Tyler Cowen: Be suspicious of simple stories
Tyler Cowen - Economist
In his work, economist Tyler Cowen looks at clues from pop culture, art, food, to gather data and make observations on the world's globalizing culture and commerce. Full bio
and tell you all stories,
tell you why I'm suspicious of stories,
a story makes me feel,
are often the trickiest ones.
is that they are a kind of filter.
and they leave some of it out,
that it always leaves the same things in.
with the same few simple stories.
that just about every story
as "a stranger came to town."
just seven types of stories.
comedy, tragedy, rebirth.
with that list exactly,
if you think in terms of stories,
over and over again.
we asked some people--
is how few people said "mess".
I don't mean that in a bad way.
"mess" can be empowering,
of drawing upon multiple strengths.
"My life is a journey."
his or her life into a story.
Again, that is a kind of story.
5% said, "My life is a play."
"My life is a reality TV show."
on the mess we observe,
is in the form of a story,
and the cherry tree?
exactly what happened.
that that is exactly the way it happened.
suspicious of stories.
to respond to them.
They have social power.
when we read novels.
we're really being fed stories.
the new fiction.
the same form of these stories.
of relying too heavily on stories?
that it is or it ought to be.
I think of a few major problems
in terms of narrative.
is to strip it away,
you can present in a sentence or two.
in terms of good versus evil,
or a story about politics.
good versus evil, we all know this, right?
the good versus evil story.
you're telling a good versus evil story,
by ten points or more.
as a kind of inner mental habit,
a lot smarter pretty quickly.
the good versus evil story,
by ten points or more.
or Michael Moore's movies,
"It was all a big accident."
people plotting together,
a story is about intention.
or complex human institutions
but not of human design.
plotting things together,
be especially suspicious?"
"Wow, that would make a great movie!"
should pop in a bit more,
is maybe a bit of a mess.
the claim that we "have to get tough".
We had to get tough with the labor unions.
with some other country,
someone we're negotiating with.
against getting tough.
was a good thing.
upon all too readily, all too quickly.
why something happened,
"We need to get tough with them!"
to your predecessor,
as a kind of mental laziness.
"We need to get tough,
we will have to get tough."
into your mind at once,
or even over the course of a lifetime.
too many purposes.
out of bed in the morning,
what you're doing is really important
that story even when it's not.
when I need to change that story.
that I grab onto it and I hold it,
that is actually just a waste of time,
that got me out of bed,
very complex story map in my mind,
and a matrix of computation, and the like,
have to be simple,
to others, easily remembered.
and conflicting purposes,
within the camp of economists,
and I was allied with other good guys,
the ideas of the bad guys.
"Hey, I wasn't one of the good guys."
in the sense of having evil intent,
to get away with that story.
about cognitive biases
of so many books these days.
the Sway book, the Blink book,
is that none of these books identify
most important way we screw up,
ourselves too many stories,
are all about stories.
you're learning about some of your biases,
of your other biases essentially worse.
are part of your cognitive bias.
as a kind of talisman, like:
for it or defend against it.
such a market for pessimism.
gets you somewhere,
that the most dangerous people
some financial literacy.
and make the worst mistakes.
they don't know anything at all,
manipulate us using stories,
only works on the other guy,
advertising works on all of us.
selling products come along,
their product with a story.
and the story go together.
of stories about cars.
partners and a fascinating life."
to promote that story.
as nice as your income would indicate.
at what your peers do and copy them.
for lots of problems,
just buy a Toyota."
more money off the luxury cars,
you end up hearing,
the seductive stories,
don't trust them.
your love of stories to manipulate you.
that no one has an incentive to tell?"
if any of your decisions change.
of thinking in terms of stories,
to which you think in stories,
I'm wondering, of course,
from Tyler Cowen?
like the story of the quest.
not to think so much in terms of stories."
you could tell about this talk.
You could tell it to other people.
Let me tell you what happened today!'"
you might tell a story of rebirth.
too much in terms of stories
and again, it may stick.
a story of deep tragedy.
in terms of stories,
too much in terms of stories."
Is it like quest, rebirth, tragedy?
and I'm not here to tell you
and throw out your Tolstoy.
is fundamentally human.
memoir "Living to Tell the Tale"
to make sense of what we've done,
connections with other people.
should go away, or can go away.
I'm thinking about life on the margin,
or less in terms of stories?
should we be more suspicious?
should we be suspicious of?
very often, that you like the most,
the most inspiring.
on opportunity cost,
consequences of human action,
does not make for a good story.
of triumph, a story of struggle;
which are either evil or ignorant;
someone making a voyage,
but don't let them make you too happy.
- again, no burning of Tolstoy -
and quests, and battles,
can't I just have my life
- I hesitate to use the word - glory
some kind of narrative?
that make you feel good.
a few areas to be agnostic in,
about religion, or politics."
to be more dogmatic elsewhere, right?
are the ones who pick one area,
so pig-headedly unreasonable,
"How can they possibly believe that?"
they can be pretty open-minded.
because you're agnostic on some things,
and your open-mindedness.
of epistemological hovering,
ties up into a neat bow,
messy reason or reasons,
and maybe I don't know what it is,
and thank you all for listening.
About the speaker:Tyler Cowen - Economist
In his work, economist Tyler Cowen looks at clues from pop culture, art, food, to gather data and make observations on the world's globalizing culture and commerce.
Why you should listen
Tyler Cowen is a professor of economics at George Mason University, and partners with Alex Tabarrok to write the economics blog Marginal Revolution, where he hunts for clues to whatever is coming next, in the space where economics and culture entwine. His outlook is fairly libertarian, but it's not ivory-tower -- in fact, he's been accused of "cute-o-nomics" for daring to use economic models to explain real-world problems instead of theoretical abstractions.
His latest book is a short ebook called The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better. In it, he suggests that while the days of easy growth are probably over for the US, it's probably not in a death spiral just yet.
Cowen is also a passionate foodie (check out his blog Tyler Cowen's Ethnic Dining Guide); in fact, his next book is An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies.
Tyler Cowen | Speaker | TED.com