Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tyler Cowen Comments on the Intrade Shutdown

Americans have been shut out of trading on InTrade, thanks to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Tyler Cowen puts out a distinctly non-libertarian tweet on the event.
What exactly from a libertarian perspective could possibly be a justified banned activity? What is Cowen thinking? What's even more curious is Cowen's mention of "systemic risk." It's hard to see how systemic risk would occur without moral hazard created by the FDIC and government bailouts of the banksters. Eliminate the moral hazard creating activities of government and people would pay a lot more attention to their money and eliminate systemic risk. Doesn't Cowen get this?

Cowen isn't only non-Austrian, it's hard to view him as even libertarian, when he puts out a tweet like this.


  1. Mr. Cowen is just a "thoughtful, reasonable and mainstream libertarian".

    His anti-Austrianism and anti-free market poses prove it.

  2. Calling Cowen a libertarian is like calling Romney or Bush libertarian. It's laughable- he's a state worshiping, power loving leech.

  3. Cowen is a regime libertarian, not a real one.

  4. Robert, surely you know, we have these fake libertarians in place to muddy the waters. Mwaaahahaha...

  5. Intrade is not a big operation at all. The allusion to "system risk" is stupid.

  6. Cowen's identity isn't the issue. His identity is his own to decide and advertise - and for liberty to mean anything at all his identity must remain his own to define.

    I think Wenzel acted properly- though perhaps not popularly - in citing those of Cowen's ideas that are CLEARLY NOT LIBERTARIAN.

    Libertarian regulation? What would that be short of a compact that binds only its parties?

    Regulator? Who would that be?

    Banned? Who may ban what for another human being without the presumption of privilege that is alien to libertarian thought?

    And if it is banned by compact, then why is there discussion of penalty beyond the compact? Can't anyone withdraw from a compact simply by surrendering the fruits of the compact along with the burdens?

    While some love to see other's stripped naked and convicted of libertarian heresy, this practice is repulsive to budding libertarians.

    Who can conceive of liberty, and get it mostly right, from the first?

    Isn't it more a process of evolution, where a person accepts first the principles of liberty and then revises other ideas over time to conform to those principles?

    Seeing other (apparently) well-established libertarians publicly savaged for thought-crimes cannot help encourage the evolution of libertarian initiates. I cannot help along the process from the first acceptance of principles to the realization of how those principles demand modification of other ideas the initiate might hold.

    Bob is right to criticize the ideas and not to directly challenge Cowen's self-identification.

    Cowen is not the only professed libertarian who has liberty-incompatible ideas. All libertarians have liberty-incompatible ideas - as yet internally unchallenged.

    Take for instance the concepts of heresy, and ideological courts (public or otherwise)...

    1. Excellent analysis. Rothbard would be proud.

      If this was Cowen's first (or most egregious) mistake I would agree, but he has a habit of this kind of intellectual (and I use the word ironically) bullshit reasoning. He his a Beltarian with libertarian leanings, and needs to be called out when he is so obviously wrong.

    2. I agree that it is also bad policy to let a poor libertarian also be a prominent libertarian and unchallenged.

      However, it is Cowen's ideas that are the issue, and not his professed identity as a libertarian.

      After all, would his ideas be more or less odious if he called himself a 'Progressive' or a 'Democrat' or a 'Republican'?

      So... well done all around, in my humble opinion.