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Friday, July 04, 2008

Tyler Cowen Extracts Money From Victor Niederhoffer

At least, I'm just assuming money changed hands at the latest Junto.

Oh, if only one or more Crash Landing readers had attended! Then we could rival Marginal Revolution in our coolness, just this once!

9 comments:

  1. Dr. Murray Tyson4:36 AM

    You have an inferioriity complex compared to Tyler "Watch me read fast" Cowen? Puhleeze.

    ReplyDelete
  2. OK:

    The topic was worrying, and alsmost the optimal amount of worry:

    1. Tyler said that we worry too much. Within this framework he stated that much of our worrying is irrational (implying he knows the rational amount and things to worry about)

    2. His begginning proof was establishing how tough people had in history mostly referring to dying early in your 30's or so and dying in child birth or infant mortality rates. It was my impression that he now had established his criteria as to what we should worry about in comparison to people in the past: death at an early age.

    3. From this low baseline criteria of what to worry about he went on to belittle irrational people for worrying about things like their housing, job situation, inflation...really anything that was not in-line with what he worried about. To any question about worry he roughly could say: "well, you are not dead"

    4. How does he know what we should worry about...well this really set me off. He admitted that worry is an objective almost "truth". Not only that but it was not even a probabilistic argument but based on Daniel Khanaman research...which I mentioned was in a lab but he was quick to point out that but also they followed people around in the "real world" and counted things like smiles, etc.

    5. Worrying is objective? I cannot even begin to start with how uneasy this made me. It did not even seem to take into account one's personal life experiences (my dad grew up in the depression). I mean does he have an objective risk tolerance for everyone that I am not aware of...wow, same time preference? I guess we are all irrational if we have different consumption vs. savings ratios.

    6. He admitted he was judging interpersonal utility.

    7. He proceeded to smugly tell us what he worries about..implying we should also. We should worry about health care costs especially by 2080...what! That won't effect Tyler at all. So, we individual fools in the crowd that worried about our jobs are wrong but he is corect to worry about health care costs in 70 years for OTHERS because he will be dead?????? What else should we worry about? Global climate change. Why? Because it may be true and catastropic (duck, here comes a meteor). Again, this will not affect Tyler but he worries about it for all of us yet we are fools for worrying about things in our life.

    A tenured professor telling us all not worry about the things most people worry about; worry is objective and proven in a lab; individuals should not worry about silly things because it won't affect them but he can worry about things that won't affect him.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dr. Murray Tyson2:29 PM

    Right on, Pepe.

    Next to the Freakonomics characters, Cowen is the most over-rated economist on the web. But, he probably beats them in the "holier than thou" category.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous6:32 PM

    DMT: I don't have an inferiority complex. I am just trying to not be like radio talk show hosts who purposely never say "Rush Limbaugh."

    --Bob from a relative's computer on July 4th

    ReplyDelete
  5. Pepe,

    Ah I see. I think people worry too much as well, partly for "rational" reasons and partly because of my religious views. (I.e. don't worry God has a plan even if you don't get it.)

    So if TC had just said we are a bunch of worry warts--and then included people worrying about global warming and funding Social Security--that would have been cool.

    But you're right, that sounds ridiculous if he criticizes worrying about unemployment today, yet he himself worries about 6 degrees of warming over the next century. (BTW that's the book he keeps recommending; I'm not saying there will be 6 degrees of warming.)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yes Bob,

    I did not object to the hypothesis that people worry too much. I would have been happier if it had just been based on probability.

    And yes, I would be fine with worrying about social security/health care taxes. But, I intend to out-earn that worry...if I do not lose my job!

    ReplyDelete
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