Marginal Revolution’s 20th Anniversery

The latest Conversations with Tyler podcast features Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok reflecting on the 20th anniversary of writing Marginal Revolution. Longtime readers Jeff Holmes, Vitalik Buterin, and I ask questions and offer our own reflections. Audio and transcript here. Video embedded below.

Some history: In the summer of 2006, I saw Tyler post on Marginal Revolution that he was giving a talk in Zurich the following day. I was 18 years old at the time, backpacking around Europe and Asia, oftentimes staying on the spare couches and beds of readers of this blog (!). I happened to be in Zurich that week so I dropped him a line and he invited me to attend the talk. We chatted afterwards (as I reported in this post) and we took the below photo, now 17 years ago:


We’ve followed each other online ever since and hung out in a wide number of exotic locales, from Seoul to Vienna, among others!

MR has exerted a formative influence on what I think and how I think. The golden years of the economics blogosphere — MR as well as Arnold Kling and Bryan Caplan and the Becker Posner Blog and Greg Mankiw and Russ Roberts’ podcast Econtalk, among others — taught me how to understand the world through the lens of economics. They’ve taught me how to cultivate curiosity about almost anything, and how to bring to bear a healthy skepticism when appropriate without giving into name calling or tribalism or, as one says, mood affiliation. They’ve also made me see the world with more wonder and hopefulness — especially as it relates to the power and mystery of market forces.

Tyler, also, has inspired me to indulge in my novelty-seeking intuitions with respect to food and travel. Alex, also, has made me think about innovation and globalization in new ways (his book Launching the Innovation Renaissance was full of excellent ideas).

I am grateful to them both for all they’ve done and it was a tremendous honor to be able to participate in their 20th anniversary recording! And to do so alongside Jeff Holmes, who’s capably produced every CwT episode, and Vitalik, one of the great inventors of our age.

India miscellanea

By the way, we recorded this podcast in-person in Chennai, India in connection with the Emergent Ventures India gathering hosted by the folks at Mercatus Center. It was great to be back in India for my third visit to the country but my first to Bangalore and Chennai. The regional cuisine was superb, as expected. I was surprised at how much richer the south of the country seems. As one anecdote, I saw almost no beggars on the main streets of Bangalore; quite different from my last visits to Mumbai and Delhi.

Despite the development, India is still a poor country. 300 million people do not have cell phones of any sort (flip phones or smartphones). Generally, the VCs I spoke to on the ground think there’s too much money flowing into consumer oriented startups in India in part due to investors’ failure to recognize the real size of the consumer market — the market of people who can actually pay for stuff.

Nonetheless, we at Village Global have invested in several talented teams in Bangalore and Delhi and elsewhere and we’re excited to continue to support the ecosystem. Opportunity abounds.

1 comment on “Marginal Revolution’s 20th Anniversery
  • You and the rest of the panel asked great questions! I found MR in like 2015 but definitely wish I had found it a decade earlier, it would have explained a lot.

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