Friday, November 19, 2010

Tyler Cowen: The Groping is Worse on a Cruise Ship

Cowen thumbs:
TSA critics should compare the status quo to the rights (or lack thereof) you have on private cruise ships.
Although, I suspect this cruise ship comparison is a huge stretch, let's give Cowen the point. What Cowen should then consider and understand is that the key to his comment about ships is the word "private". Each cruise ship can set its own security measures. It's not about abstract "rights". It's about markets setting the level of security between consenting parties to a transaction.

TSA groping checks are imposed on all passengers regardless of what individual airlines would employ as checks. It appears that at least Southwest considers the current groping way out of line.

What Cowen doesn't get is that the real objection to the TSA is that it is a government body interfering between two parties entering into a contract, the passenger and the airline.

Many economists really need to get a better grasp of the importance of private transactions as a key to freedom, rather than simply starting at the point where government intervention is a given. Do they not comprehend that there are non-coercive market solutions to these problems? Rather than becoming propaganda agents for the government, they should really start taking a deeper look about freedom solutions.


  1. Sounds to me more like Tyler is proposing a discussion question (as is his professorial wont) than making any egregious argument. I also think that interpretation is supported by this blogpost.

  2. unless they privatize this whole TSA/.gov thing, we wont be exploring free-market AND efficient solutions, like for eg. the israeli one.

    Its damn hard to drive efficiency in any .gov managed thing.

  3. Well, that's all great and groovy, except for the fact that the blogpost was made three hours after the tweet.

    How long should we wait in general before commenting on a typical nebulous Cowen writing, especially given that his earlier post (pre-tweet) indicates he is pro-TSA groping?

    Futher, I find Cowen's introduction via the blog post, of law having to do with a passenger and a cruise ship, completely mis-directing the debate which remains about government usurping completely the ability for a passenger and airline to design their own transaction (security included)

  4. We need Tyler Cowen so that Yglesias can point to someone who is a "thoughtful, mainstream" libertarian.

    As opposed to us unthoughtful fringe types.

  5. Shorter Tyler Cowen:

    Find the lowest bar. Lower it further.

  6. Or:

    Take something offensive, intrusive and unwanted that a fellow citizen might do to you. Give that power to the government.

  7. That should get Tyler an upgrade at Treasury. I look forward to Tim presenting Tyler with his official economist medal.