Our First Research Fellow!

Plus, biweekly commentary on Confucius, and more articles generally

Hi it is Alex here with a new year program update!

So, when I started doing this, it was meant to be something I just kind of did for fun and to stay in the conversation after I finished grad school. I wasn’t working at EA yet, and I certainly wasn’t going on TV or writing in the NYT. It’s been really unbelievable how much it’s taken off, and I’m extremely grateful to everyone who finds these things fun to read.

So there is good news and bad news. The good news is, this substack has gotten big enough for me to justify hiring our first Research Fellow. This is extremely cool and good–CVAR is a micro think tank now! The bad news is, I’ve become too busy helping the government Do Full Employment In Real Life to reliably crank out four thousand top-quality words contextualizing each chapter of the General Theory every month. That’s without even mentioning the free pieces making unrelated cultural arguments around stuff happening in the world.

So, with that, I am proud to announce the first CVAR Research Fellow: Chris Trombley. He has a PhD in the physical sciences from Europe, and still knows more about the history of economic thought and the history of philosophy than I do. We won’t even go into his encyclopedic knowledge of American animation or the fact that he knows who played what on every jazz record ever released. Lord knows, at least half the interesting things I have to say I either learned from or workshopped with him.

With him on board, we’ll be able to put out more content, and a broader range of content. For the rest of the year, my flagship Keynes treatments will only come out every other month: February, April, June, August, October and December. In the months that I am not publishing a Keynes piece, paid subscribers will still get a full-length piece from Trombley and I, usually on some finer points of economic or philosophical methodology written in the same fun style. For months when there is a Keynes piece coming out, Trombley by himself will put out a shorter-form free piece. We are planning on these being book reviews and pocket arguments, but if readership has more ideas, we would love to hear them.

The coolest part, I think, is that CVAR is officially entering its “Two Masters” period: every week, Trombley will have a short, free post on a particular line from the Lun Yu (or, as publishers usually say in english, The Analects of Confucius), contextualizing and expanding it for a modern audience. It’s fun, because everyone knows that people call Confucius “The Master” just the same as Keynes. I’m not sure which day of the week these will come out on, it may not even be the same day each week. It’ll always be the day it’s needed though.

So, this is just a little note to say thank you for subscribing for so long, it means the world to me, and I just know you all will love what Trombley has to say. It’s no exaggeration to say that without years talking to him, I would never have started writing publicly at all. If everything goes accordion to plan, we should be able to turn this into something really special, and I’m excited to share it with everybody.

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