About me

My name is Sam Bowman. I am Director of Competition Policy at the International Center for Law and Economics. I am also a Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute, where I used to be Executive Director, a Board member of Volteface, a drug policy think tank, an advisor at Fingleton, a strategic competition and regulatory consultancy, and an advisor at The Entrepreneurs Network. I tweet a lot at @s8mb. Most of my old blogposts written for the ASI or on my own are here.

My most popular piece ever was I’m a neoliberal, maybe you are too, where I described a distinct political group I think of as ‘neoliberals’. I co-authored a pamphlet called Reviving economic thinking on the right with Stian Westlake in 2019.

I am a moral utilitarian – someone who thinks satisfying the preferences of sentient beings is what is good – and a cultural poptimist – a fan of “low culture” like pop music and fast food. Here is a giant Spotify playlist of music I have enjoyed over the past few years.

I have written popular lists of products I recommend people buy and use.

This newsletter is called Consumer Surplus: that’s the term in economics that describes the difference between what you pay for something and what it’s actually worth to you. Life should be filled with things that are cheap or free but fill your life with happiness. Sometimes you get that by telling people about an amazing microwave rice cooker you found on Amazon, sometimes by making it easier to build loads more homes in cities. With Consumer Surplus I hope to help a tiny bit with both.

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