Why Does Tyler Cowen Deliberately Write Very Badly on His Blog?

We know Cowen can write well. As this fellow put it:
Before heading into the book’s substance, I want to note that Cowen has truly mastered the art of writing a book for the “intelligent layperson.” When I sat down to start reading it, since it was "work reading," I told myself I’d read for an hour before turning to "pleasure reading." Four hours later I had not put the book down: his prose is that engaging.
But on his blog he seems to want to deliberately write "in your face" badly. In a quick perusal of the main page today, I found:

"Michael is a political scientist at UCLA, and this volume is one of the most important social books of the last fifteen years."

"Social book"? It goes out a lot? He means "social science" book or "social theory" book, but can't be bothered typing the extra word?

"A good example of a book I wish was longer than it was, it is shorter than its 199 pp. might indicate."

A comma?! Those are entirely separate sentences.

“China tobacco facts of the day”


"The (tight money) culture that is Dutch"

"Dutch (tight money) culture" is more readable and uses 40% fewer words.

"He shows the importance of 'common knowledge' in explaining social phenomena, namely we create rational rituals so that others can see we are acting in concert with them."

"Namely we"?

Is Cowen testing out a form of writing brutalism on his blog?


  1. I think the comma is fine. The part of the sentence before the comma is in apposition to "it". If you replaced the comma with a period, the first sentence would lack a main verb (wish is a verb within a relative clause).


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