Throughout history, economic growth has alleviated human misery, improved human happiness and opportunity, expanded political rights, and lengthened human lives. If we want to prolong growth trends and the overwhelmingly positive outcomes for societies that come with them, every individual must become more concerned with the welfare of those around us. So how do we enable such altruism? In Stubborn Attachments—a culmination of 20 years of philosophical and economic thinking and research—Tyler Cowen argues that reason and common sense can help free us of the faulty ideas that hold us back as people and as a society, allowing us to set our sights on the long-term struggles that maximize sustainable economic growth while respecting human rights. At its heart, Stubborn Attachments makes the contemporary moral case for economic growth and delivers a dose of inspiration and optimism about the future.
Tyler Cowen is a professor of economics at George Mason University and director of the Mercatus Center. He was named in an Economist poll as one of the most influential economists of the past decade. He is the author of several books, including the New York Times bestseller The Great Stagnation, and is an opinion columnist at Bloomberg. He also cowrites the blog Marginal Revolution and hosts the podcast Conversations with Tyler.
Most of Tyler’s books will change how you see the world in a myriad of small ways. Stubborn Attachments might well change the way you see the world in one very big way. Whether you agree or disagree with Tyler’s argument, I think you’ll find that following the logic in Stubborn Attachments is as fun as it is intellectually provocative.
cohost of the NPR podcast The Indicator from Planet Money
Tyler Cowen is a national treasure, and Stubborn Attachments is brimming with deep insights–about the immense importance of economic growth, moral obligations, rights, and how to think about the future. It’s a book for right now, and a book for all times. A magnificent achievement.
Cass R. Sunstein
Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard and bestselling author of Nudge
Tyler Cowen is one of the most intriguing and eclectic thinkers on the planet—like many people, I read something by him every day. In Stubborn Attachments, he combines economics and philosophy in a truly important achievement. His best, most ambitious, and most personal work.
author of The Undercover Economist
The thing about economic growth, Cowen tells us, is that it has the potential to advance just about everything that people value. . . .There is considerable evidence supporting the commonsense view that citizens of rich countries are happier than citizens of poor countries, and that, within rich countries, wealthier individuals are happier than poorer ones.
Stubborn Attachments is a philosophy book. . . .[Tyler] doesn’t try to set out an absolute, formalistic, fully internally consistent system of ethical principles—instead, he embraces an eclectic, often conflicting set of principles. This is refreshing, since rigid systems always prove fragile to intuitive counterexamples.
Stubborn Attachments presents a compelling case for redefining our long-term priorities in favor of more sustained economic growth and a greater respect for human rights.