*The Complacent Class* event

by on February 15, 2017 at 11:52 am in Books, Uncategorized | Permalink

Katherine Mangu-Ward will interview me, here are the details.  That is March 6, 6:00pm7:00pm, Founders Hall Auditorium George Mason University – Arlington Campus, 3351 Fairfax Drive, Arlington.



1 rayward February 15, 2017 at 12:03 pm

According to Malcolm Gladwell, “His brilliant new book…has been on my nightstand after I devoured it in one sitting. I am at round-the-clock Cowen saturation right now.” I had not purchased the book, but I will now.

2 Artimus February 16, 2017 at 1:09 am

Well in fairness I believe Tyler has plugged Malcolms books so I think it is simply a case of Malcom returning the favor. Then again maybe I am being too cynical.

3 prior_test2 February 16, 2017 at 1:51 am

You can never be too cynical when talking about any well recognized member of the GMU econ dept.

4 Thiago Ribeiro February 15, 2017 at 12:08 pm

I thought thenComplacent Class was too much complacent to hold events.

5 Hadur February 15, 2017 at 12:24 pm

Perhaps I’ll finally figure out what this book is about. It’s biggest marketing flaw is that you cannot determine what exactly it is about by simply looking at the cover. Even your past books were pretty self-evident.

6 anon February 15, 2017 at 12:53 pm

Near as I can tell, this book has become a counterfactual. But that has to be useful, as we rebuild.

One lesson, IMO: If repetition convinces of falsehoods, the formerly complacent should get busy, and repeat truths.

7 Troll me February 15, 2017 at 10:59 pm

I think everyone had always quite a numer of times about, from Soviet situations, the “drum it into them until it’s true” sort of thing. (This itself might have been drummed into us as an essentially Soviet thing, the West by contradistinction therefore not having such things going on … )

I’m not sure that drumming truth into people is necessarily the right answer. According to highly respected scholarly outlets like HowItWorks.com, anti-brainwashing is more effective by helping people to see the contradictions in their thinking and to present so non-overwhelming options, as they start to chart their way forward, out of their drummed-until-true state of unthinking.

Because truth is not the same for every individual, an effort to “drum in truth” will simply appear to the deluded and brainwashed individual as yet another assault, which in their conditioned and brainwashed state they will not be able to recognize as truth.

You have to find it for yourself. There are many guides. It’s hard to force the process.

8 anon February 16, 2017 at 10:04 am

I am talking about things like this:


Donald “I love Wikileaks” Trump is out there trying to drum in the falsehood that now leaks are the issue. They are not the issue. All we want to know is the true story on Russian involvement. Let those dice fall where they may.

9 anon February 16, 2017 at 10:31 am

“But in this case the bigger scandal at hand is not a cover-up. It is the thing itself: the connections between the Trump camp and Moscow during the campaign, when Vladimir Putin was trying to subvert American democracy.”


10 TMC February 16, 2017 at 2:09 pm

The FBI has looked into and has found nothing. Why the big deal now? And how is it dissimilar to Obama’s contact with Iran before he was POTUS? Hypocrisy?

11 anon February 16, 2017 at 3:10 pm

Lindsey Graham has called for a bipartisan investigation. When your own party does that, something is up.


12 Troll me February 18, 2017 at 7:43 pm

Actually, numerous national-level security organizations have repeatedly pointed in the direction of not only YES, but yes they can maybe even prove something that is difficult to prove.

I do not recall anyone complaining about Obama’s contact with Iran. For starters, he was exceedingly transparent about his objectives and intended methods. It seems the main effect was to cause a rash of colonist settlement activity in areas militarily controlled by the IDF which are West of the Jordan River.

13 Lurker February 17, 2017 at 11:01 am

I wonder just what it was the Russians are accused of having done. Perhaps Mr. Trump and the Reds have made a secret pact to convert the good ol US of A into a Communist state.

Egads! Que mixed emotions for the left!!!

Or are we going back to the the idea that the election was somehow stolen by the Russkies? That surely must be it. I personally would like to thank whoever provided the American people with transparency into how the DNC threw the Bern under the bus.

It could never, ever possibly have had anything to do with the fact that nobody fooking likes Hilary Clinton (not even a good number of the democrats I’ve spoken to).

14 Ray Lopez February 15, 2017 at 1:34 pm

I will be casting my keen, critical eye on this book, and seeing how it compares to this book by Samuelson. Not Paul A. Samuelson, but the WaPo business reporter Robert J. Samuelson:

The Good Life and Its Discontents: The American Dream in the Age of Entitlement – September 30, 1997 by Robert J. Samuelson

15 rayward February 15, 2017 at 2:08 pm

Samuelson’s book is a critique of government, a critique that is masquerading as a sociological examination. I’ve preordered Cowen’s book with the expectation that he offers much more than what Samuelson offers, not only what Samuelson’s offers in his book but in almost every one of his columns. Society has winners and losers, the identity of which changes over time as losers become winners and winners become losers. Of course, yesterday’s winners believe they are entitled to be today’s winners, but it doesn’t work that way. Samuelson’s complaint is that an active government attempts to smooth the ups and downs in the economy, to lessen the suffering when things go wrong and moderate the excesses when things go right, not to choose the winners and losers but to keep the wheels turning. What Samuelson prefers is to maintain the status quo, those with advantages yesterday entitled to advantages today and tomorrow. A more meaningful sociological examination would include an examination of the ridiculous pursuits of today’s boy wonders (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/14/books/review/valley-of-the-gods-silicon-valley-alexandra-wolfe.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fbooks&action=click&contentCollection=books&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront) and of the enormous advancements attributable to the chaotic global order (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/13/books/a-world-in-disarray-richard-haass.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fbooks&action=click&contentCollection=books&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront). Samuelson is a navel gazer. I trust Cowen is not.

16 Ray Lopez February 15, 2017 at 3:45 pm

I tend to agree with you, Samuelson is pretty shallow, like a small-town reporter. I recall reading his daily economics column in the WaPo when I was in my 20s, many decades ago, and thinking “this guy is a Nobelist in economics?” until I later realized it was a different person.

On the other hand, TC has lost his “Austrian fire” over the years and mellowed (Brian Doherty, in his book “Radicals for Capitalism” on libertarians, mentions TC as an up-and-coming Austrian (!)). I’m not sure TC is the right person for shaking up the status quo, as he likely doesn’t think there’s a silver bullet anywhere.

I –on the other hand– if I were to write a book it would be truly radical. You can guess what I would posit: that you can change productivity by teaching people to think inventively. It’s a tall order, and speculative, but I think it can be done. But you’d never hear a reputable economist to expound my views since they are ‘career limiting’. Economists like to tell you what they think is obvious based on the data, and the data by definition is backwards looking and reinforces the status quo. The most radical mainstream economics thinker these days seems to be GM Ken Rogoff, who is pushing the abolition of ca$h, though he’s also flawed since he believes in money non-neutrality and monetarism, which is old-school thinking.

17 anon February 15, 2017 at 5:16 pm

I had a coffee, sugar, and walk in the park brain-wave that relates to this. Well, the flip side.

It is fun to be a contrarian. It is fun to hear the ideas of other contrarians, even when they are incompatible with your own. All that depends though on a dependable establishment, one that is conservative enough to not take up revolutionary ideas too readily. Something that slows change to the best, proven, ideas.

When that establishment disappears, responsible contrarians have abandon their postures. And defend something more basic.

Not as fun, but there you are.

18 Ray Lopez February 15, 2017 at 6:07 pm

Edmund Burke may have anticipated your brain-wave about 220 years ago, but good point.

19 anon February 15, 2017 at 7:39 pm

It may indeed be a repeated truth, but ..

It is not like we’ve had steady and cautiously progressive governments ever since. Tyler’s book is even about new and dangerous revolutions arising from broken systems.

20 Ray Lopez February 15, 2017 at 9:58 pm

Arguably we’ve had progress since the days of the ancien régime, the long peace of the 19th century, the short 20th century, and the Thatcher-Reagan neoliberal revolution, not to mention globalization and the rise of the container ship (MSC Oscar, 200k DWT!, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MSC_Oscar) but reasonable minds can differ on what is ‘progress’. To some people, a simpler age in poverty and subservience to a medieval lord in return for a sort of (possibly pseudo) protection might be progress.

Bonus trivia: the largest supertankers in the world are so big that about 3 supertankers can supply all of the UK’s oil needs for about two days. For the USA, which imports about half their oil (historically, going down), you need about five supertankers a day to supply the entire country with foreign oil.

21 anon February 15, 2017 at 10:19 pm

If you are currently residing in a certain Pacific nation, it may not be wise to answer directly, on the safety of establishments. Which is an answer in itself.

22 Bradley February 15, 2017 at 2:18 pm

Will this be on YouTube?

23 Dick the Butcher February 15, 2017 at 2:28 pm

I’m breathless waiting for the Netflix presentation.

24 Thiago Ribeiro February 15, 2017 at 5:56 pm

Do you mean the bot got crazy or that a crazy person built a bot? Because think the answer is yes.

25 eight twenty-five February 15, 2017 at 8:21 pm
26 eight thirty February 15, 2017 at 8:24 pm
27 Anonymous February 15, 2017 at 10:20 pm

The young are no different fro you and I; they are equally complacent.


Or maybe its more expensive to move out of the Basement.

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