Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tyler Cowen Promotes A Scary Narrative About War And Economic Growth

By John Tamny

“Economics is haunted by more fallacies than any other study known to man.” – Henry Hazlitt,Economics In One Lesson, p. 15
The great Henry Hazlitt’s wise words came to mind while reading a recent New York Times post by George Mason economist Tyler Cowen. Fresh off of his unfortunate assertion (one that Hazlitt would have had a field day with) from a few years ago that economic growth has become difficult to achieve, Cowen strangely observed that “The world just hasn’t had that much warfare lately, at least not by historical standards,” and “Counterintuitive though it may sound, the greater peacefulness of the world may make the attainment of higher rates of economic growth less urgent and thus less likely.”
They’re ultimately only words, but Cowen’s about war theoretically boosting animal spirits are pretty disturbing ones, and that’s truly saying something when we consider past mutterings from the economics professor about a supposed lack of “low-hanging fruit” rendering future growth a distant object. The only happy thing to take from Cowen’s promotion of war as a possible stimulant is that college students generally tune out their professors if...

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