by Tyler Cowen
on September 28, 2012 at 12:23 pm
On how politics works, for whom I am voting, and why we should be (somewhat) optimistic about the ending of the great stagnation. You can watch it here.
What is the half life of the Great Stagnation thesis? About the time the US economy goes back to ‘business as usual’, which is about in another 5 years or so if recovery after severe financial panics is any guide? As for voting, the new identity provision make it hard to vote–I myself have given up since it’s such a hassle. That will favor Romney but he’ll not win.
If the voting thing wasn’t irrational we’d figure out how to determine where the deciding votes would be. Candidate commercial spending is rational so that’s how they do it.
An ignorant comment since Tyler dated TGS as beginning in the early 1970’s not just since the Great Recession.
Expect the U.S. economy and the economies of other countries on the technological frontier to go back to ‘business as usual’ insofar as the new normal consists of below trend growth.
P.S. It’s a healthy development that citizens who view minimal voter ID requirements as a hassle give up the exercise of the franchise.
Oops: The above is in response to Ray Lopez.
Well fu ck you too asswhole. LOL. FYI the buzzwords before TC mentioned GS was “Productivity Slowdown”, which indeed started in the early 1970s. But Great Stagnation, if you do a keyword search, originated with TC and that’s why I’m saying will have a short half life (of 5/2 = 2.5 years). That’s my thesis and I’m sticking to it!
What’s more relevant than when TC dated TGS is till when the audience of the TGS thesis feels the pain. And that would be till “business as usual” (if that day ever dawns)
You mention in the interview that you’re not happy with any third party candidate that you know of.
I assume you know of Gary Johnson. Why are you unhappy with him?
Wow. I’ve never seen you so cranky. Did DHS give you a cavity search at the border?!?
We say we’re better off because we measure positive growth: one or two percent down from three. Since there are more of us each year, isn’t the average individual among us measurably worse off? Per capita GDP is down isn’t it?
Alright, I checked it myself since no one with the ready facts chimed in. GDP growth per capital is slightly positive 2010-11, negative both years prior. US population growth is surprisingly low: about 0.6% midyear 2010 to midyear 2011. This suggests that non-immigrants are not fertile at replacement rates. I find it hard not to project trouble for the democratic institutions upon which Tyler’s long-term optimism is premised.
“This video is available until: December 25, 2099.” That’s quite an optimistic statement from tvo!
Tyler – You make a statement to the effect that democracy is the best system that we have. It is most emphatically not the best system available. Happy to come to GM and make a presentation on problems with objective functions in democracy and how to solve them.
I like the answer about for whom you are voting. But it reminds me of the following story, which I believe is true:
In 1987 when Gary Becker was president of the AEA, he gave a speech exhorting the members to vote on a crucial matter. My undergrad professor described with bemusement the spectacle of Gary “Don’t Vote” Becker extolling the importance of voting. Basically, the incentives of the marginal voter are very different from the incentives of influential citizens.
I emphatically agree. My response when confronted with the realization that my vote alone makes no difference was to conclude that my civic duty is to pragmatically decide the best choice if there is one and then vigorously advocate for that candidate. However, Tyler’s position may not be inconsistent with this conclusion. He sees the difference between the alternatives as small enough to recommend no action.
My response was to “vote” with money to my candidate of choice. Probably still irrational, but perhaps marginally more likely to make a difference.
Basically, the incentives of the marginal voter are very different from the incentives of influential citizens.
Perhaps, but also the incentives of the marginal voter are very different from the incentives of non-marginal voters.
A marginal voter ought (perhaps) vote for the lesser of two evils,
a non-marginal voter will do better to vote for the best on offer.
(Living in California, where Obama will win easily, I’m a non-marginal voter and will vote only from a sense of stubbornness.)
I don’t quite understand the argument that he will use that time to work and give the money away or do something else productive. Voting is, what, 20-40 minutes time out of your day? It is something that you can do instead of, say, walk the dog or drink a second cup of coffee before work. I don’t see the marginal impact of using that time for some other good as being significantly helpful.
It is fair that he may not be satisfied with either candidate–lots of people aren’t. But surely Tyler has a sense that one would be better than the other at president. Virginia is still a battleground state (check the polls election day, but it is generally up for grabs). I do believe that he doesn’t necessarily plan to vote, but was the response perhaps more about protecting his non-partisan—ok, maybe libertarian—bona fides and appearing to stay above the fray? Just a question.
Both his unhappiness with all the candidates and his voting day plans seemed unsurprising for a good-natured contrarian economist. I did think there was something contradictory about holding up our democratic institutions as better than the alternatives, but then personally not participating in them like everybody else. But then again the right not to vote also sets democracies apart.
(As an aside, I thought the interviewer was superb…loved the “we’re all doing God’s work” quip. I should watch more Canadian TV.)
For a creative personality an hour (conservative) ruins half or all of your day.
He’s basically saying he’ll give it to charity because we still have the vast majority of people will demand such a concession because they are idiots.
Oh, and while one candidate might be better at equilibrium, it is likely that will be overcome by events. So, if he’s like me, the two are so far away that they appear nearly identical and the slight difference is nothing compared to what happens to their plan the first time they get punched in the face.
Can you really say that there will be no significant difference between a Romney and a second Obama administration? That seems totally incredible to me. Surely the candidates impact on the work of federal agencies, the congressional agenda and enforcement of existing laws differs quite a bit. Think about Obamacare. That is something that affects basically every American and it definitely would not have happened in a McCain administration. Yeah, no president can totally realize his agenda and there will be lots of punches to the face, but there is a lot they are able to do.
Andrew’ a creative-thinker can fill any amount of time anywhere. Now those with decorum allergies might not want to shuffle in a line for a half hour with strangers. That said, I think it just shows how differently people view the act of voting…that whole making us, the voters, think part seems to often go missing in the campaigns.
Also, w00t for Gerard St.! Glad you liked it…
You come across very well in this interview, Tyler. It may be time for you to move from blogging to television.
It’s a false dichotomy for Tyler to say it’s better to spend election day earning money for charity than to vote on election day. Voting takes only minutes, not hours.
+1 on the “Why not Gary Johnson?” question.
“Not voting” *IS* a vote. It adds your vote to the apathy column.
> +1 on the “Why not Gary Johnson?” question.
Yes — especially because voting for Johnson (unlike not voting) has some signalling value, indicating the policy directions you’d like to see in the future. Since he has no chance to win, it doesn’t really matter if you think Johnson would be an effective leader. A vote for him is a means to signal an opposition to the drug war, warrantless electronic surveillance, drone attacks, trade protectionism, and so on. Why on earth not?
Not voting increases the value of all other votes. Not voting also has its own signaling value.
Tyker, I think you are asking way too much of schooling.
Anyone else extremely impressed with Steve Paikin? Not being familiar with Canadian TV, I’m surprised to see such a thoughtful broadcast on a primetime weeknight news show on (what I assume is) a major Canadian network. Paikin clearly had read a bit of Tyler’s work and asked thoughtful questions. Far cry from FOX or MSNBC…
I agree. He was well prepared (as was Tyler, who seemed prepared for anything); there was no dead time. I looked at 1.5 other shows Paikin did and he was consistently excellent — and in different ways. In one show, he let the guest talk uninterrupted for, perhaps five minutes, even though at one point when the guest paused briefly and Paikin might have interjected something. In my opinion, this was the correct (non)response in that situation, because the guest was doing well, on a roll. True professionalism.
IMO Pakin’s better than Charlie Rose; he reminds me of Dick Cavett despite their different styles.
Whoops, foot in mouth. Now that I watched the last 10 minutes I see that TVO is a publicly funded station. So comparing Paikin’s broadcast to FOX and MSNBC is apples to oranges. But the comparison to Charlie Rose is perfectly fair and I agree that Paikin seems better. I’m afraid Cavett was before my time, but I’ve enjoyed his NYT blog, the style of which does suggest some similarity to Paikin’s approach.
Just wondering : Is ” Me on Candian TV….” correct English ?
“I on Canadian TV” certainly isn’t.
It sort of stands on its own, but one could think of it as “[see] me on Canadian TV” or “[look at] me on Canadian TV” or “[this is] me on Canadian TV.”
I’ve won an election by 3 votes before. I have friends who won by the margin of people they personally drove to the polling place.
Furthermore, the down-ballot races where your vote actually matters, are MORE likely to affect your life than the presidential race.
I am totally agree with your thoughts. Keep doing these type of work.
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