Did the Financial Crisis Make Things Better?

Tyler Cowen wonders if we're actually better off

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Tyler Cowen wondered if we're actually now better off due to the financial crisis. He noted that the price of corn, for example, has dropped 56% since July, 2008. He asked, "What's the chance the financial crisis was welfare-improving?"

We are trained to think probabilistically. What is the chance that the gains from lower commodity prices -- most of all for poor people who buy food -- outweigh the losses from the collapse of world trade and lower overall growth? Just wondering.

Cowen doesn't necessarily think it's so. "I don't in fact think that the financial crisis has improved global welfare," he wrote. Cowen point to similar questions posed by David Leonhardt and Andrew Sullivan.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.