Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Memo to Self- Do you belong to the tribe of Infovore Warriors

David Warsh profiles Tyler Cowen-

Consider Cowen’s output last week on the blog – 34 items. Among them: entries n the the speech patterns of service employees (flight attendants, doctors, hookers, economics professors); the significance of layoffs in the futures market for greenhouse gases; the economic fallout from a recent earthquake in New Zealand; the nature of firms; the joys of cineplex-hopping; the magnitude of US war finance during World War II; the cost of high-speed rail; the role of securitization in the recent financial crisis; the efficacy of betting on one’s own ability to lose weight; the reason the Australian dollar is the fifth most-traded currency in the world; an arbitrage opportunity in the administration’s plans to stimulate business investment; the architecture he saw on his trip to Buffalo; a review of a new book about Adam Smith (plus a review of some other reviews); a notice of Economist correspondent Greg Ip’s The Little Book of Economics: How the Economy Works in the Real World; a lengthy rejoinder to fellow libertarian Bryan Caplan on education in poor countries around the world; news of Austan Goolsbee’s nomination as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers; capsule reviews of the five books he is reading this week (everything from W.G. Sebald on The Natural History of Destruction and Michal Whinston’s Lectures on Antitrust to Suzanne’s Collins’ The Hunger Games, first of a trilogy for young adults); the possible benefits of not recognizing faces (a condition known as prosopagnosia, described in an article by Oliver Sacks; a plan to sell daily permits to drive 90 miles per hour on Nevada highways; the reason that a rise in imports lowers GDP; a new paper in defense of high frequency trading; and, at intervals between the entries, a couple dozen links to other interesting items that he has read....

Infovore tells the story of how Cowen came to believe that the pattern of compulsive processing of information about the economics of culture that he displays could be described as autism or its milder form, Asperger’s Syndrome. A reader had gently inquired if the habitual organizing and categorizing he displayed could be signs of the cognitive disorder. He thought not – at first. An “[U]pper class white male who all his life felt like he belonged to the dominant group in American society was suddenly faced with the suggestion that he could be part of a minority, and a very beleaguered minority at that.”

Maybe the author of this blog also belong in this category.

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