The FT does Lunch with Tyler Cowen

by on December 22, 2012 at 5:40 am in Economics, Food and Drink | Permalink

I thought John McDermott did an excellent job, here was one part I liked:

There is no doubt Cowen is ruthlessly and admirably efficient; an infovore. I suggest he’s also, however, “phenomenally smart”. “I don’t know what that means,” he says. “I mean, I can absorb a lot of information about basketball. I like basketball but I’m not like being smart about it.” And then he’s off again … “Sports is remarkably cognitive. I think it’s underrated just how smart it is. Actually, if I had more time, I would spend more time with sports. Watching it, reading about it, I think it’s oddly underrated.”

The rest of the chat covers food, economics, the future of technology, my life history, and some other matters too.  I also liked this sentence:

He looks up and breaks the news: “They don’t have any food.”

The interview took place on the hottest day in Virginia history.  And please note that when I refer to the Free Democrats of Germany, I don’t mean the party circa 2012.

Chris Hanretty December 22, 2012 at 6:01 am

I particularly liked your reference to How to Spend It — and the fact that that featured in the final piece.

affenkopf December 22, 2012 at 6:21 am

So when was this mythical time when the FDP was ‘ socially liberal, a fiscal conservative, broadly libertarian with a small ‘l’ but sensible and pragmatic and with a chance of winning’? Only when they were in opposition, never when they are in government.

Heinz Roggenkemper December 23, 2012 at 1:22 am

…and the FDP was in government longer than any other party in Germany.
I am as interested as you are in finding out at what time Tyler like them so much. Let’s hope he lets us know.

Andrew' December 22, 2012 at 6:25 am

“.. This is the symbol of the fact we don’t shoot at each other any more –”

Hmmm, maybe we should compare 100 year rolling average for gun deaths.

Johannes December 22, 2012 at 6:44 am

No matter whether in opposition or on the bench: culd you elaborate on or link to what FDP era/program/policy you were referring? Thanks.

Rahul December 22, 2012 at 6:55 am

I’m someone who (luckily) doesn’t meet professional hitmen too often: can someone explain what’s Tyler’s “hitman stride” that McDermott refers to? Does that mean long strides? Thanks!

Claudia December 22, 2012 at 7:42 am

first let me conjecture that a US editor would have cut the hitman phrase from a piece appearing today..replacing with walked briskly or was a man on a mission. besides, on his gait, he’s in no danger of getting cast for a remake of Pulp Fiction. second (unrelated to your question) the (price of the) meals are a reflection of the interviewees, not the times (innovation, price competition, blah blah). often I read these and am amazed at what they spend, but it totally fits the persona and the overall piece. Funny those folks don’t extol the cognitive angles of b-ball. So here’s a below average tab (there are many others above average), but it fits the person (and his book). I feel like signallng theories are overused, but that’s what these interviews are…we are getting the brand signal of the interviewee loud and clear. The lunch interviews are one of my favorite parts of the FT weekend edition.

John McDermott December 24, 2012 at 10:07 am

FWIW: I don’t know why a US editor would be more or less likely to cut the phrase. Hitman gait struck me at the time as fitting: purposeful, targeted, yet quiet. “Man on a mission” is cliched, “walked briskly” is boring.

dearieme December 22, 2012 at 7:32 am

My morning FT did not contain a separate Personal Finance section. Grumpy about that, I opened the Life & Arts section to find a huge depiction of Tyler Cowen staring out of the page. What will the third thing be?

Steve December 22, 2012 at 7:41 am

I enjoyed it, especially the economics angles. Left me a little down for my professional future and that of my boys. I found the sports comments particularly thought provoking — I have never been a big sports fan, which limits ones discourse in U.S. society. You bring some angles to it that are quite interesting and might get me engaged, to my social benefit.

dearieme December 22, 2012 at 7:52 am

A German friend once told me that he feigned interest in football so that he would have something to talk about with the lower orders.

Brian Donohue December 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm

“Baseball is a game played by the dextrous but only understood by the poindextrous.” – Professor Frink

Ray Lopez December 22, 2012 at 8:52 am

I don’t believe it: “Marginal Revolution, the blog he writes with colleague Alex Tabarrok, receives about 200,000 views per post.” – if that’s true, why do we see the same names over and over here in the comments? The other 190000 are lurkers? TC–if you read this, check out the next big thing in grains, from west Africa, fonio: “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fonio”

Rob December 22, 2012 at 9:24 am

Pretty much, yeah. I read a lot but hardly ever comment.

Mark Thorson December 22, 2012 at 9:40 am

The software couldn’t possibly be inaccurate about the number of views. You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.

Anon. December 22, 2012 at 12:18 pm

I imagine a lot of people just subscribe through RSS. They don’t even get to see the comments.

M.R. Orlowski December 22, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Yeah, I am mostly a lurker myself. Although I do comment occasionally.

John December 22, 2012 at 5:34 pm

I think this is pretty plausible. If you ever look at Amazon’s deal of the day discussion, you are almost guaranteed to see posts by Billa and Mr.Book (and the posts are almost always exactly the same each day—“what is wrong with these people?” I often wonder). But I’d think many many deals of the day are sold each day (and incidentally almost none two either of those guys!)

David R. Henderson December 22, 2012 at 10:00 am

“I like basketball but I’m not like being smart about it.”
OMG, Tyler. You’re, like, a Valley girl.

Brian December 22, 2012 at 3:40 pm

A form of self praise in the 3rd person. This is practically a guest post from Karl Malone

marris December 22, 2012 at 10:03 am

Why did the mall restaurants not have food?

Did the mall get hit with a supply shock? A demand shock?
Or are they simply trying to make it look everything is sold out already [and they only ever produce a small subset of the menu options?]

Saturos December 22, 2012 at 11:05 am

That sentence brings to mind the (horrendous) joke: “Have you ever had Ethiopian food? [Wait for a “no”] Neither have they.”

Rahul December 22, 2012 at 12:15 pm

I did think it a bit brave to go for raw beef at a strip-mall restaurant.

GW December 22, 2012 at 12:17 pm

If you don’t mean the Free Democrats of 2012, do you mean the nationalist liberals of the 1950s and 1960s or the power-at-any-costs FDP of the Genscher/Lambsdorf era, or the Möllemann Nationalist-cum-pro-Arab Fdp of the 90s or Guido Westerwelle’s liberal light (“Besserverdiener”/Project 18) version? From what I can gather of your politics, I suspect that actually some combination of the present (realo) Green party with selected elements of the Pirate Party platform would more fit your profile.

Enrique December 22, 2012 at 2:30 pm

I totally agree with Tyler about not watching TV — cf. Neil Postman’s “Amusing Ourselves to Death”

dead serious December 23, 2012 at 9:29 am

Burden County, eh?

John McDermott December 24, 2012 at 10:08 am

My bad — it’s been changed online and there will be a correction. (Though isn’t there something poetic about Burden county?)

Patrick December 25, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Interesting that the FT web site does not note corrections to articles as the NY Times does (i.e., at the bottom of articles, “This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:…”)

TGGP December 27, 2012 at 10:34 pm

I don’t know exactly which version of the FDP he’s referring to, but the “of West Germany” bit dates it to before the wall fell.

billig ipad January 4, 2013 at 8:54 am

Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on
the video to make your point. You clearly
know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your site when you could
be giving us something informative to read?

kviklån January 6, 2013 at 8:29 pm

At this moment I am going away to do my breakfast, once having my breakfast coming yet again to read more news.

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