EconTalk
EconTalk
Nov 16, 2020
Virginia Postrel on Textiles and the Fabric of Civilization
Play • 1 hr 7 min

Author and journalist Virginia Postrel talks about her book The Fabric of Civilization and How Textiles Made the World with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Postrel tells the fascinating story behind the clothes we wear and everything that goes into producing them throughout history. The history of textiles, Postrel argues, is a good way of understanding the history of the world.

Conversations with Tyler
Conversations with Tyler
Mercatus Center at George Mason University
Noubar Afeyan on the Permission to Leap
“The world of innovation is very much one of toggling between survival and then thriving,” says Noubar Afeyan. Co-founder of Moderna and CEO of Flagship Pioneering, the biomedical innovator, philanthropist, and entrepreneur credits his successes to his “paranoid optimism” shaped by his experiences as an Armenian-American. Exceptional achievements like the rapid development of the COVID-19 vaccine, he believes, aren’t usually unpredictable but rather the result of systematic processes that include embracing unreasonable propositions and even unreasonable people. He joined Tyler to discuss which aspect of entrepreneurship is hardest to teach, his predictions on the future of gene editing and CRISPR technology, why the pharmaceutical field can’t be winner takes all, why “basic research” is a poor term, the secret to Boston’s culture of innovation, the potential of plant biotech, why Montreal is (still) a special place to him, how his classical pianist mother influenced his musical tastes, his discussion-based approach to ethical dilemmas, how thinking future-backward shapes his approach to business and philanthropy, the blessing and curse of Lebanese optimism, the importance of creating a culture where people can say things that are wrong, what we can all learn by being an American by choice, and more. Follow us on Twitter and IG: @cowenconvos Email: cowenconvos@mercatus.gmu.edu Follow Noubar on Twitter Follow Tyler on Twitter Facebook Newsletter
56 min
Hidden Forces
Hidden Forces
Demetri Kofinas
Restoring Trust in an Age of Political Polarization | Kevin Vallier
In Episode 175 of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Kevin Vallier, an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Bowling Green State University, whose interests lie primarily in political philosophy, ethics, philosophy of religion, and economics. In his latest book, “Trust in a Polarized Age,” Kevin draws on empirical data and liberal political philosophy to demonstrate that rising levels of political polarization can be largely attributed to a multi-decade decline in trust. If we want to reduce political polarization, argues Kevin, “we have to start by rebuilding social and political trust.” While this may seem like a tall order during a time in which Americans are less trusting than at any point since at least the 1960’s when measurements began, the situation is not hopeless. In this conversation we discuss the causes and consequences of declining social and political trust, the two-way relationship between trust and polarization, and what sorts of practical steps can be taken at both an individual and societal level to begin to restore faith in each other and in our political and legal institutions. In the overtime, Kevin and Demetri touch on a number of timely topics, including concerns about domestic terrorism and the parallels that can be drawn between the early 1990’s and today. One of the more interesting parts of the discussion deals with the “mainstreaming” so to speak, of conspiracy theory. Unlike in the early 1990’s where domestic terror groups and individuals were motivated primarily by extreme ideological beliefs, those being monitored today, some of which were involved in the attack on the US Capitol building, combine political violence with mainstream views that are shared by a significant percentage of the American people. You can access the second part of this conversation, as well as the transcript and rundown to this week’s episode through the Hidden Forces Patreon Page. All subscribers gain access to our overtime feed, which can be easily added to your favorite podcast application. If you enjoyed listening to today’s episode of Hidden Forces you can help support the show by doing the following: Subscribe on Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | SoundCloud | YouTube | CastBox | RSS Feed Write us a review on Apple Podcasts Subscribe to our mailing list through the Hidden Forces Website Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou Subscribe & Support the Podcast at https://patreon.com/hiddenforces Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod Follow Demetri on Twitter at @Kofinas Episode Recorded on 01/12/2020
59 min
Macro Musings with David Beckworth
Macro Musings with David Beckworth
Mercatus Center
Caleb Watney on *Cracks in the Great Stagnation* and How to Boost Economic Growth
Caleb Watney is the director of innovation policy at the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) and he joins Macro Musings to talk about his recent piece, *Cracks in the Great Stagnation* and the reasons why we should all be techno-optimists. Specifically, David and Caleb discuss greater skilled immigration, further government R&D spending, innovative energy solutions, and more as ways to help repair an economy plagued by secular stagnation. Transcript for the episode can be found here: https://www.mercatus.org/bridge/tags/macro-musings Caleb’s Twitter: @calebwatney Caleb’s PPI profile: https://www.progressivepolicy.org/people/caleb-watney/ Related Links: *Cracks in the Great Stagnation* Caleb Watney https://www.agglomerations.tech/cracks-in-the-great-stagnation/ *The Egghead Gap* by Caleb Watney https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-egghead-gap *Are Ideas Getting Harder to Find?* by Nicholas Bloom, Charles Jones, John Van Reenen, and Michael Webb https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/aer.20180338 *Is the Rate of Scientific Progress Slowing Down?* by Tyler Cowen and Ben Southwood https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cEBsj18Y4NnVx5Qdu43cKEHMaVBODTTyfHBa8GIRSec/edit *The Productivity J-Curve: How Intangibles Complement General Purpose Technologies* by Erik Brynjolfsson, Daniel Rock, and Chad Syverson https://www.nber.org/system/files/working_papers/w25148/w25148.pdf David’s blog: macromarketmusings.blogspot.com David’s Twitter: @DavidBeckworth
56 min
a16z Podcast
a16z Podcast
Andreessen Horowitz
Developers as Creatives
The rise of developers -- as buyers, as influencers, as a _creative_ class -- is a direct result of "software eating the world", and of key shifts in IT from on-prem to cloud & SaaS to the API economy, where application programming interfaces are essentially building blocks for innovation. Developers therefore not only play an outsized role in high-performing tech companies -- but managing and motivating them is actually critical in ALL companies, since every company is a tech company (whether they know it or not). As every industry turns digital, and a company's interface to their customers IS software, "asking" one's developer is the key to solving business problems and to thriving not just surviving, argues Jeff Lawson, CEO and co-founder of cloud communications platform-as-a-service company Twilio, in his new book, _Ask Your Developer: How to Harness the Power of Software Developers and Win in the 21st Century._ So in this episode of the a16z Podcast in conversation with Sonal Chokshi and David Ulevitch (who previously argued "the developer's way" is the future of work), Lawson shares hard-earned lessons learned, mindsets, strategies, and tactics -- from "build vs. buy" to "build vs. die", to the art and science of small teams ("mitosis") -- for leaders and companies of all sizes. But what does it mean to truly treat developers as creatives within an organization? What does it mean to be "developer first"? And how does this affect customers, product, go-to-market? All this and more in this episode.
33 min
Sean Carroll's Mindscape: Science, Society, Philosophy, Culture, Arts, and Ideas
Sean Carroll's Mindscape: Science, Society, Philosophy, Culture, Arts, and Ideas
Sean Carroll | Wondery
130 | Frank Wilczek on the Present and Future of Fundamental Physics
What is the world made of? How does it behave? These questions, aimed at the most basic level of reality, are the subject of fundamental physics. What counts as fundamental is somewhat contestable, but it includes our best understanding of matter and energy, space and time, and dynamical laws, as well as complex emergent structures and the sweep of the cosmos. Few people are better positioned to talk about fundamental physics than Frank Wilczek, a Nobel Laureate who has made significant contributions to our understanding of the strong interactions, dark matter, black holes, and condensed matter, as well as proposing the existence of time crystals. We talk about what we currently know about fundamental physics, but also the directions in which it is heading, for better and for worse. Support Mindscape on Patreon. Frank Wilczek received his Ph.D. in physics from Princeton University. He is currently the Herman Feshbach professor of physics at the MIT; Founding Director of the T. D. Lee Institute and Chief Scientist at Wilczek Quantum Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University; Distinguished Professor at Arizona State University; and Professor at Stockholm University. Among his numerous awards are the MacArthur Fellowship, the Nobel Prize in Physics (2004, for asymptotic freedom), membership in the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the author of numerous books, most recently Fundamentals: Ten Keys to Reality. * Web site * MIT web page * Google Scholar publications * Nobel biography * Profile in Quanta magazine * Wikipedia * Twitter
1 hr 16 min
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