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Rob Wiblin interviews Tyler on *Stubborn Attachments* (BONUS)

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Mercatus Center
Oct 16, 2018 · 121 min read
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If you’re asking a question for all of society and if you apply a discount rate of 5 percent, 7 percent, whatever it’s going to be, you can end up with the results that say, “Well, a nickel today is worth more than saving the existence of the entire world hundreds of years from now.”

That’s so counterintuitive. I think that, just as we do not discount the well-being of people who are distant from us in space per se, nor should we do so across time.

WIBLIN: You have this neat example of what if people were able to travel close to the speed of light and how this even sharpens the counterintuitiveness of using a discount rate. Do you want to describe that example?

People will pull out a drink and drink in front of their children. The same people would not dream of pulling out a submachine gun and playing with it on the table in front of their kids, but I think it’s more or less the same thing. To a lot of liberals, the drink is okay and the submachine gun is not. I think, if anything, it’s the other way around, and I encourage people to just completely, voluntarily abstain from alcohol and make it a social norm.

WIBLIN: If we’re able to design better and better addicting substances, drugs or, perhaps, computer games or whatever else, it’s kind of the case that the Mormons will inherit the earth, or whoever is most resistant to those temptations and still wants to have children, even despite the fact that they can just shoot up on heroin.

Conversations with Tyler

A podcast in which esteemed economist Tyler Cowen engages…

Mercatus Center

Written by

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University is the world’s premier university source for market-oriented ideas.

Conversations with Tyler

A podcast in which esteemed economist Tyler Cowen engages with today's most underrated thinkers in wide-ranging explorations of their work, the world, and everything in between.

Mercatus Center

Written by

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University is the world’s premier university source for market-oriented ideas.

Conversations with Tyler

A podcast in which esteemed economist Tyler Cowen engages with today's most underrated thinkers in wide-ranging explorations of their work, the world, and everything in between.

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