Peter Thiel presents a new explanation for the Great Stagnation: in the mid-twentieth century, drably dystopian narratives about science and technology began seeping into the culture.

People don't want to feel as if they're building the machines that will destroy the world. 1/3
Dystopian narratives have been facilitated by the dual-use nature of so many modern technologies.

For example, Thiel sees the turning point on nuclear power as 1975, when India got the bomb after the US transferred it nuclear technology. 2/3
Interestingly, @DavidDeutschOxf converges on the same explanation for stagnation in my recent podcast conversation with him:… 3/3
Original source (Thiel’s recent lecture at the Stanford academic freedom conference):…

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More from @JosephNWalker

Apr 8, 2020
Below is a thread on why lockdowns need not be "economic suicide" as Steve Waterson described them in a recent article (…).

I'm no expert, merely synthesizing what I've learned. If errors exist, they are mine and I would love for you to point them out. 1/
I'm going to focus on Australia. Australia is not under a national lockdown. Rather, we have a collection of state-based lockdowns (pictured below; source: The Australian), which emerged in a piecemeal fashion through mid-to-late March 2020, with Federal backing. 2/
Since 31 March, Australian states have enforced "stage three" lockdowns.

(It's unclear exactly what stage four would entail, but New Zealand's "Alert Level 4" may provide clues. Here you can find an exhaustive list of "essential" businesses in NZ:…) 3/
Read 48 tweets
Mar 23, 2020
Below is a quick thread on why a short, sharp, sheer shutdown of 4-5 weeks will be effective and desirable, based on my conversations with @yaneerbaryam and others over the past weeks.

First, why are ~4 weeks enough to do the trick? 1/n
The incubation period for COVID-19 lasts up to 14 days. With all citizens in lockdown, you need 14 days to identify and isolate the people who were infected just before lockdown began.

In a lockdown, the only other people they can infect are their cohabitants (eg family). 2/n
If an infected person spreads coronavirus to their spouse on the 14th day of lockdown, you need to allow another 14 days to ensure you can identify the second generation of infections. Hence ~4 weeks are needed in total.

But doesn't the virus just resurge after lockdown? 3/n
Read 9 tweets

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