Monday, August 10, 2009

Mr. Nicholls goes to Washington

I was in Washington DC last week for a few meetings and while there I stopped by the Cato Institute to attend a talk by Tyler Cowen, an economics professor and blogger.

Tyler was talking about his recently released book, Create Your Own Economy: The Path to Prosperity in a Disordered Word.

Ironically, the book isn’t about economics, it’s about information and about how the Internet is changing the way we categorize information.

Cowen thinks this is all for the good.

He also hopes the spread of information will defuse what he calls the “Us vs Them” and the “demonize your opponent” mentalities which dominate political discussion.

Cowen, who considers himself a “small l libertarian”, says if we could get away from “conclusion-based” thinking and focus on building bridges to those who share “similar thinking patterns” political discussion would be a lot more civilized.

He also says he is less worried about influencing public opinion and more worried about the prospect that he might be wrong.

It was all interesting stuff, very philosophic, very wonky.

But for a guy who has a background in advocacy, it’s hard for me to get away from “conclusion-based” thinking.

Plus, I am not even sure politics would exist without an “Us vs. Them” mentality.

Anyway, like I said it was an interesting talk.
Thanks to the magic of the Internet you can watch Cowen's talk.


Mark Wickens said...

Next time you're in DC, you should stop by the Ayn Rand Center.

Gerry Nicholls said...

Mark, I definitely will.