Cowen and Simon
By Bryan Caplan
I’ve rarely gained any leverage with Tyler by pointing out his inconsistencies. But I can’t resist. Take a look at his first book, In Praise of Commercial Culture. Despite his recent post, this book happily used Julian Simon’s refutation of resource pessimism as a club against cultural pessimists. The relevant passages are on page 207 of the text, and fn 34 on page 265; just use Amazon’s Search Inside feature to see for yourself.
Now of course Tyler could reply with a Keynesian, “When the facts changed, I changed my mind; what do you do?” What this ignores, though, is that large commodity price spikes have happened many times before. When the facts change for 20 years straight, it might be time to change our minds. Until then, it should be Simonian business as usual.