all, it's just do this slowly. Is it mysterious that more people aren't focused on what happens around 1972 to 74, of course 10% of the profession should be working on that instead people are doing these little narrow things to publish but it's hard to get a clear answer to the question. We're discussing. So no one can publish on it and referees will shoot down whatever you turn in I would rather see people just dry then speculate on the more important questions. But if you ask why do I think happened clearly oil was a major factor? Let me get give you just a little bit of your do what you can't do but I can't I think my favorite version of the graph that shows how violent this change was is something that you focused us on it's not perfect but it's measure GDP whatever the failures we have that measure together with measured male median income us and those two things are going up in lock step before 1973.
01:05:02You're so and then one of them flat lines and the other keeps going up is that grab something that you developed? I presented it. Obviously the numbers come from other people. I've done a lot to draw attention to it, but I don't pretend its original with me while I think it was a great observation that that graph was so clean that it caused people to stop denying that something happened to her and then they almost immediately my experience and correct me if that if yours is different they go from not believing that something really big happened to immediately telling you exactly what it was that happened that explains it and the rich people stole it all or something or it's all about Bretton Woods or it's all just about the real shock, but I think the missing variable once you get to oil prices over-regulation
01:05:54A number of factors that people have already discussed but I think the increasing feminization of society is a missing factor in this whole equation that Norms have changed women as a whole or more risk-averse were much less likely to fight a war in the more feminized Society. So in my opinion, this is very likely good on that but change is harder to accomplish in some ways and people are more comfortable with higher levels of Regulation and that's how things are just pluses and minuses but it will slow down measured economic growth. Can we talk about to use your term a feminized economy without making it public?
01:06:38In a public sphere without having to celebrate everything that is feminized and demonize everything. That was lost. Well, it depends who the Wii is. Okay. I do think one should consider costs and benefits and to a large extent men have accepted a more feminized Society because it has very strong positive. So I'm completely sincere when I say that I think it's a good thing some experimental evidence and portfolio evidence women are more risk-averse.
01:07:10And as a norm, my guess is not proven, but my speculation is that really matters and it is an addition to other factors about productivity and Regulation and spending more and fighting pollution and oil prices and so on which are at this point more or less well-known.
01:07:27And that's why I think the Slowdown has mostly persisted and I do think you will have extraordinary. Like 1995 to 1998 when information technology to so many good things it overwhelms the negatives. I think we'll have more of those. So let's assume for the moment that both feminization of some kind has occurred. Right and let's also just to be late for this purpose that it's also net-positive up until the present. Let's imagine that going forward far fewer women choose or able to form families and become mothers turn. How does that change the equation potentially could that tip this increased level of feminization negative even now forgetting about the speculation? It's a significant game for elite man and quite possibly a negative for non-elite men and you see that in the day the very clearly do the marriage, correct. So marriage as an incentive is much weaker for some subclass of men who seem to be fairly numerous.
01:08:27Religiosity seems to be down total fertility is down. It's now I believe it about 1.8 used to be a 2.2.
01:08:37And not if you look at Social indicators for a lot of men in the lower middle-class income or educational category ucmas of problems, and that's part of the story.
01:08:49What sorts of economic behavior do you see?
01:08:55Change with what's a lower status males?
01:09:04Really taking the brunt of some of the shocks to tour modern economy. Well marriage is good for man on net it feminizes them for one thing. See what's better health lower depression. Correct less drug abuse suicide rates lower and so on and Racine those variables for a significant numbers of men moving the wrong directions median income as you noted as I presented that has been stagnant for the median mail-order. I think those numbers are are across a long enough period of time they're unreliable in some ways, but that there is a problem is completely indisputable to say, oh it's gone up exactly so much between 1970 and today that is an illusion, but that it is a problem and indeed a crisis that is very much a reality and you see it again in many other indicators not just the income numbers. That's how we know. It's real what have women potentially lost from increased feminization, even if it's net positive for them as well.
01:10:03Again, women is quite a large category.
01:10:10Would you want to break it up into low status and high-status females looking at some of the issues about how high status females use low-status females to perform Ken work that would otherwise have to be done. I mean that stress levels for a fair number of women are higher.
01:10:30If you think women now have the chance to have better careers, which is great for the economy and very good for the person working. If you're in a career you enjoy but at the same time it may be hard to convince the men they should take on a greater share of child-rearing responsibilities. So the woman ends up having to do both and the income level is higher, but the stress level is much higher and I think there's both scientific evidence and anecdotal evidence. That is true. I couldn't tell you offhand how large a class of women that is, but I do know it's been studied pretty extensively you think it's so difficult to discuss cost and benefits and even the facts of gender within economic theory without it becoming so contentious as to effectively make VF price somewhat a problem while it's hard to discuss in many settings not just an economics. I think I actually economics is one of the better.
01:11:30Things to be able to have such discussions are there two areas in Academia where you can still say things are either counterintuitive or possibly Politically Incorrect and that's economics and philosophy and both are healthier for it. Evolutionary theory. I know that area less. Well may well be true. I would say that that's probably my I mean, it's under a ton of pressure note. Don't get me wrong. But I do think that if you allow political correctness into evolutionary theory, there is no subject.
01:12:05Probably Trail again. I couldn't say economics is under some pressure now, I bet it's so data-driven that
01:12:14results get out, right they may be refrained in particular ways or certain angles of it talk down or putting Johnny thoughts about the wage Gap.
01:12:23Well, which one between men and women Euless take that one if you would just for demographics it mostly goes away. I do think there is also discrimination against women in labor markets, but I don't don't do it measured by the wage Gap. That's that's one of my problems. Like I've I've gone so far as to claim that academic tenure is increasingly withheld because a large number of females find child-rearing so fulfilling that it competes even if they're at the very top of their profession is researchers and so bite.
01:12:55Forcing people both men and women to wait longer and longer for a permanent job offer.
01:13:01What you do is you start selecting out against a very talented usually female assistant professor who made discover the joys of raising three kids and we'll have a 15-year period of decreased productivity. I've argued we should abolish tenure to be more fair to women. There are other reasons, but that'll let you think that that's somewhat lengthy absolutely the frustration being that those of us who think of ourselves as concerned with actual discrimination against women in the labor force may not want to sign on to the you know, if women get paid $0.75 for every dollar that a man gets paid because that's not a good argument and the elite man who benefit from 10-year they'll just call it meritocracy and somehow compartmentalize and not see how it's an unfair system. But another thing I would say that I would really want to stress. There's a lot of kind of tough talk on like the right-wing about
01:13:55All of the claims of women about discrimination or overblown or incorrect and so on and I get where they're coming from at the discrimination against women in markets. It's very real. It's very significant and I remain self image of ourselves should be as problem solvers who will reduce that discrimination and take on some kind of emancipatory perspective to do that. I think you have to be objective so that the evidence if the gold is not at the end of it all to dismiss it or the Democrats are wrong or the left wing is terrible. It's really the wrong proach like focus on the individuals is a big problem tell people to commit from a different perspective. I say come at it from greed. If you imagine the number of insights that are held between female ears and putting up extra barriers within the workplace means we have less if you are mines that we can query
01:14:49It definitely seems to be the case that given differential success rates if you believe in anything, like intellectual equality, there should be a bonanza to be unlocked from having women highly productive in the workplace to make me to me greed rather than obligation seems to me to be the right strategy and not everybody loves that approach a problem. Even if you as an individual saying employer are greedy. There may be social norms that make it hard for you to benefit from your insights. Cuz the other people in your workplace customers may have screwed up expectations and norms and you can't just wave a magic wand and what kind of see through all the myths of gender and hire the right people and automatically succeed if some educational issue a collective action problem where large numbers of us need to understand what's going on better and see which are the actual discriminations which I think are often matters of expectations and role models.
01:15:46An implicit biases which can be very strong. Will you ask about gauge Theory earlier when we ran into trouble trying to introduce gauge Theory into the core of Economics. We could have a very unpredictable effect because it was going to be a backwards incompatible start a backwards compatible upgrade of the entire Theory with making compatible. Also with the world's most beautiful mathematics found in particle theory general relativity and differential topology. What I found was that their economics was set up for it to be a battle and that my wife and collaborator did not want the fight and I was I mean, I was just ready to go to Duke it out with these guys for the pure pleasure of shoving it down their throats an extremely sort of male aggressive perspective on an innovation and because it was under her name.
01:16:46Giving it was her thesis and we would collaborate and I'm part of it. There was no ability to actually have that fights of the Norms of the profession.
01:16:58Favored conflict as a means of exploring something and it because women may have different feelings about how conflict should be handled. I worry that like in this instance where you know, you had somebody from from the developing World who's female.
01:17:19Presenting a new idea that such ideas can get lost very easily. If we don't have a more balanced workplace. There's a lot of self-examination going on in economics right now about conflictual norms and have seminars are held but I worry a bit will address The Superficial aspects and be superficial Lisa light answer and not change actually being rivalry. It's in the way that is screwed up. We'll see how it evolves. This is a new movement so far. I'm I'm not yet optimistic that we'll get it the actual problem.
01:17:52You aren't well, we'll see you in all fairness the people who raised that are completely correct to raise that I'm on their side, but at the same time we can't be naive you've got to realize problems are deeply rooted and to just focus on The Superficial symbols of the problem you can end up.
01:18:12Not fixing things so we can leave refer to this podcast is audio and video samizdat that effectively this is Pirate Radio for a new generation. You were famous with an economically for a couple of moves that seemed really nutty to me and I think the first one is that you turned down Harvard to go to George Mason as an undergraduate because you thought you could spend more time reading the great the great works of Economics is do I have my facts more or less right? I didn't apply to Harvard. I had a very strong academic record. This was back in the late 1970s.
01:18:53Believe I could have gotten into many top schools. But I only applied to George Mason. In fact, okay, so my high school guidance counselor thought I was crazy. I had SATs, you know a good grades. But for me, this was a version of homeschooling. I was choosing homeschooling and most of all I hated the idea of living in a dorm. I consider that so barbaric that is a seventeen-year-old. I thought I want a life. I want a car. I want an apartment George Mason was a commuter school. It had an interesting economics department, but most of all I wanted my personal space and ability for classes not to be too hard or have too much homework and I would just work on my own like everyday all day long morning through night. And I did it. Was it a great decision while it's not for me to say I don't regret it at all. I'm very happy. I did it but, you know great by what standard it could be a lot of decisions. You make ex post. You're glad you're sure turned out to be you.
01:19:50And you'll endorse them but that's not quite as informative is actually seeing the Exxon take trade off. Okay, but then you went to Harvard for grad school, correct and necessary for me to get a job. Right? And they research job and then you came back to George Mason after a stint at UC Irvine pet direct. Okay, and you start choosing to blog.
01:20:12Yes, that's correct. That was I think 2003 though. My memory could be off by a year and that this puts you in a group with people like Peter white in physics who are starting to really upset standard academicians if I recall correctly because the power of this blog to upend would have been thought to be the meritocracy. If you have somebody who can think and write very clearly an in a lively fashion suddenly, they're able to have a different kind of influence than you might have through a journal like a kind of metric or something like that, but I'm not sure I upset people at first it was not taken at all seriously. So no one was upset and then it was very quick all of a sudden that it was taken very seriously and then people decided they needed to suck up to me or to the blog and there was not much of a need to mediate. Or I fought some kind of wore it was the opposition understand that so in general,
01:21:09the power of this blog wants it was realized cause people to
01:21:15Want to get along with you people are very nice to me as I think they should be but they're not always nice to each other. They're nicer to me than they are to each other and that came suddenly and before that happened. They just ignored me there was never much hostility that I'm aware of why I tried fighting on a couple of points, but I was very ineffectual so I can see that you're a likable fight off this incredible opposition and you know, I persevered and they told me this and I stuck with it. That doesn't ring so true to me. It's like I did my own thing world like who knows but they weren't paying attention and then somehow it magically that worked out and what do you think the current status of Economics blogging and I just died
01:22:02Who's still in it? That that's worth reading? It depends what you count as a Blog but econlog with Brian Kaplan Scott Sumner and other people is great. I'll Scott Sumner Zone blog is very good on old fling ask blog. It's called Paul Krugman is not really blogging anymore the debates happen on Twitter, which I think is a less effective medium, but obviously it's quicker and in that sense quote on quote cheaper.
01:22:27And obviously Facebook Twitter and other social media have beaten up logging. It's been great for my efforts.
01:22:34We play the kind of Last Man Standing strategy and done very well with it. So I'm not worried about the death of blocking. My view is like bring it on. You know how I feel then, you know, God will continue. Just ask the question. How many websites can you go to Everyday wear this reliably interesting content to this New York Times is financial times has a bunch of what you think in the comments section of marginal revolutions. Your blog is a large draw. I don't know. I think it's pretty terrible. I hope it's not a large draw but since it has a lot of comments that must draw someone that does seem to draw a lot of interest for people really want to mix it up there. I don't know whether to provide context for the post. So I shut down the comment section for like 10 days just as an experiment. We know the comments were terrible, but they gave us contacts on your post cuz you would just say things we wouldn't understand and read the comments and now we know what's at stake. So now I think those people are doing something pretty valuable.
01:23:34Even though I like the actual quality of what is that is highly variable to be generous.
01:23:40Do you have the sense that we're part of a weird movement?
01:23:48I don't know how to call it like thinkers who aren't much recognized by the standard structures like Patrick Collison. For example of somebody who a lot of our world that I share with you holds and very high. We hold him in very high esteem. I don't know how many people in the country think of Patrick as a mind rather than as a very rich CEO Patrick is one of the smartest people ever but I think a whole bunch of people know that now yeah and you think that he's being tasked by our government to really think through difficult problems and Technology. I would tell I would test Menard be well, I don't know what our government has in mind. I want to get back to this idea of like who are the structures?
01:24:42So marginal Revolution, it's a Blog but I don't view it as just about me. I view myself as editing a daily magazine for Economist and other smart people right and like it's the deli magazine for economist's and related kinds of thinkers. So I don't view it is like an outside thing anymore. I know it has this funny weird early years of blogging look like a 1990s website. That's like a retro inside joke so cool. I like it. And I don't even know how to make it better without it looking kind of stupid and gross but like I'm the establishment not the only part of it. Okay, so you're going to pretend to be so I miss is awesome thinkers that live sort of on the periphery of the Consciousness. I don't know. What time do the time I'm serious you
01:25:33Absolutely. I wrote a blogpost about you. And I said he defended this podcast defend it defend you I said Eric Weinstein is one of the most interesting people to sit down and have an extended intensive conversation with this is why it's so hard to fight with you. 01:25:50Is it you couldn't be kinder but I am trying to think about whose signal we can boost at the moment. Like I think I remember we went went to that meeting on how to think about measuring and and reforming science for higher productivity Laura Deming. For example, blew me away. I thought she has not as great as some of the best insights on I don't know how to boost your signal enough. She's she's somebody like Patrick that I want more people thinking about we have a mutual friend who is incredibly generative and very dangerous Michael Vassar intellectually. I'm never sure what's up with Michael. I've spent time with him and been very impressed. But I just don't know what he's doing. Yeah, you enlighten me know I can tell you that he's theorizing about woke as a concept. He's much more for it without buying it in its own terms. That sounds like me, but water is in
01:26:50Media products don't know I mean, it's just there are these people who many of us talked to over the years or grin? You must know who grandma is? No don't know Grand. Just gwern just Google to Grand. He is a man if you like the Daniel schmachtenberger of our time and I wonder if I doubt you will either way you put the question. Yeah siguieron lives in southern Maryland, okay and just like lives and he writes these essays on the internet and he collects information. He's a phenomenal guy very friendly if you meet him seems super nice. I don't know him well, but I've only positive things to say about my interaction with him.
01:27:31And I his essays will blow your mind Scott Alexander. Any more ideas come from the internet rather. Everyone likes that or not. Okay for the last 10 15 years and the people are all discussing are in various ways significant players on the internet and of course it's diverse, but they're not like quite the outsiders anymore. And neither are you? Oh, really? I really I don't know that I can get my ideas inside of the institution my claim is that when the heterodox thinkers are finally invited back in I think you want to be invited Council on Foreign Relations. That would bore the hell out of you. The way I do it. I don't know. I mean, I'm sure they're fine. I have a lot of smart people. I know a lot of people that are like them very much. I enjoy talking with them. I've never visited the place. Okay, but as an institution, yeah, I don't think of them as changing anyone's mind on anything and I don't mind.
01:28:31No, but that's part of what I think about like the National Academy of Sciences. I went for a meeting at the National Academy and it's very clear that they weren't used to really heterodox ideas of a certain level in anything like the volume that we had them and
01:28:49the problem that I so I have this thing. I called the disc the distributed idea suppression complex. Yeah, and it has to do in this has to do with our mutual friend Peter teal who has a related bizarre version of Eva, no idea what that will be talked a lot about his version. Is that the stagnation that he and I knew I think of all discussed is actually functional that it's really important to retard the spread of great ideas because in some sent they may be so destabilizing to a fragile World fascinating idea. It's a fascinating idea. I'm Peter I would say would be one of the smartest people of our age and again too often. He's referring to itself as an original creative generative thinker and as a judge of talent which are two related but separate things was like Peter could be the smartest person that I know in part.
01:29:49Did you make that argument what I would say is that Peter does a better job figuring out who the generative heterodox thinkers are your objection notwithstanding to the term heterodox? And then what he realizes very often. This is that they don't know the the best way of putting forward their ideas. He's also got another
01:30:12idea that academicians don't understand which I call.
01:30:19Maximally compressed minimally distorted where he takes some idea and he's willing to give up a tiny amount of accuracy to make it extremely compact so that when I'm packed it tells you a ton and because academicians over focus on special cases, he very off and run the table where somebody will object to the idea that his principal isn't exactly accurate but it's the matically so accurate that the terroristic is just overwhelming power. And of course he's use that to enrich himself quite considerably Patrick Collison, maybe the quickest learner but I would say this Eric enjoy your Triumph. So we live in this funny in-between world with the old structures are all still there. And we both have had the first half or so of our lives in only the old structures second half of our lives in the world of the internet where the only generation that will be able to say beautiful point. It's beautiful, but when the old structures fade away and you have more and more people who just grew up with the internet like you are the mainstream and the
01:31:19Council on Foreign Relations is like the heterodox thinkers who don't have much influence and I'm half teasing you. But in fact, I mostly correct and you just don't see it yet because these kind of status hangover is still there and they have like the thick Oak desks whenever in their office and we want that. It's not that at all it has to do with the fact that I've been in both world. You know, I've been it. I've been at Harvard and MIT in Oxford.
01:31:45And I've also been shit out of luck and the oscillation between being in the good graces and outside of the good graces as impressed me great deal. I think more than than it has with you because you've just traded to heterodox path. I've never been out of the good graces. Yeah. I've just been ignored at times. I've never felt like this grass or the failure. Well, okay, I guess in terms of opportunity costs a lot of us view you as one of the most insightful and encyclopedic mines out there. You don't unbelievable job of sifting for us and you're unbelievable Expositor and we would we would naturally see you as at the very highest echelons and I think that view is now much much more widespread than it was 15 years ago, right? I mean you become
01:32:41What time is treated you pretty well, it's gone. Well for me, yeah, like if I'm just out in the world and I don't like going out to places much.
01:32:52Or like more than once a day. Someone will write me in like expressed clubbing on the Sunset Strip. People are going to recognize you all the time. So, let's talk about something. You're talkin about being 17 choosing to go to the commuter School. You were playing guitar back then. I think I started when I was 11 or 12. Yeah, and I quit like around the time I was 17 cuz I went to college and your musicianship informed you in terms of what the structure of Music really is at its deepest level. You have strong opinions about music and culture. I was always terrible on guitar. I wanted to learn different fields of music and I thought to do that you needed to play something. Yeah, I understand basics of music music theory chords, whatever so I did a bit like classical jazz blues every different kind of guitar just a bit to have
01:33:52An entry point into the world of Music it was never two-player impress people right ever played for people and was never good but I could play the notes of a song to see how it fit together. Okay, there is a kind of relativism that is descended over musical tastes where every time I say something is better than something else I run into somebody instantaneously telling me I've committed like I get a traffic citation. Did you can't say you know that the BOK is much more important or better than Scarlatti and I just don't understand this complete application.
01:34:31of any role in which informed judgment plays a role that we have to have issues of taste that the say this is better than that and then you're allowed to take a
01:34:45but you're allowed to take a heterodox position on that but we should be passing along our taste in our prejudice and exposing it to discussion with other people rather than just finding relative is smersh, but they're really saying is an objective grounds. I challenge the status of the person making this Proclamation and I will challenge the status by not accepting the Judgment but they're not actually claiming that all matters in the relativistic. I don't think
01:35:20The postmodern relativism are these booking and the white Jordan Peterson says, I've never bought that argument and Peterson's exchange with Zak in their debate. I thought Peterson lost that part of the debate. Most people are ejected this whether they admit it or not. Let's just say what we think is correct and debate it and David Hume in the mid-eighteenth century wrote some wonderful essays on standards of taste and the test of time I think he was essentially correct that matters of the Aesthetics are not objective in the same way that matters of fact are that you can measure and confirm them but none the less there is something about the judgments that informed people make that expresses an interest subjective validity and it can be debated and judged and it's one of the things we're here on Earth to do it's time to take in wonderful music. What moves what moves your soul in music
01:36:11Well, I start with classical music. My tastes are completely Orthodox So Bach Mozart Beethoven Brahms. I'm quite fond of contemporary classical music or mid-twentieth-century of anybody who isn't in the acknowledged highest highest Echelon. I don't think so. I think my tastes are so remarkably close to what you would call the cannon in these particular areas that they're boring. Do you think I wanted a lot of music before Bach may be somewhat overrated. So palestrina is an important composer when I listen to it. I just don't enjoy it as much as I but supposed to have a derived affect you come to my show
01:36:54It's fine. I don't know just going to pray.
01:36:57I like it. I don't love it. Anything from that. Okay is fine and is slightly under impressed matter. Do you think things explode and become marvelous an amazing? Do you like even temperament is really the the central is that ground zero for for the specific beauty of western music. I think it's odd development of instruments through capitalism and markets and growth of the middle class and having more people Experiment 2 playing in composing pianos become much better string instruments become much battery of the modern Orchestra, you have actual audiences and the interplay of those forces as opposed to music being more in the church may be closer to your vocal music. I just think it's much better and almost everyone in their heart knows that
01:37:49Yeah, yeah tell me that I'm processing in real twin excites you and classical music. I think I would make it quite durable.
01:38:04Gosh, I mean I guess I know it's hard is amazing Peaks but a significant portion of what Mozart road is boring. The younger works are mostly boring. I must have a hole in my soul because of the amount of Mozart that doesn't land that I hear all of these people describing Mozart is this, you know, exact exactly Perfect Balance into something about the language that I find somewhat repellent so that I'm less likely to get along with people who are bananas over over Mozart if somebody is very clear about ba like boxes like heroin. It's an addiction. You can't you just can't get enough of the stuff. I relate to that much more I can say that there are mathematicians who will claim that Bach isn't their favorite composer and I never believed them.
01:38:55But you have to take Mozart Symphonies which are obviously chronological.
01:39:0029 is quite good until I can help maybe thirty-six. You can say 3334 but the 429 they're just boring if they were somehow all gone. I don't think there be any great loss. So most of Mozart isn't that good? I don't think it detract from him. But even with Fox News extreme selection which Bach you hear you don't hear most of the cantatas very much. Most of them are boring. Yeah, it's amazing. He created so there's some of that in your on Sebastian as well him from the board and charge all together Christmas oratorio. It's pretty good.
01:39:35It's not an incredible work. So even St. John's passion, it's quite good not as good as B minor mass or st. Matthew's passion, right extreme selection in the BOK you're hearing and thinking about
01:39:47I meet you know, the funny thing for me is that I had to swim upstream from segovia's translation of Spanish piano music onto guitar. I didn't realize that there was an entire world of Spanish piano music where the guitar wasn't originally thought of necessarily as a as a concert or art music instrument has more of a folk instrument. And so that's been a huge well of of interest for me like listening to Albanese on piano is amazing de la Rocha, right? She's a wonderful performer that but the guitar music. I find it very interesting to take some more modern, like ambient music Brian Eno are the whole movement from the 1970s and listen and think through what was going on there and then go back to earlier guitar music.
01:40:41The road but also the Spaniards and listen to it through that lens and it just comes alive and it completely nude I had with Robert Fripp trip was evocative of relaxer like the Wailing music and I've never traced and why I felt that are you so so where I'm a big fan of what is misleadingly called World music just listening to as many different music says you can kind of figuring out their Logix and then going back and applying it to what you already knew from rock and roll or classical music for jazz and seeing it all, you know, quite a new are you that's a very high productivity activity. Are you interested in the mood music? Of course, so when I found when you're vashj'ir in a rock, I just might my jaw dropped. I thought this was such gorgeous stuff and then and I sort of made my way to munir Bashir through a Farid al-atrash who I think is unbelievable and
01:41:41Eventually, I was listening in this Middle Eastern idiom and I hear him start to play with blues and rock and roll on the Ood and it was fascinating watching somebody from your rock and who studied in Europe of course watching you there's a freak sample in its Stanford University. There's this Garden which I think has Master carvings from Polynesia Indonesia, and there's versions of Rodin's Gates of Hell In The Thinker in this Polynesian the Indonesian idiom, and it's just fascinating to see oneself regarded by the other.
01:42:27Sometimes I think the more interesting question is which musics don't you like and to think through though, so I'm going to ask you Eric. What did music do you really not like or come to think it's just bad or wrong somehow?
01:42:40I have trouble with music that does not allow us to impart more emotion because it's too highly produced and I'm pretty sure that has to do with the emotion because I find Jimi Hendrix very emotional. I found that shares believe where she uses. They auto-tune function as an instrument rather than is a correcting of the human voice to be very emotional. But when I hear very like computer-oriented name, why do you reject point the finger not she's doing have to you have to it's your podcast.
01:43:22I myself the person isn't listening well.
01:43:26I guess there was a time when I didn't like Amy Stewart's version of knock on wood, which was a great piano R&B song because I found that it was so highly overproduced that I just couldn't cotton to it that they had to do with the Disco influence. I'm choosing things now that I really dislike but I've sort of maybe come around you find something in just about everything that you listen to it's very hard to create music that's completely devoid of interest. And so if I spend more time with something even if it's
01:44:09Really bad usually be able to find something in it that well. That's why it became famous and that's why that's why it's being Listen to I've been down on EDM to be blunt. I don't think that I've
01:44:23someone made a car ride with a friend. I said put on songs we can sing along with the person puts on some EDM there was nothing close to a campfire song inside of it. I found that kind of sad you buy into electronic dance music heavy metal. I meant to say heavy metal such as I mean, there's a lot of our conversations with Tyler podcast on my favorite music critics a brilliant guy. You should have him on but I asked him in heavy metal. I said underrated or overrated and he said well it's underrated but I couldn't get him to admit that he actually listen to it anytime. We want to go there. I think it's underrated from Technical musicianship. And I think it's often over rated in terms of what it does to Heart Paul Gilbert exactly what he said in other words. So Paul Gilbert has a beautiful red van that sees that, you know, obviously fantastic guitars, but he says you can take a great blues guitar guitarist teaching them a lot of scales and turn them into a shredder.
01:45:23Pinterest but with fantastic technical chops. I think that that's really sad. I think that
01:45:32what one of the things I'm very concerned about is the fall off an interest in musicianship like in guitar at the moment. We have these fantastic guitar virtuosos who live on YouTube and Instagram and the guitar universe is paying attention to them, but the outside universe is not as guy Guthrie Govan who lots of people I know have never heard of this guy and he's an unbelievable gift to the guitar.
01:46:04Where is he? What would what group is he part of what are his main songs, you can you can be anyone and then he can be his own thing. He's like the ground up guitar, I guess. Yeah, but it's very odd to me that I'm more free sample percussive guitar does a guy named Justin King who do the song oddly enough called knock on wood, which is showcases how many ways you can now interact with your instrument through harmonics and various, you know patterns of drumming on the wood the way the Flamenco guitarists used to be brought to a high-level. I can't get a lot of people interested in all of the weird innovations that are taking place a little bit like Rodney Mullen and skateboarding where originally your skateboarding on four wheels and then has point is I go. Okay. What else can we do? You think it will what do you mean what maybe we can skateboard on the bottom side or on the side of the skateboard you thinking does that even make sense? He said bus here I'll show you. Well, that's what Progressive guitar has been for me and told me that I didn't
01:47:04In the instrument more or less at all something else. I'm really enthusiastic about his sugar blue on harmonica. Do you know this guy not known to me at all of the songs that on YouTube. Do you know the song Miss You by The Rolling Stones by the well, that that that harmonica is sugar blue guy who can thread that you break the harmonica into three registers. He can thread the top register like nobody's business and he and John popper Blues Traveler or sort of locked in some artistic conversation. The rest of us can barely understand like that excites the hell out of me because you're taking an instrument. That's so limited and you're saying well it's only limited to you because you haven't figured out what you could do with it other than Bok maybe South Indian classical music is the closest. We have any music to mathematics and its times. I think we should sell listen to that.
01:47:54Cuz I would have said north somehow the North Indian carnatic. Yeah, I think that the North Indian.
01:48:02I mean look at it. This is just a world that I knew nothing about and I chanced upon the book of a musicologist named Neil serle call to be like Indian music and performance. You can find it on the internet with lots of little sound files that he made for a cassette way back in the day and he took it and entire performance of ram Narayan the great sarangi play.
01:48:27Man, this is just how did I not know there was an entire universe of Indian classical music. You may be partial to the South. I'm very partial to the North and South North along with Bach and maybe the Beatles it has the only other serious claim to being the best music. All right, the Beatles defend yourself. So what's your take on three Beatles songs that are at least current in your thinking and that really show off how deep that Cannon it was a 1966. You won't see me. It's basically a fall song But The Melancholy have the background vocals operate what's done with the piano the Baseline that operates on so many different levels at once just sounds like a simple valid. But every time you listen to it, there's something new in their complex emotionally that it's just Over You Never Give Me Your Money the last 10-15 seconds are just phenomenal Paul have been listening to John Cage and stockhausen and just sound and what's the dividing line between Sound and Music?
01:49:27I need the sticks that in the end of The Beatles song with a lovely Melody and the whole thing just dissolves and then you get back to marching through the Abbey Road side 2 medley Hey Jude, this is so many Beatles songs that I think are just phenomenally better than what other people are doing and they synthesize more different parts of music than anything box did that's their claim to Greatness in terms of Sears close their pools. Okay to The Beatles, mostly lennon-mccartney their composing these songs and they're playing them and they're singing them and they're producing them and their A+, excellent in all of those dimensions of their best material and Bach was a composer probably an excellent player. We don't really know but he was reputed to be very good easy enough to believe.
01:50:13The Beatles take on an added three or four dimensions that are not in classical music and master them and then every album they change their style every song they change their style. They hardly repeat themselves. Yes, they have a lot of plonkers. They had the two best voices in rock and roll John and Paul to walk down the Rolling Stones Paul. She's wonderful. What would you have set? 01:50:46Roy Orbison has eight or nine amazing songs, which are incredible and the Beatles themselves left, right? But that's kind of it then it's Freddie Mercury sir. Freddie Mercury has one album to albums. You can listen to straight through his vocal affect is most of the time broadly the same. He's one of the top vocalists. Absolutely and I know you're partial maybe to Farsi culture and where he comes from
01:51:16The drag that it but in terms of Versatility, I don't think he's close to the Beatles.
01:51:22And I love queen and I went to see them play not with Freddie Mercury, but without him Lambert who did a fantastic job. I thought I still listen to Queen. I'm a big fan but they're kind of trouble either win away. And I don't think that's true. I think that they've got maybe two Dimensions. There's like the shredder early Punk semimetal stuff and then there's the ballads. I just love of my life you hurt me. I feel like Brian May is so incredibly tasteful doesn't have to play a note more or less than he wants. He's just not needy and then you know Rodger Taylor's I'm in love with my car. I think is one of the most commonly brilliant songs I've ever heard. So and I don't even listen to that much Queen. Are you familiar with the voice of Eva Cassidy given that you were in the Washington area for a long time, marginally?
01:52:15But I've never heard it live. That's what you're asking just decided album called live at Blues Alley where she does a version of Stormy Monday that just tears my heart and shreds and barely puts it back together by the end. It's just unbelievable performance in a song. I thought I've heard everybody's version of it and just just as well. You haven't heard this one parent Lee. She was sick while the recording session was happening until some magic happened to her voice because of the illness really interesting Cecile mclorin salvant is my favorite jazz popular song vocalist and she's active now. I've seen her three times. I think she's better than Ella Fitzgerald. She's in her prime. She's may be about 30 Blazer, you know around and clubs very often has plenty of CDs. I love Ella Fitzgerald and never put her on why is that it's a little exaggerated and mannered and she was trying too hard or technique is incredible, but it's always excessively.
01:53:11Conscious of what the audience is thinking for me, you know I used to but I also never put it on my use it is like the gold standard for lots of things like Cole Porter and then at some point I heard yeah, I don't I think that there's something in my taste that have changed with the time and I now just never I never reach for it, but you don't like Art Tatum. I always enjoy them when I'm listening to his piano work, but I never think why am I in an art Tatum mood? Because how can you be in an art Tatum? Ooh, it's so exacting in demanding on the ear that like that's not something that has
01:53:49He might have been the one of the two greatest Jazz pianists with monk, but I are Cecil Taylor. It's just perfect rice just it's just any contains every style of its time and then some but I don't feel the need to go back to it. I'm okay with that. Okay in my eyes, but I think I connect to Tatum and I start to see how will maybe if I saw this as being part of a of a lineage but it's there's something about the fact that you know, Hendrix didn't really leave Descendants on the guitar and I feel like Tatum didn't really leave Descendants on the piano all the month really surprised some ways. He's a funny to send it to pay them more than you would think monk. Yes, very little technique.
01:54:40But the idea of integrating Styles and making jokes he was in my opinion highly influenced by Art Tatum. You just didn't play the piano very well as a composer. He's phenomenal. I don't know. It could be the best jazz album that there is and I still listen to it you never take on
01:55:00the weirdness of
01:55:03Miles Davis generosity to us all in terms of leaving this beautiful.
01:55:09Legacy and his being a complete dick.
01:55:12Well, a lot of wonderful creators have been complete text. There's a long list of those Picasso. Some people have said John Lennon. I don't know the full list, but he's not some unusual datapoint to be explained.
01:55:25I partly there might be correlations between creativity and having unusual brains. Right? Right. And then once you're succeeding you can get away with a lot more and then drugs enter the equation for Davis and Lennon and bad things happen. So this is not a huge surprise. So getting back to the Beatles.
01:55:47When Lenin writes the song when it was how do you sleep right after the Beatles a broken up? He he makes it a reference to something, but you didn't see Sergeant Pepper's or Sergeant Pepper. Took you by surprise. You better see right through that Mother's Eyes yet McCartney Sergeant Pepper.
01:56:11What was the workaholic in the Beatles? Yeah, it's the key Point here. So what I hadn't understood in this is only because I happened to weirdly be friends with with John son. Sean is Sean points very clearly to Strawberry Fields Forever as being the discontinuity in Lenin's ability as a composer. I agree with that. Okay. How did I miss this? And how do you see that? Well, I don't know that you missed it. I I did miss it is amazing. But it's a John album and it's pretty close to perfect. Even John's like first real song Please Please Me one of the best Beatles songs completely visceral hits you in the gut still sounds amazing.
01:56:59But I think after Strawberry Fields John stopped innovating he had an amazing voice emotionally, but she still could use you have songs. Like I Am The Walrus which kind of even melodic line and a bit of pulsating. But when you start to hear John song Through the lens of if you applied machine learning to them.
01:57:21There's a similar structure to a lot of The Melodies. They don't move around that much the way Paul Melodies to and Paulding the workaholic just gets better and better and better and Fuller and some George Martin and tolerance or even became a good classical music composer. That's phenomenal.
01:57:38And by the time and Sergeant Pepper, it's Falls group and fall is calling the shots Abbey Road in situ is you know, basically pause work boss creation. Even with the John songs apiece like Tomorrow Never Knows, which is John singing John compose every flat melodic line, but the whole construction of the sound was most people involved will take credit for that. So I becomes Falls group John feels more pushed out its start of the Beatles breaking up and so on.
01:58:06Yeah, so there are these Dynamics within the group that I'm not I never actually studied the Beatles enough but like songs like Across the Universe don't really impress themselves upon you as being is that same kind of even not much very melodic line carried by John's voice and mood and the fact that it's the Beatles. I like the song that Paul is experimenting much more by then. I see. But here's the thing about how do you sleep by John? It was a learned recently was actually fall who started the feud. Yeah. Paul had a song too many people, you know, that was your lucky break and he was really mocking John like I was lucky that you you know, hung out with me.
01:58:47And John was retaliating people think John is the aggressor in that but Paul was like super passive aggressive or has been I want to put together a day to see reason why your reaction to it start with Gilbert and Sullivan. I'm going to have Jagger and Richards Lennon McCartney.
01:59:07Perry and Tyler in Aerosmith what the hell is going on with these dyads that are so combustible both really benefit from the antagonize relationship and we end up with this incredible music but it's it's so effing personal. Well, it's rivalry. It's what really motivates people. Yes. It's the money also of course, but wanting to do better than the other and having the other is a mental audience. I think it was Peter teal who had this in one of his talks ones that he has the different images of people sitting on the shoulder. What would this person think? What would that person think?
01:59:48I've been Eric Weinstein in the Peter Thiel sitting on my shoulder among others, right? We all hoped I look out at all. So I call it you know, like Phantom Eric Weinstein Northampton Peter Thiel. What do you mean by that? I try to run you in emulation sometimes I think about Tyler like I said to get emotional about something tell her is not going to fall for that. He's going to be even killed he's going to think about what's likely to be true. It's not going to think about how to make the biggest splash and like I have these rules that can't generate you and what I consider to be your Brilliance of contribution, but it can it can generate a kind of thumbnail sketch of you without you needing to be present. I'm sure but it's harder to have the Phantom Eric Weinstein does a phantom Eric Weinstein is about being generative and that's harder to model than a phantom Tyler Cowen. So if you think a part of me is even-keeled
02:00:44Even-keeled might be hard to achieve but it's not that hard to model. It just like calm down or I can't I have such I'm so driven by Passion the hard to achieve but not hard for model. So you might reject your Phantom. Tyler County West Troy. What do they do is it has a very strong filter which says if the emotional register has been exceeded by this much of that much and it either direction Tyler wouldn't do that call out Phantom. Tyler county is right there. I answer the phone even the real Tyler, and will probably answer the phone, but you're harder to model for that reason. I'm incredibly flattered. He was that isn't your attention that you got the idea that you would have a hard time doing that means a lot to me. Peter is an insanely difficult person for most of us 2 model because I don't think it's even consistent session to session Peter is so driven by the search for something new.
02:01:39That whatever it is that he's bought last is now incorporated into well, that's old. Where do we go from here? And it's just is a consummate a sort of the model. So I Peter much much better than I do but I think of it as you really do need to incorporate everything, you know into your current view consistently while you're failing so your views should be a kind of random walk because you can predict their Direction. It means you should already be where you're headed and there's something wrong if you're not and the other part of my peter keil model is the way in which she is an intensely moral thinker and have the moral element of his thought interacts with the cognition and strengthens it
02:02:22And again, you know Peter better than I do don't you tell me that strong moral human, I will retrieve but that's how I E model Peter. He's he's moral his religious, but that but it's not just that is how the moral and the cognitive for integrated he knows so well, I'm picking up in this weird feature. So I had him as an arguable episode of the interview episode of the show and I would say that one of the one of the reactions that people have his wow. I've never seen this side of Peter and of course, I've never seen any other I've never seen the other side of the Delta between the private and the cartoon the private person in the cartoon character that the media portray is got to be one of the largest Delta's I've never any other human being sure yeah.
02:03:08Anybody else you think we're getting wildly wrong. If we go by there media? Well, most people I thinking plenty of these are people I don't know but my default assumption is if they're very well now in the media is getting the wrong right not true in all cases, but it's a better default assumption than the opposite. So I agree that that that's true. But what I'm looking for is where is the Distortion most such as Coke would be an example tell me about Charles Koch. So I have the experience people perceive me as being somebody was not going to be friendly to the Koch brothers certainly the image of the Koch brothers and a lot of people I respect thing very highly of the Koch brothers and I noticed in myself that I have a module. This is anything Koch related has to be seen as the work of the devil like it doesn't I don't even have a thought before the word Coke starts to tell me that this is something I can't even
02:04:08Which is fascinating because of my political milieu just noticing metacognitively while I didn't install that module. How did it get there just to be clear Koch Foundation is a major donor to my university and programs I've connected with my Peter has supported some things. I've done just for our listeners Charles. I think in terms of being an Executor and integrator and synthesizer is the most impressive human I have met as far as I can tell no kidding that the high returns of Koch Industries over such a long. Of time.
02:04:44And it's not in the sector based on a kind of like trick. Will Google obviously has done very well. I don't want to go Google a trick and YouTube and all that. Yes.
02:04:58Koch Industries has worked in pretty competitive sectors and earned High returns through competence and execution and understanding and developing proceeds which are applicable on a much larger level than the individual of Charles Koch or anyone else in a way that all the other impressive people. We know have not done so that is his and they are most impressive contribution, but he is a man of the utmost integrity and to make it clear on issues such as climate change. I don't at all agree with him, but I've known Charles for a long time. He's absolutely a straight shooter and does what he thinks is right and is a great American and is very much a person to be admired. Wow, that's reason enough to invite them onto the portal if you can if you can you speak in a plenty of things I disagree with him at that just to make a Charlie munger's he's somebody that you have had their interactions with I had to get over that Charlie. I had a dinner with Charlie and I was very
02:05:58Pressed by I've heard that from many people are very tough tough minded individual but there's a big payoff. Yeah, probably true. Yeah, I don't even know what his media reputation. Is it the opposite of that? I don't know Mike my sense of it is that he is happy to be overshadowed in the media by Warren Buffett, but that to those who know he's a powerful independent. I noticed it in my own work relationship with the Peter teal people who don't like me without the lowest I can use the word boss with your boss did that's your boss said that I've never really emphasized the the hierarchy which is something that Peter has never done bizarrely and it allowed me for a long. Of time to move somewhat more quietly. Well Peter got more of the attention and I don't know that there isn't a version of that at a different level.
02:06:58With with Munger and Buffett where Munger is known by everybody who should know who he is and buff it gets most of the headlines. But any other like famous famous other great Arbitrage opportunities with other people's reputations mask incredible contributions if it's Arbitrage because if the people are famous they've already been doing things, right? So it's not that you know, before you come along and act was a student of Segovia in a fabulous classical classical guitarist Dolly Parton some kind of a genius who happens to hide behind, you know, they a physique the drawers most of the attention but she's she's really ain't just incredible thinker incorrect artist. Who else
02:07:57Well, this is a controversial name that Michael Jackson and I don't at all mean to excuse the things it certainly seems he has done but as a musical Talent, even before the bad news came out, he's been grossly underappreciated getting back to the theme of creative individuals often having these highly problematic elements, right? Well, this is this is this thing that I don't know how to get at in mathematics. I think we doing unbelievably good job of not removing the names of Despicable people from their own work. So for example, I'm very partial to the work of a guy named Pascal Jordan in the algebra of quantum mechanics and quantum theory who has committed Nazi and
02:08:48There are tons of Nazis whose names are discussed along with their work even to places like Hebrew University where I was for a couple of years. So it's a culture that says we don't get to choose who brings the gifts and we don't get it but to choose whether or not we acknowledge them just because they did something the rest of their life that was on tour. I think we should stop with the ex post purges which are in any case highly highly selective. But that said, I'm never sure what is exactly the right policy looking forward. How do we do that? Do you think I don't think we figured out when I hear any side in that debate. I think they're wrong.
02:09:30I bet they can't all be wrong, or maybe they are wrong, but I don't think I had 100 my strategy for this. I'd be curious to get your take on it. I think that we Jews should call for the destruction of the Arch of Titus the commemorate the sacking of Jerusalem in the carrying off of Jewish Booty by I guess Roman hands with the idea being that this is so Preposterous that we should tear down this ancient Arch, even though I've always hated this Archer that it will evidence to people just how insane it is to attempt to do this excision or exercise. I don't know what you want to call it retroactively when we obviously have a society built on structures of Oppression. I don't think it would show people that I don't think it would be digested or interpreted properly and he was my worry so you can say wow. We're going to have a moratorium on canceling people in the past right at the past in the present or not. So neatly set
02:10:30Rated and there are people who are part of the past but also part of the present number of people in comedy, but many others who are either active or they would be active if they would be allowed to be active up and in those cases. I'm not sure what we should do.
02:10:47Do you have a strong feeling and Louis C K?
02:10:50Seems to be the case that a very large number of people want to see him return in a very large number of people want to make sure that that does not happen. I don't know all of the details maybe he's done things. I would find worse than I thought. The marginal cases I tend to believe we should allow for rehabilitation in general. I believe in second third and additional chances and it's striking to me. How many people in the political debate will be up ex-convicts, you know, we need to allow them to have jobs and rehabilitate them and welcome the back into society but these other offenders off and they're white men. All right way they cannot in any way be allowed back on the concert stage or wherever and maybe you think they can ought to be working in the cafeteria somewhere. I don't know. I'm pretty sure those emotions and intuitions are not consistent. Are you yourself? I'm conflicted myself my gut which I'm not saying is correct clear is 4 seconds.
02:11:50Third chances but I understand incentives matter as an economist. And if everyone gets, you know, I went and number of chances then penalties don't matter so much. So that's why I'm conflicted. I was thinking about having I keep threatening to do this somewhere. I have a list of like 20 paradoxes, which I called the Hilbert problems of social justice named after the famous mathematical problems that there's certain intractable problems that have to do with contradictory impulses where you can show people that there's no way of solving these puzzles, but they still insist on trying to apply these axioms and heuristics as if they lead to a compatible social ordering
02:12:36Is there any way in which people can be dissuaded from trying to purge themselves of the fruits of all oppression by showing them what that would actually mean do you think I don't know but again that the view that we purge nothing may be problematic as well my own podcast series conversations with Tyler. I'm doing one in 2 days with a fellow Shaka senghor, who's a convicted murderer? Oh, I love Chaka. I haven't met him yet. It's been 19 years in prison seven years in solitary a 36 x was written up for in some way treating cards badly has confessed to
02:13:11You know these charges and I had to think long and hard like should I do a podcast with Jocko you're doing you're making a great decision and that was the conclusion. I arrived at but it's still a question right now. I found track is a B. I mean just I've only is very weird are out there all these people in my personal and private life who
02:13:33Are now coming up potentially in the context of shut should I have a podcast with them? I think Chaka you can ask almost any question about his time in prison about what the transformation has been and I think you'll get a very credible answer. I thought I found him incredibly thoughtful as a theorist about the entire system and that's also my sense. But the question I have does the fact that we can learn from someone in any way exonerate them. I would still say I don't have a clear answer cuz it's true but I guess matters for me at the margin for selfish reasons. It matters. I'm really looking forward to talking with Chaka, but if you try to generalize I don't know where we left. So let me give a really clean example because the person is no longer with us and I think that the artistic contribution is more fascinating than we we care to admit. Have you ever heard the song by Charles Manson called look at your game girl.
02:14:33I've heard that there are songs by Charles Manson, but I've never heard it. I don't think so. I struggle with this because it's an incredibly beautiful performance to my ear and the human being who created it is, obviously almost synonymous with the level of Madness and depravity that we wish to insulate ourselves from
02:14:56I don't know how to reconcile that because I I see the sensitivity and the gift and my feeling about it as a song if you could just disembody it and maybe great song if you actually think about what it is that you're choosing to promote. This is not a very famous song Because of its Association. I think it would be a huge disservice. If its popularity came to have us re-evaluate its author when the John Lennon song run for your life comes on the radio, which is a song about wife beating. It seems I do actually change the channel. I'm not sure I'm consistent but it bothers me and that's John Lennon and I don't want to listen.
02:15:45Are we not entitled to some hip ochracea me like but we need optimal hypocrisy. Well, you need a kind of consistently inconsistent optimal hypocrisy and no one's found that I really like that because
02:15:59I see David. I can't get through a day without my apocracy and people are always trying to take it away from me. And all I really want to do is to minimize it and to make sure that it's functional rather than just a complete Dodge but we also need some hypocritical sanctions against apocracy. So there multiple layers. Yeah, right, so you can't just sit content in your hypocracy. Even if it's Optima I can have you here for the rest of time. Can I instead say that you are welcome to come back anytime. I would in fact love to talk to you about gauge Theory and other matters of how we push the economics profession forward, but you know there a million topics I could talk to you about have absolutely nothing to do with the our area of professional overlap. Will you consider coming back? I would love to come back and I'm still planning on having you on my podcast which we absolutely will do and might have even happen now if you hadn't invited me onto yours well,
02:16:59I don't know did Fantastic Adventures? So thanks very much for that and let's make that happen Eric. It's been a great pleasure. Okay, you've been through the portal with our guest and a professor Tyler Cowen, make sure that you subscribe to this podcast on Apple Stitcher Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts and go over to YouTube and try to find our Channel and make sure that you supposed to describe and click the Bell to be notified when our next episode drops. Thanks very much.