Speaker Tyler Cowen discusses new book on big business

Texas Tech's Free Market Institute hosted speaker Tyler Cowen, Holbert L. Harris chair of economics at George Mason University, to discuss his new book "Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero" on Feb. 20, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. in the Grand Auditorium at the Rawls College of Business.

The Texas Tech Rawls College of Business hosted speaker and renowned economist Tyler Cowen, who spoke about his new book, “Big Business: A Love Letter to an Un-American Hero.” 

The Free Market Institute at the Rawls college helped host the event, which took place at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday in the Grand Auditorium at the Rawls. 

The Free Market Institute, according to its website, works to advance knowledge of the free enterprise system and the environment it requires to function. The FMI also works to bring relevant research, teaching, graduates and speakers to educate students and faculty at Tech and help them address challenges of the modern economy.

Benjamin Powell, director of the Free Market Institute, said he took a class Cowen taught which consisted of learning economics and philosophy. 

Cowen is currently an economics professor at George Mason University and is also the director of the Mercatus Center, according Cowen's website. He graduated from George Mason University in 1983 with his Bachelors of Science in Economics and then proceeded to Harvard to get his Ph.D. in economics in 1987.

Cowen also has a blog called The Marginal Revolution, which has become notable and has had write-ups in the LA times, according to the website. He has written columns both in The New York Times and Slate. He also wrote several books including ”Modern Principles: Macroeconomics”, “Create Your Own Economy: The Path to Prosperity in a Disordered World”, “Discover Your Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Dentist” and more.

During the lecture, Cowen discussed how information technology has changed politics on a global scale.

“There is a diffusion of ideas around the world,” Cowen said, “and liberal ideas are losing.”

In the past, Cowen said people used to believe the world would become more liberal and free. While Cowen said he believed people were right about that, what they did not think about was the diffusion of autocracies, such as the Soviet Union.

Cowen also discussed how, contrary to popular belief, it is more likely to find fraud in the likes of a small business than a large business.

“Big business are somewhat more honest than individual people,” he said.

He gave an example of this by discussing how a chemistry professor at Harvard and several other professors were paid up to $50,000 a month to help pass along experimental studies from the Chinese government and failed to report it on their taxes.

“Information technology as a whole is morphing how everything works in our world, and if you want to think critically about business, I would say think about that trend," he said.

William Reed, a senior marketing major from Runaway Bay, said Cowen's discussion helped him think differently.

“I think the speaker helped open my mind and think outside of what I normally do," he said.

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