A Cowen-Caplan dialogue

Bryan cites one from years ago, but in reality we reprise it in many different forms, about every three days or so:

Tyler: People like to think they’re special, but we’re all pretty much the same.

Me: No we’re not.  Some people are really great; others are simply awful.

Tyler: That’s just the kind of thing people say to make themselves feel special.

Me: You don’t really believe that.

Tyler: Do too.

Me: What if we use the metric of your willingness-to-pay to spend an hour with a person?
There are a few awesome people you would pay thousands of dollars to
meet. But you’d pay hundreds of dollars to avoid an hour with most

Tyler: [3-second hesitation.]  Well, it’s not clear why that should be the relevant metric.

Me: But it’s your metric!

Tyler: What’s so special about my metric?

Me: What’s so special about it? By definition, that metric
captures everything that you think matters. And by that very metric,
people are not "pretty much the same." They’re incredibly different.

It’s funny how Bryan thinks he can cite my actions as evidence against the correct belief.  That’s absurd; for instance I also don’t act as if determinism is true, but citing that doesn’t settle the matter.  I sometimes describe Bryan’s most basic world view as the belief that what is good is very very good and what is bad is very bad indeed.   I am more likely to see endowment effects at work.


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