Tyler Cowen continues his German sympathy tour with this little number:

You meet an employed professional with a $300,000 house, $100,000 in the bank, a nice car, a few (illiquid) Renaissance paintings, and very nice shoes. His name is Fabio.

He is $60,000 in debt, which is about equal to his yearly income. An unanticipated ARM reset requires him to pay off that debt at a faster pace than expected, which means he must restrict his consumption.

He threatens to mistreat his longstanding girlfriend Angela, unless she works harder to maintain his previous level of consumption. Angela refuses to help much, citing a false economic theory in defense of her position.

Fabio’s brother relentlessly attacks Angela’s false theory. His cousin in Naples claims that Angela is obliged to help because she has benefited from being in the relationship.

Forget, for just a minute, whether this "feels" wrong or right, or accurately analogizes the current situation in Europe. Tyler Cowen is not the German "mensch on the street!" He is the Holbert C. Harris Chair of Economics at George Mason University! He is General Director of the Mercatus Center! He has a Ph.D. from Harvard! He has written informative, challenging, and well-received books! He is a popular blogger about economics and ethnic food, and writes a column for the New York Times!

All this is to say that Tyler Cowen is an expert – the kind of person you turn to when you’re not sure if your gut instincts or folk wisdom or "common sense" are sufficient to devise a solution to a complex or esoteric problem. The kind of person who doesn’t merely relate or rephrase those kinds of objections but corrects or rebuts them when they are not guiding one towards a solution! I could get Tom Friedman or David Brooks to tell me why the Germans feel a certain way. I want to turn towards Tyler Cowen to tell me what should be done.

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