Watch: Tim Wu debates trustbusting with Tyler Cowen, who just wrote "a love letter" to Big Business

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For those that are interested or don’t want to sit through two hours of video, the debate starts around an 1:23ish in

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Wu is a lawyer, not an economist. You may agree with him, but there are Creationist lawyers like Phillip E. Johnson. It’s recommended to take advice from people who actually have doctorates in the relevant subject.

Nobody can be a great economist who is only an economist — and I am even tempted to add that the economist who is only an economist is likely to become a nuisance if not a positive danger.

F. A. Hayek

You can accuse Tyler Cowen of many things, but being only an economist is not one of them. Google ‘tyler cowen “what I’ve been reading”’; he’s obviously a voracious reader and a polymath.

I follow Cowen’s work pretty closely because I really disagree with him and also find that he puts forward persuasive arguments, and delving into the deficiencies in those arguments is a good way to figure out what’s missing from my own arguments (a friend once emailed me that Cowan “specializes in the ‘hey, maybe there’s some merit in this overlooked idea, I don’t know, I’m just asking’ presentation of appalling ideas”).

I disagree with Cowan on a lot of things, and have also noted his propensity to JAQ off when it comes to ideas his patrons are more passionate about pushing than he is. Still, I take him seriously because, in stark contrast to the vast majority of Libertarian “geniuses” out there (and on this BBS), he’s demonstrated that he actually knows something about economics and running a business.

He was likely talking about Marxists and Keynesians with no practical business experience. This illustrates that Hayek’s main failing was one of imagination: he couldn’t conceive of a private corporation that could be as tyrannical as a state, if not more.


I like Cory (Radicalized, Walkaway, etc. were awesome), Tyler and Tim. They all have ideas I agree and disagree with and I feel that they are authentic in their views. For example, I agree with Tim’s assertion that we need to refocus antitrust on the ways that big business can distort democracy. On the other hand, I agree with Tyler that there are many alternatives to Facebook. I deleted my account last year and man do I feel good.

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