[lbo-talk] Thiel Teaches Micro to budding entrepreneurs

Eugene Coyle e.coyle at me.com
Fri Jun 30 11:43:53 PDT 2017

In the past there has been discussion about teaching Micro econ in a conventional economics department. If you have to do it, here’s a book that will be useful.

Peter Thiel (the wealthy investor and Trump supporter) has a book “Zero to One” would be very useful in a Micro class.

The book is easy and engaging reading, even for undergrads.

Thiel clarifies that there are no profits in a business selling a commodity product. (Distinct from commodity trading.) Thiel doesn’t mention that in the USA almost no one does sell commodities (outside of quite small and local businesses) without some kind of legal or illegal protection.

The Chapter titled “The Ideology of Competition” begins:

“Creative monopoly means new products that benefit everybody and sustainable profits for the creator.. Competition means no profits for anybody, no meaningful differentiation, and a struggle for survival. So why do people believe that competition is healthy?”

Thiel, a Libertarian, tells us how businesses operate or intend to operate, distinct from how a standard Micro book speaks.

It is not Thiel’s intent to undermine the ideology that keeps the populous believing that the market can run the world better than regulation and planning by government. But so he does.

I think this would be an excellent book to use alongside a conventional textbook — if you don’t believe Samuelson’s Micro. Students will get it.

By the way, Larry Summers and Brad Delong have said something like Thiel’s analysis, except less gracefully.


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