18 Feb 2013

Sweet Cuddly Steve Landsburg

Steve Landsburg 5 Comments

This is the mushiest interview with Steve Landsburg you will ever see. A great part:

I like to say that when you’re stuck in traffic on a hot
summer night, it’s very easy to remember that the guy in
front of you is imposing the costs, and, unfortunately, you
also easily forget that the guy who invented air conditioning
has conferred on you quite a benefit. You remember that if
the guy in front of you had never been born, your life would
be a little easier right now — but it’s also easy to forget that
if one less person had been born it might very well have been
the guy who would’ve invented air conditioning, not the guy
who’s in front of you. So, the real way in which people get
this wrong, I think, is that the mind immediately goes to the
fact that there is such a thing as too large a population. And
there is such a thing as a population so large that the earth
cannot support it — we all know that. But that does not
address the question of whether the current population is
too large or too small. And somehow people often confuse
one of those questions with the other. I’m not sure why, but
I’m out to unconfuse them.

Steve’s claim to fame is his classic The Armchair Economist but libertarians might enjoy his Fair Play more. In this post I give some cool quotes from that later book.

5 Responses to “Sweet Cuddly Steve Landsburg”

  1. Rohit says:

    What is funny is the one child policy of the central planners of China, and the pro-procreation policies of Putin
    You think maybe these two countries could come up with a more efficient policy that involved cooperation?

  2. Egoist says:

    The Ego creates and the Ego destroys.

    Creation of air conditioning versus destruction of the driver in front of you…

    Creative thoughts entail air conditioning, destructive thoughts entail the driver in front.

    “Over-population” is a fear of destroyer egos.

  3. Greg Ransom says:

    Landsburg is building from a self-evident FALLACY — those likely to invent the refrigerator are not randomly distributed in the population.

    Logical deductions from falsehoods are not valid deductions.

    • Ken B says:

      Huh? His point, if you read the interview, is that large populations have various beneficail effects. *One* is the higher number of creative sparks. And since ideas can spread rapidly the benefits from creativity and invention can increase with population at a great speed. I suspedct, buit don’t know for sure, that Steve would argue that the growth in ideas is faster than linear in the growth of population in fact. (I think I would argue that if SL won’t.)

      Where’s the fallacy?

  4. Ken B says:

    The really weird thing about the interview Bob, is that Steve didn’t argue that more people means more sex.

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