Movin' on up?
By Amy Willis
What’s the key to maintaining civilization and promoting human well-being? Tyler Cowen thinks he knows the answer, and that we’ve had it all along. Host Russ Roberts welcomes Cowen back for his tenth appearance to discuss his recently released “Stubborn Attachments” on Medium.
1. Do people today have less willingness to sacrifice for future generations than their predecessors? That is, are we more complacent? If yes, why do you believe that be to the case? If not, what evidence can you cite that suggests this to be untrue?
2. Cowen argues that, “We already have all the answers.” Economic growth, he says, is the key to civilizational maintenance and human flourishing, but more attention needs to be directed this way. What does he suggest as the “low-hanging fruit” for spurring increased economic growth? To what extent do you agree with his suggestions? Would you add any others?
3. Do you agree that it has become more difficult to relocate in the United States today? If so, why? If not, what makes Cowen and Roberts wrong? How might declining domestic mobility affect both economic growth and human well-being?
4. Cowen brands himself as two-thirds utilitarian. What does this mean to Cowen? Is Cowen more or less utilitarian than Scott Sumner? How much of a utilitarian are you, and why?
5. Is the value of freedom really losing its appeal, as both Roberts and Cowen suggest at the end of the conversation? Is it dwindling or is it dying? What might bring about the sort of “radical reawakening” that Cowen envisions?