Historian Jessica Riskin of Stanford University talks about her book The Restless Clock with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. What is the difference between human beings and machines? How has science thought about this distinction? When do we have agency and when are we constrained? Riskin discusses these issues and the implications for how we think about ourselves and the growth of artificial intelligence.
Economic failures cause us serious problems. We need to build simulations of the economy at a much more fine-grained level that take advantage of all the data that computer technologies and the Internet provide us with. We need new technologies of economic prediction that take advantage of the tools we have in the 21st century.
The Urban-Rural Divide: Why Geography Matters
In the past, it was dispersed rural interest groups who favored free trade, and concentrated urban producers who wanted protection for their new industries. Now, in the age of the knowledge economy, the relationship has reversed. Much of manufacturing now takes place outside of city centers. Ever since the New Deal and the rise of labor unions, manufacturing has been moving away from city centers and spreading out to exurban and rural areas along interstates, especially in the South. In an era of intense global competition, these have now become the places where voters can be most easily mobilized in favor of trade protection.
Moreover, much like manufacturing in an earlier era, the knowledge economy has grown up in a very geographically concentrated way in certain city centers. These are the places that now benefit most from globalization and free trade. We’re back to debates about trade and protection that occupied Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, although the geographic location of the interests has changed over time. Changing economic geography has shaped our political geography in important ways, and contributed to an increase in urban-rural polarization.
– Debate over policy or debate over tactics, what is politically possible
– Ezra says he comes from the neoliberal DLC camp
– Bernie Sanders moved Overton window
– It is dangerous to not be up front with what’s needed for DSA policies, because there would be huge backlash if people felt they were lied to.
– The health insurance industry is an extractive layer that skims resources from the process
– Gave up on the power of persuasion
– Trust, respect, hope, relationships vs the strength of an argument
– Arguing against capitalism is arguing against fairness and deep values, better to offer sympathetic stories
– Easier to assign moral failure to someone on food stamps than someone born with a condition.
– Why don’t people who would benefit from left policies oppose it? Racial animus, “last place aversion” perception of unfairness
– “Be honest about proposals, state your hopes, I understand your position”
– Regional identity is an obstacle to mobilization
– “Identity is upstream from ideology”
DSA activists in midwest and south: You don’t have to give up your identity to support certain issues.
– Trump supporters: “Supporting him is the only way to be acknowledged”
– Language of politics: pragmatic, civility vs confrotation and getting attention. Genteel discourse does not produce media amplification. But civil arguments may contain built assumptions that are cruel.
– “I want to lower the emotional cost of listening to what I have to say”
Author Peter Fleming exclaims why the most likely version of post-capitalism in our future is worse than (and kind of the same as) capitalism, with entrenched structures clinging to power in a neo-feudal world, the ghosts of Hayek and Friedman still haunting our minds, and a sense of loss for a future world we never had. Peter is author of the book The Worst Is Yet To Come: A Post-Capitalist Survival Guide from Repeater Books.
Source: This Is Hell! | Haunted by radical alternatives: Why post-capitalism will probably look like capitalism.