31: Industrial Policy, Innovation, and Decline with Ben Landau-Taylor

I got to talk to Ben Landau-Taylor about why only America seems to be able to innovate, why state capacity has declined in the US, and how to think about industrial policy in the modern world. Ben is a Senior Analyst at Bismark Analytics. You can find Ben at his blog here, and on twitter here.
A few show notes:
The Great Illusion by Norman Angell.
Ben’s blog.
Great founder theory.

30: Health, Mobility, and Training with Kelly Starrett

In this episode, we talk with Kelly Starrett about health, mobility, and training. Dr. Kelly Starrett is a coach, physical therapist, two-time New York Times &Wall Street Journal bestselling author, speaker, and co-founder of The Ready State.

Show Notes:

Ready to Run by Kelly Starrett

Becoming a Supple Leopard by Kelly Starrett.

27: Progress with Jason Crawford

In this episode, we talk with Jason Crawford about progress. What it is, what it isn’t, and how do we accelerate it? Jason is the author of The Roots of Progress, a website about the history of technology and industry, and the philosophy of progress.

Show notes:

Economic growth since the industrial revolution.

Peter Thiel on tech stagnation.

A few books we mentioned:

Steven Pinker’s book Enlightenment Now.

Deirdre McCloskey’s book Bourgeoise Equality.

Ross Douthat’s Decadent Society.

26: Trade, War, and China with Brendan Cooley

In this episode, we discuss trade, war and China with Brendan Cooley. Brendan is a Senior Data Scientist at Big League Advance. He recently finished his Ph.D. in Politics at Princeton. In this wide-ranging discussion, we cover the different schools of international relations theory, building ideal trade policy, and just how likely a great power shooting war is in the 21st century. You can check out more of Brendan’s work at http://brendancooley.com/.

Show notes:

  1. William Williams, Tragedy of American Diplomacy
  2. Albert Hirschman, National Power and the Structure of Foreign Trade: 
  3. Thomas Schelling, Strategy of Conflict
  4. A few good China shock papers:
    1. https://sites.google.com/site/lorenzocaliendo/research/cdp?authuser=0
    2. https://www.waugheconomics.com/uploads/2/2/5/6/22563786/waugh_consumption.pdf
    3. https://www.nber.org/papers/w21906
  5. Congressional voting on China, trade and foreign policy
  6. The Wisconsin School

25: Karl Popper with Jon Guze

Jon Guze is the Director of Legal Studies at John Locke. Jon is an expert on Karl Popper, the law, and governance. In this episode, we talk about Popper’s theory of knowledge, civil asset forfeiture, and eugenics in North Carolina.

Show notes:

Jon’s recent work http://www.johnlocke.org/update/?p2p_author=540

His work on:

Rafe Champion’s “Karl Popper Web”: http://www.tkpw.net/index.html

“Our Karl Popper” homepage: https://ourkarlpopper.net/2020/10/24/rafechampion/

Finally, just in case you ever decide you want to go into the practical implications of Popper’s theory of knowledge in more detail, you can find a paper Jon wrote a few years ago here.

Vaccine Distribution in North Carolina, an Abject Failure. 

Some problems, like building the first atomic bomb, are hard. 

Other problems, like distributing vaccines, are not. 

Currently, in North Carolina, there are more than 300,000 doses of life-saving vaccines, sitting in freezers, and not where they should be (in people’s arms). 

This is not a hard problem, and from a country that went to the moon 5 years after we decided we wanted to, it’s simply inexcusable. 

Bureaucratic procedures, rules, and concerns about fairness have superseded saving lives. Unfortunately, the Cooper administration appears to value rule-following more than it values life.

With a new, more virulent strain of COVID-19 already present in the United States, we should be racing to get these vaccines into people. Each person vaccinated reduces the spread of the virus, yet our state government can’t get them out of their warehouses blaming “logistics problems.”

Cumbersome logistics aren’t required. In fact, a class of kindergartners has the mental horsepower to get the vaccine distributed quickly. Get a truck, put the vaccine in a truck, drive to the nearest hospital, start injecting doses as quickly as humanly possible. Don’t have enough trucks? Rent a Uhaul! Need people? Ask for volunteers! Worried someone will get it who isn’t on your coveted list? Don’t be!

The crucial understanding missing, is that having vaccines in humans and not in warehouses, is the only thing that matters. Instead, we’ve decided to plan, take our time, and let our elders die, drowning in their own respiratory mucus. 

A Practical Plan

North Carolina is struggling to distribute vaccines. Governor Cooper has broad executive power to fix this. In fact, that’s why we have a governor at all. In times like these, in emergencies, a strong central response is required. Anything less is an embarrassment. 

Currently, there are 1600 troopers that are under the governor’s direct control. 1600 people that report directly to him. Governor Cooper should immediately have each trooper go to the nearest warehouse with vaccines. Have each trooper take approximately 20 vials. As each trooper comes in, you send out each one to a different hospital or long term care facility. This information is readily available and could easily be managed with a simple Google doc.   As we have witnessed, the word will spread,  people will come to the hospitals and reduce the length of the supply lines. Each trooper, with about 190 vaccines, should be able to distribute them in a period of two days of hard work, maybe three if things go poorly. 

Objections to this are primarily focused on the second dose. How do we find folks to give them the second dose? It may be better for an individual to have two doses, but we know that some protection is conferred with one dose, and that for herd immunity, it is more effective to have more people with one dose, than less with two.

The revealed preference is that process is more important than saving the lives of our loved ones, and our fellow North Carolinians. America has become a farce, a simulacrum of a working country. If COVID can’t snap us out of our decadence, what can?

24: Venture Research with Donald Braben

In this episode, we talk with Don Braben, PhD.

Donald Braben is a scientist and author. From 1980 to 1990, he led British Petroleum’s Venture Research program, for which he developed a radical, low-cost approach to finding and funding researchers whose work might redefine their fields. Of the dozens of projects supported by the program, many led to transformative discoveries. I think Don’s concept of Venture Research is essential to saving our stagnating society.

You can buy his book, Scientific Freedom: The Elixir of Civilization, here. (Note, this is an affiliate link, buying the book helps support our work here at Narratives).

A quick note, the conversation with Don starts about 21 minutes in. We give an intro before that.