Cosmopolitanism and Culture
Tyler Cowen has emerged as one of the most profoundly important cultural commentators and interpreters of our day. His books on culture ‘ In Praise of Commercial Culture, What Price Fame?, and Creative Destruction: How Globalization is Changing the World’s Cultures ‘ are entertaining, scholarly, and deeply insightful. I’ve just finished the last, which I recommend very highly. Cowen brings (at least) three valuable assets to the study of culture: 1) he’s a sharp economist with a keen analytical mind, capable of making important distinctions and employing logic to generate knowledge; 2) he consumes and savours cultural products like no one else I have ever known, from Mexican amate painting to western classical music to Persian carpet weaving; and 3) he is an authentically learned humane scholar, who draws insights from history, sociology, economics, cultural studies, philosophy, art history, and many other disciplines, not in the fashion of so many professors with their legions of graduate students to generate footnotes for them, but in a way that shows he has read, pondered, and assimilated the best of those disciplines into his own consciousness.
I’ll be writing elsewhere a review of Creative Destruction, but take my word for it: it’s a pleasure to read, a stimulating companion for a short airline or train trip, and a mine of insights into the future of humanity. But don’t wait for my review. You can buy it at LaissezFaireBooks.com or Amazon.com today.