My Conversation with Paul Krugman

Here is the audio and transcript, here is part of the summary:

Tyler sat down with Krugman at his office in New York to discuss what’s grabbing him at the moment, including antitrust, Supreme Court term limits, the best ways to fight inequality, why he’s a YIMBY, inflation targets, congestion taxes, trade (both global and interstellar), his favorite living science fiction writer, immigration policy, how to write well for a smart audience, new directions for economic research, and more.

Here is one excerpt:

COWEN: In your view, how well run is New York City as an entity?

KRUGMAN: Not very. Compared to what? Actually, I like de Blasio. I actually think he’s done some really good things. What he’s done on education, and even on affordable housing, is actually quite substantial. But the city is so big and the problems are so large that people may not get it.

I will say, it is crazy that you have a city that is so dependent on public transportation, and yet the public transportation is not actually under the city’s control and has clearly been massively neglected. I don’t suffer the full woes of the subway, but I suffer some of them, even myself.

The city could be run better than it is, but it’s certainly not among the worst-managed political entities in the United States, let alone in the world.

And:

COWEN: Will there ever be interstellar trade in intellectual property? You send your technology to a planet far away. It arrives much later, of course. Or you trade Beethoven to the aliens in return for a transporter beam? Can this work? You’ve written a paper that seems to indicate it can work.

KRUGMAN: I wrote a paper on the theory of interstellar trade when I was an unhappy assistant professor. Are there any happy assistant professors? [laughs] I was just blowing off steam. But it’s an interesting question.

COWEN: It could become your most important paper, right? [laughs]

KRUGMAN: We could imagine that there would be some way. We’d have to find somebody to trade with, although it’s the kind of thing — if you try to imagine interstellar trade for real in intellectual property — it’s probably the kind of thing that would be more like government-to-government exchanges.

It sounds like it would be really, really hard, although some science fiction writers are imagining that something like Bitcoin would make it possible to do these long-range . . . I don’t think something like Bitcoin is even going to work here.

Krugman also gives his opinions on Star Wars and Star Trek and Big Tech and many other matters.  Interesting throughout…

Comments

"I like de Blasio" Says it all.

Well, that and "even myself." We're supposed to be aghast that even the Likes Of Him are occasionally inconvenienced by subway mis-management. The horror!

We're so sorry, Paul! We'll all try to do better for you!

You sound like a bunch of insecure, gossipy housewives. The amusing part is that you think yourselves otherwise.

They seem like a couple of regular guys, having a good time. They probably spit from them me to time.

walks like a duck, quacks like a duck.....

Notice how actual populism is spun out as elitism. Krugman would like the NYC subways to be run by NYC and run better. Suppose that happened tomorrow, who would benefit the most? Almost certainly the bottom 80% of the income scale in NYC.

Yet that's elitist on Krugman's part. I suppose he should have given a Trumpian type answer...."subway, yea I see those in the movies but I'm not quite sure where they are in NYC. I'll tell you going by helicopter isn't half bad in NYC but limos have their perks too but then there's traffic". He would then be praised endlessly as the friend of the everyman.

It's a tough corner TC has started him out in; New York city's middle-to-upper-middle income residents who commute (all within that 80% that you are talking about) would probably be the biggest beneficiaries of improved funding on the subway. This is already an "elite" group considered on a national scale! Anyone familiar with the genre of urban newspaper and magazine writing whining about public transportation by upper-middle class urban correspondents will immediately tune out.

By any national measure it's almost unavoidable to sound elitist if talking about anything whose main benefits accrue primarily to the middle income of cities which already have an "elite" income distribution within the USA.

The safe populist answers would probably be "The Rent Is Too Damn High" and to talk about better wages for working people and excessive the cost of living. These are things everyone can empathize with. Unlike talking about "inequality"; which mostly sounds like the pseudo-academic concern of upper middle urban professionals with Communist leanings and an envy for their bosses). Or talking about "gentrification" which mostly comes across as code for "Higher property prices pushing low income people out of urban neighbourhoods is a-OK... until gay or ethnic minority people are those low income people in which case it's time for Special Treatment".

Almost everyone in NYC uses subways unless you are talking about the upper, upper crust. That includes all of the lower class unless you're talking about shut-ins.

Income comparisons to other parts of the country are about as useful as international comparisons. Hey there are places where you can live like a king in Nigeria for $50/day so why isn't the person living on $1500 a month in Kentucky also not an elitist for complaining?

I think Trump has worn Krugman out. He seems tired and defeated.

still, Thomas friedman has mentioned recession

"This Krugman guy; I haven't heard a lot about him. Nobody seems to read him anymore. He seems like low-energy. Maybe he's tired or sick. He should get help rather than writing bad things about economy. Sad!! "

DeBlasio took a school system that actually worked for good and exceptional students but didn't work well for poor and exceptionally dumb students. And he transformed it to a system that does not work for any student. Pure equality of results; the Socialist dream...

When anyone takes over an organization this large and this old I think we can discount his claim that he fixed it, as well as anyone's claimed that he destroyed it. Momentum.

You fired that too soon, because there was a good deal of institutional momentum involved. Both at the company and financial system levels.

Good example.

Exactly. I was only CEO for 14 years prior to the company's collapse. It's not like I could have steered a different course even if I wanted to. Momentum!

That is exactly the question. There was a worldwide securitisation movement. There was a worldwide real estate appreciation. That momentum carried to a peak and then a crash.

I mean, when the same thing happens to Lehman Brothers and Iceland, it is a question of whether one man can stand athwart history and yell stop.

Okay, now I'll have to change my story. When people say I destroyed the company that Howard Sosin built, I say it was not my fault that AIG Financial Products collapsed: everything would have been fine if Dick The Gorilla did not screw up. But if that was not your fault, I'll have to find a new scapegoat. Know what, I think it was all Gary Gorton's fault. He said I could trust those models he built for us.

Nor do i think any trend in NYC's education results is noticeable when he only took office in 2014....unless he instituted mass lobotomies and force feeding of lead to the kids, you're probably going to need a decade before you even see any results of his policies.

FTFY version: "I will say, it is crazy that you have a city that is so dependent on food, and yet the food supply is not actually under the city’s control."

Good catch.

Well it would be crazy if the food supply were under the control of some other monopolist instead.

This. Food can be bought on the open market and is tough for anyone to dominate. But there are many groups that can shut down the subway system if they want to.

FTFY FTFY version: "I will say, it is crazy that you have a city that is so dependent on food stamps, and yet the food stamps supply is not actually under the city’s control."

Why drag Kentucky into this?

Haha, sorry...

Actually, the food stamp percentage is higher in NYC than Kentucky - 19.8% versus 14.7%.

American society has not evolved! America was born with enlightenment virtue!

I think someone needs a holiday in Cambodia.

It is now 114 years since The Jungle was written.

Nice demonstration of how leaving out two crucial words, "public transportation" can allow a random idiot to think he is making an intelligent comment.

Insults aren't nice.

The point is that Krugman is begging the question. He makes the assumption that transportation for non-car-owners would be impossible without government intervention (or, more weakly, that government is the most efficient provider of such transportation).

Now Krugman is way way way smarter than anyone who comments here, so of course he recognizes that what works for food distribution (lots of independent, unrelated vendors) might not work for public transportation (which relies on network effects, has lots of right-of-way issues, etc.). My point is not directed at Krugman. Rather, it is to remind my fellow commenters that the null hypothesis should be that the market is the most efficient provider of goods -- a hypothesis that I am happy to reject, when the data require it. Krugman's null hypothesis is the opposite.

I disagree with your reading. Maybe he thinks that, but when he says, "you have a city... dependent on public transportation," that is a conditional statement. So it seems the more charitable reading would be that conditional on having a city dependent on public transportation (for whatever reason, be it market failure or other), then it follows that "it is crazy that... public transportation is not actually under the city’s control."

Fair enough. I read it differently.

Compare: (1) The city would fail without public transportation, so the city should be in charge of public transportation. (2) The city would fail without food, so the city should be in charge of food. To me these seem like pretty similar statements.

I acknowledge that private provision of goods and services is not the most efficient solution in all cases. I'm saying that Krugman's formulation of "the city depends on X, therefore the city should control X" is a non sequitur. I would rather see the formulation "industry X has features Y and Z, therefore the city should control industry X."

I agree, it does not follow that,as you put it, if “the city depends on X,” then, “the city should control X.”

I do think however if X is say, “government services” it’s at least odd not to have the city control that. I also see it as a separate question as to whether or not the city should depend on it. But you make fair points. Guess we’ll just need to ask Krugman what he meant.

They are only similar if you ignore the massive differences between and food and public transportation.

This is kind of stupid, the whole thing. NYC does not run it's subway, it is run by the state. It is quite sensible for even the most conservative economist living in NYC to say "gee when I vote for mayor, I should be having more influence over the subway system than today where my vote for governor has more influence on the subway system and my influence is split with voters hundreds of miles away who never ride it".

Instead we have a bunch of aspiring trolls pretending Krugman is presenting some subversive ideological declaration....."well the whole city depends on one major search engine so the mayor's office should have control of Google'. There was a time when this blog attracted comments from people who could actually get work at a Russian troll farm.

Yes, what a stupid debate.

I think Krugman is wrong when he claims that the right is more tribal, polarizing, etc. than the left. However this lot of commenters is sure helping prove his point.

You should know by now that simply saying, "Paul Krugman" lowers the intelligence of conservative listeners by 20-30 points.

Oh come on. Did I miss the memo where Krugman decried Albany enacting a statewide fracking ban based on NYC vote numbers and overruling the people who will actually live with the tradeoffs? Or does he propose making the gasoline tax a local issue, maybe allow places like Buffalo and Rochester to opt for a different mix of tax and construction policies to better serve their needs.

Krugman has been perfectly fine with Albany and DC telling other places how to run their transportation (not to mention healthcare, domestic law, and education); why exactly should NYC be exempt from these benefits of centralizing? Indeed, if I recall aright the majority of funding for the subway comes from people who live outside of NYC proper, so having the voting split 1/3rd from NYC, 1/3rd from the governor, and 1/3rd from the burbs seems pretty equitable to me.

As always, centralized technocratic government is only good as long as the people in charge are the sort of people you want in charge.

"Krugman is way way way smarter than anyone who comments here": or at least so he thinks.

Come on, Dearieme boy, tell us how smart you are.

For anyone at home, Castbox, a Chromecast Audio, and cranking up the old stereo is much better than mobile listening.

Blah blah blah leftist Cowen blah blah Soros blah blah rathskellar blah blah Krugman is stupid blah blah

How'd I do?

So ur saying there is a difference between eternity and infinity?

Sometimes a manhole is just a manhole.

Just ask Denny Hastert!

You worked rathskeller into it, I'm good.

Not bad. But you missed:

“Things are better in Germany”...

And,

“The twelfth verse of the Brazilian National Anthem should set us all straight”...

Needs moar... blablabla... Koch Brothers... blablabla... Trump... blablabla... Mercatus.

Intellectual property is property.

Property is a right.

A right can only exist where there is a legitimately established government that is willing and able to enforce it.

So the real question is how courts and governments on Earth could enforce rights on another world.

There are conceivable answers: treaties, "full faith an credit" constructs ... Gort. But Krugman implodes straight to "since government is best, government would have to do it."

Real Nobel thinking there...

I'm not sure what confuses you about a one-off exchange along the lines of "I will give you a copy of this Beethoven album that you can reproduce as often as you like and in return you tell me how to make transporters, which I will be allowed to do however often I like". Why would that require any kind of government enforcement?

Hmm. I wonder. Maybe they could just take an mp3.

The very fact that there is a discussion about the exchange presupposes some kind of social/societal structure of commerce.

Well, it presupposes the ability to communicate with aliens, yes.

If aliens had an auditory system that developed along different lines than ours, our system of consonances and dissonances wouldn't make any sense to them anyway. Beethoven's music only makes sense when certain intervals sound dissonant, but aliens would presumably have different frequency discrimination than we do, in which case there would be no sense of conflict and resolution to the music.

Is there a theory for why we experience the frequency intervals we do as consonant or dissonant?

Can one reasonably argue that the consonant and dissonant intervals are objective? For instance, aren't 4ths and 5ths more consonant because of inherent overtones or no?

I think it has to do with the harmonic sequence. Intervals at the bottom are more consonant. More dissonant the further up you go. Does not map perfectly onto the keyboard obviously but I point to that as a bedrock reason.

Can one reasonably argue that the consonant and dissonant intervals are objective?

I don't think so. Much of what we like is a result of early training and experience.

I'm not sure what confuses you about a one-off exchange along the lines of "I will give you a copy of this Beethoven album that you can reproduce as often as you like and in return you tell me how to make transporters, which I will be allowed to do however often I like". Why would that require any kind of government enforcement?

It wouldn't if the exchange were perfectly simultaneous. But how can that be? What if I hand over the album and then get bad information, or none? Or I get good information and then the album is damaged?

Intellectual property is an invention, and one that people do have a hard time conceiving living without.

But look at the news. Even the biggest companies realize that holding tight to know actual property is not always in their best interest.

https://www.zdnet.com/google-amp/article/microsoft-open-sources-its-entire-patent-portfolio/

"holding tight control to intellectual property is not always in their best interest"

Every kind of property that you can't carry with you is an invention. But why would anybody pay for Beethoven when the man himself is long dead? Maybe aliens would pay for a Beethoven streaming service?

You do realize this was for Microsoft's own interests? If MSFT made $3.4 billion just from it's Android patents, then this open source gambit is to save money, and indeed the article says "With this latest move, Guthrie explained, "We want to protect open-source projects from IP lawsuits, so we're opening our patent portfolio to the OIN."

So obvious the cost of lawsuits is greater than the royalties MSFT makes from open source member payments. It makes sense since open source members like Google are unlikely to infringe MSFT kernel patents anyway.

Bonus trivia: Krugman gets points in my book for mentioning IP!

I am not sure you understand what you just wrote. Or copied and pasted.

@anonymous (coward) - I'm pretty sure you don't have good reading comprehension skills, shill. I did not get into the 1% being stupid (I was born smart) and I've made $0.5M on my own, aside from my intestate share. You're still working, that speaks volumes. Enjoy your cubical, wage slave! ;-)

Whatever my circumstance, I have met enough people in my life a to know that "I am rich, so I must be smart" doesn't always work.

It can even be a limitation, cough, Trump, cough.

Better to ..

https://youtu.be/srRcHz9jVrg

(What I meant about the above quote was that you seemed to be mixing up Microsoft revenues and costs. This open source agreement is undoubtedly a reduction in short-term evenue, but they're doing it for tighter integration to the community and for their long-term future. Which is what my post was all about.)

Was Krugman not in "top form?"

I'll listen to the podcast first, but my immediate thought is why talk to him? Are there not more interesting people around who aren't partisan hacks, and don't have a NYT column to tell us what they think?

BTW, the question I would ask is whether someone who reads the NYT is more informed or less informed about the world, how it works and what is going on?

"BTW, the question I would ask is whether someone who reads the NYT is more informed or less informed about the world, how it works and what is going on?"

As opposed to people who believe in Trump's business carreer myth?

Is that new information? He has been in the media for decades and there are journalists who have covered everything he did. I've read from many sources that he inherited from his father, had major projects go bankrupt.

Something is behind Brexit, Trump, even the election results in Quebec last week. Do New York Times readers know anything about Rotherham and what happened there? Why are those who should know blindsided by events that are obvious to many? Maybe because they get their news from the New York Times?

This is a serious question, in fact a potentially dangerous one. People who make decisions need information, and if they are given a false or misleading sense of the situation, could make the wrong one.

Don't mistake your partisan reflex for being informed.

If NYT readers don't know what happened in Rotherham, why is that a problem? What event(s) are you thinking of, and why do you think they are relevant?

There is your homework. Report due tomorrow.

Are these comments confirmation of my suspicion? That New York Times readers are truly ignorant?

Partisan bullshit is a confirmation of my suspicion, by the way.

What other Nobel Prize winning economists could Cowen get to return a call, much less do a podcast with him?

Not sure why we should care about his opinions of Star Trek/Wars, either.

> COWEN: ... Star Trek...
> KRUGMAN: ... Purely nonintellectual stuff.

Chenza at court, the court of silence! Kiteo, his eyes closed. : (

Does he feel tiffed to be passed over yet again for the Nobel Prize?

He got one in 2008. Is he itching for another?

Agreed!

Yes, this should happen! My fellow Americans need to learn more about this accomplished man.

Indeed.

Quite.

Indubitably.

Krugman has enough self-esteem that he acknowledges when he doesn't know enough about something to comment on it. A delightful interview.

>Krugman has enough self-esteem

Most would say far, far too much.

he has self-esteem but lacks self-awareness. Can you imagine answering a question on partisanship with:

"Over time, with increasing partisanship and tribalism, that matters less and less. The kinds of things that come out of the mouths of senators . . . I obviously don’t think the parties are the same. I think that you can find a lot more I-can’t-believe-he-said-that things from the Republicans than the Democrats.

"

I read a bit on Twitter recently which said "isn't it amazing that all the political scientists agree that there has been asymmetric polarization in our country, and journalists simply pretend it isn't true?"

Seems legit.

https://www.wgbh.org/news/2017/03/15/politics-government/major-new-study-shows-political-polarization-mainly-right-wing

Is it a coincidence that political scientists are overwhelmingly radical leftists? Survey evidence shows that the left shifted very far to the left over the last 20 years. The right barely at all.

With respect to gay marriage, Republicans have moved more toward the center/left.

That's funny, just like the old conspiracy that people who know about climate think it's changing.

Gotta say, I can't give him too many points on that one. He's said on multiple occasions that where he doesn't possess the expertise on something, his BS detector is strong enough to know which "experts" are worth listening to. This strikes me as a bizarre appeal to one's own authority.

I don't know how anyone can say something like "What’s problematic is that they’re still — although they’re not charging us anything — they’re not in business for our health, they’re in business for their health." and not be challenged by someone like Cowen. I mean, Krugman is simply saying out loud (though in a roundabout way) that self interest is bad! Companies should do what is good "for us" not "for them". It just boggles my mind how this kind of thing passes for normal or mainstream nowadays.

Of course self interest can be bad. Actions take in self interest can cause harm to others. Self-interest is often inherently harmful, because many things are zero-sum, so if I'm getting something, someone else is not.

Those who support the free market do so not because self interest is an inherent good, but because markets incentivize people in such a way that their self-interest aligns with the good of others.

Note that the context here is tech monopolies. Krugman's point is that monopolies can be harmful, even if the product is free, because the market incentive for a company to work in the interest of it customers may be broken. His point is hardly radically anti-market; it assumes a market premise.

There is still plenty of room to criticize his position, no doubt. However, this would have been a worse conversation if Tyler had engaged in debates about first principles. I disagree with Krugman about many things, but he is clearly a very smart, original thinker, and this conversation revealed him as such, with lots of interesting points. His polemical political pieces are far less interesting, and that's what probably would have resulted if this became a debate about the value of free markets.

To believe that business self-interest is good for society in general, you need to have some mechanism. For a 'normal' business, this mechanism is prices and competition between firms. Firms want me to buy their widget and not their competitor, so they change their business practices such that they can offer a lower price or higher quality. In sectors with weak competition (because of strong network effects) and zero prices, how do you align business interests with consumer interests?

He couldn't be more wrong the mayor's education policy. I will take Eva Moskowitz and her Success Academys over de Blasio's teacher's union run public schools.

I thought Tyler did get him on the question of "why people vote Republican". He asked Krugman several times, why if it's so obvious that R are bad, do people vote for them. Krugman just waffled. As Haidt demonstrates in his book, left wingers just cannot understand right wing positions, but the opposite doesn't hold.

What would render the right wing position incomprehensible, then? If you couldn't understand the right wing position, would you be left wing?

Well more people voted for Hillary than Trump so...

I found it to be a bit blasé as compared to some of your other interviews. I appreciated that he acknowledged when he couldn’t answer a question, and he came across as a very reasonable and generally knowledgeable sort. Nonetheless, there seemed to be less in there that would add to the listeners’ general knowledge or way of thinking than there are in some of the other interviews.

Still, keep up the good work. Long form conversations like this are a worthwhile enterprise.

Perhaps you have confirmed your general economic knowledge.

Blasé is what I felt too. I understand why people think it's honest and noble to dismiss a question in a subject that you aren't 100% confident in, but it seems like a terrible approach to these interviews with Tyler which are so wide-ranging and geared for polymaths.

Come on Paul, take a risk and opine about something outside your comfort zone.

I mostly liked the "My view on immigration has always been that if you aren’t at least somewhat conflicted about it, there’s something wrong with you" line, but I'm somewhat conflicted about it.

I would have thought that Krugman's views get quite enough exposure? The comment about DiBlasio is almost comical -- his primary accomplishment seems to be his vigorous fitness routine and that immediately afterward, say around noon, he can roll into the office and take a nap. DiBlasio is a career democratic party hack who got the job because Anthony Wiener couldn't keep from exposing himself in public.

"DiBlasio is a career democratic party hack who got the job because Anthony Wiener couldn't keep from exposing himself in public."

And Republicans just couldn't get a decent candidate.

I think it's sort of telling that he started off in History and then got into economics because he wanted to be like a "psychohistorian" from the Foundation novels. In other words, he started off with preconceived ideas about what he was going to apply economics to and not with an open mind and an interest in the subject for it's own sake.

Economics is a bullshit field anyway no one in it has an open mind

Stupidest comment yet. "preconceived" indeed. Who has ever gone into a field with a blank slate except maybe those who picked out a class at random without having any idea what it is. The rest of us, though, all have preconceived, mostly wrong, ideas about what something is about when we first crack open the new book.

Agree that singling out Krugman for being particularly "preconceived" is a bit unfair.

Though Krugman's ambition is particularly worth of comment. What's interesting to me is that Krugman does is almost exactly the opposite of the "long view" of psychohistory. Psychohistory is probably something closest in our world to cliodynamics or cultural evolution - looking at broad groups over time and the deeper trends of how history form in ways that can be isolated from great persons.

What Krugman does (and it seems saliently more than others in his profession) is rather more to advocate the tweaking of macroeconomic levers for the most expedient short term outcome, with complete disregard to the long term distortions that will bear out from using government financial muscle to manipulate the economy in the short term or using immigration to provide short term demographic stimulus (no consideration of aasabiya or deep "state history" or "nation building" here).

Errr except almost all economists talk about 'tweaking levers'. Tyler, for example, practically gushes over 'nudge' and getting people to utilize their 401k's by defaulting them in.

From what I recall of the series, though, psychohistory was the opposite of 'tweaking levers'. It concerned itself with the sweep of human history through thousands of years while offering almost no help with year in year out stuff like a recession here or boom there and was even less useful if applied to a small group of people or an individual.

Yes, psychohistory is the opposite of tweaking short term levers, I think this is what I've said.

(In honesty, also may as well append to this comment that I've been unfair to Krugman in blithely mis-remembering him as an idiot on migration.)

On top of that traditional economics is more akin to psychohistory than more interventional Keynesian or Monatarist economics. For example, traditional economics predicts a full employment economy trending towards low growth in the long run whether you approach this from a positive angle (Smith) or a negative one (Malthus). But those theories offer little insight into the steps along the way and make few predictions about the 'hair' on the economy (i.e. will Myspace or Facebook dominate social media? Uber or Lyft? Which cities will see a real estate boom or bust).

Likewise conservative theories of history are also a bit like psychohistory. Consider the old idea that civilization is a cycle with an endless loop playing between barbarism, the rise of a civilization, decadence and then collapse. You can say this is a more sophisticated take on psychohistory than traditional economics...which tends towards only a single stable outcome in the long run.

Re-casting psychohistory as Keynesian economics is a bit loose to me. In fact it seems to me to be a combination of conservative social theories with scientism.

It would be good if Krugman could come to support a UBI and promote it.

And a Russ Roberts on the other side of the spectrum. The brightest bulb on the other side of PK, Uncle Milt, was all in on UBI.

There's some hopeful prospects.

After hearing he likes DeBlasio, i decided not to waste my time and listen. As resident of NYC, DeBlasio is a disaster on any metric unless u far left

I wonder if this low-key and sensible interview was an agreement, implicit or explicit, to set up the Krugman haters.

Anyone who hates on this interview above, stands out as less reasonable than they believed.

He was very sensible for the most part. He toned it down. Or maybe this (the interview) is what he really believes. So... why’s he such an insufferable assclown in his column, where he’s intemperate, unfair, tendentious and insulting. I mean, Trump is Trumpish, but Krugman’s behavior predated Trump by many years.

Congrats to Tyler C on an excellent interview, and Paul Krugman's commentary on monetary policy and central banking is as good as it gets.

COWEN: Reparations for descendants of slaves.

KRUGMAN: It’s certainly just, but I find it hard to believe it’s going to happen.

But that’s not going to change the structure. If we were really going to talk about justice, it would make sense. There will be a fair number of people who say, “Well, my grandparents or my great-grandparents came over in 1915. Why should I be liable for this?”

But on the other hand, our country was built, in large part, on an incredible injustice. But that’s not going to change the structure. That would be a one-time thing.

OK, that would leave BHO out but his Mrs. would get a check and the kids as well. Then there's Maxine Waters, Oprah Winfrey, Reggie Jackson, Corey Booker, Clarence Thomas and many others. Oddly, or maybe not so oddly, no one ever mentions the few surviving native Americans, none of whom have their own television and publishing empire, elected positions in national government, or place in the federal judiciary. Nobody ever tried to exterminate the slaves and ex-slaves while it was a government policy to get rid of the Indians. Yet we're supposed to worry about some kind of compensation for Oprah and OJ? Proof positive.

I'm not sure what your argument is here. It seems to be that Native Americans are entitled to reparations if descendants of slaves are...not sure who argues against that to be honest. On the other side you seem to think a great deal that reparations may or may not benefit a successful African-American like BHO or Oprah or OJ.

Let's just discuss this in theory, if that's possible. Suppose the gaming commission discovers a Casino was playing games with its games. It's slot machines were supposed to pay out $0.45 on the dollar. However the nefarious computer whiz who ran the machines inserted some code. When African Americans came in, they paid out only $0.35 on the dollar but whites got $0.49. Because of the different numbers of white and black players, this evened out to $0.45 on the dollar so when the gaming commission checked the records the slots appeared to be behaving normally. This was still random so plenty of whites still lost money and there were plenty of blacks who won big jackpots at the slot. Suppose, for whatever reason the casino also has records of who played the slots....

I suspect the results of a class action lawsuit here would entail giving all the African-American players some payout based on the expected value of their bets had the machines been set to the correct random probability setting. Even though it would mean some of the players who get a check would have been ones who won a million dollars on the slots already.

Do I think reparations are practical? No. But I also don't think the idea that Oprah might get a check sinks the idea.

Paul Krugman was interesting when discussing economics but irrelevant when discussing politics.

I have been thinking about how Tyler says that the thinkers of new generation will be religious thinkers. Does that mean the interest of younger generations on classical stories will be relatively greater? Is being a religious thinker somehow related to being freer from ideology? For example, I suspect Bruno Macaes, labelled as a religious thinker by Tyler, seems shockingly original and unconstrained. What books on religion and ideology does Tyler recommend? Personally, my interest in classical Biblical stories sparked once I found out about Jordan Peterson through Marginal Revolution.

I suspect this conversation seemed more reserved than many of its predecessors because it took place, I think, in an office. My favorite part was the end when he talked about having achieved his goals and what it was like to accept that and move on.

I was completely underwhelmed by this interview. The first third was no better than the lame punditry on cable TV news.

Krugman comes across much better in the interview than in his tiresome column. Interesting thought on inflation. If only that was the conversation Tyler wanted to have, that topic could have been explored more.

But of course Star Trek. Honestly Tyler, did you learn anything in this conversation?

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