The Roots of Progress

Interview: “A Case for Innovation and Optimism”

Adam Thierer did a brief written interview with me for Discourse Magazine, some excerpts:

People love their iPhones, and they make Elon Musk into a celebrity for building rockets to Mars. But they also worry that fossil fuels are destroying the climate, that robots will take all the jobs and that social media will cause the downfall of democracy.

I do think the most powerful thing we can do for the long term is to teach the history of progress to young people. The story is so fascinating, and the facts of how living standards have improved are so powerful—from agricultural abundance to vaccines and antibiotics to indoor plumbing to the internet—that if properly told, it should outweigh any counternarrative.

I tend to think that America will continue to lead the world for the foreseeable future—but I’m less certain about that than I was in 2015 or even in 2019.

Read the full interview.

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