No. 183: 1 Thought: Historical Thinking

American Democracy: Conversation between Roberto Mangabeira Unger, Peter Thiel, and Cornel West

This is a fascinating conversation that covers a range of topics that impact our form of government – technology, creativity, and economics to name a few. I’m not the biggest fan of Peter Thiel’s world view. I struggle with his mix of contrarianism and libertarianism, but I do appreciate that he doesn’t make many points without taking a long view of history to support his arguments. This is one of my biggest concerns with the health of our form of government. I just don’t think we’ve equipped our minds to go back far enough to connect the dots for how we got to where we are today. That sets us up to rinse and repeat history.

An early point that stood out is we’ve narrowed the definition of technology to information technology. I agree. This connects to my mention yesterday of the potential of African countries investing in R&D. Considering the continent’s challenges, there’s all sorts of white space for developing technologies around pipeline safety, transportation, solar capture, and more. The continent’s working age population is set to grow 14% every five years through 2050, according to Brookings. Consumer facing startups won’t create the jobs needed to put folks to work.The trajectory of economic inequality

This conversation is entertaining for another reason – the manner in which West and Unger physically close in on Thiel is hilarious.