Tyler Cowen: On How to Improve Society and Change the World

In this episode of the It’s Not What It Seems podcast, Doug Vigliotti has an eye-opening conversation with Tyler Cowen. Tyler is the Holbert L. Harris Professor of Economics at George Mason University and also Director of the Mercatus Center. He received his PhD in economics from Harvard University in 1987. He was recently named in an Economist poll as one of the most influential economists of the last decade and several years ago Bloomberg Businessweek dubbed him “America’s Hottest Economist.” Foreign Policy magazine named him as one of its “Top 100 Global Thinkers” of 2011. He also co-writes a blog called Marginal Revolution, runs a podcast series called Conversations with Tyler, and has co-founded the online economics education project, MRUniversity.com. He has published several books including the New York Times best-seller, The Great Stagnation: How America Ate the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better, The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream, and most recently Stubborn Attachments: A Vision for a Society of Free, Prosperous, and Responsible Individuals. Which will serve as the subject for much of the latter half of our conversation.

In this conversation they discuss:

  • The true power of compound learning (5:20)
  • Why you shouldn’t ‘Devalue and Dismiss’ people (8:08)
  • How disagreement is beneficial for you (10:30) - How his new book will challenge both Democrats and Republicans (14:12)
  • The biggest mistake we could make that would hinder our progress (19:44)
  • The positive effect of the Trump administration (24:17)
  • How embracing radical uncertainty can improve more than you think (27:07)
  • Why you should probably listen to your grandparents advice (32:44) 

Listen to the podcast here.