A Twitter thread by Erik Torenberg.
1/ Below is my perception/(limited) understanding of Peter Thiel's worldview:
People don’t understand how important economic growth is.
It’s the only thing sustaining the planet. Without it, we go into malthusian war.
2/ The main way our society works is through innovation. No innovation, no growth.
Govt works sitting at table, everyone compromises, more for you, you, and you etc— This only works when the pie is growing.
No economic growth —> gridlock, zero sum game, loser for every winner
3/ Since 1970s, rate of economic growth has declined.
From 1932 to 1972 avg income in US went up 350%.
1972 to 2012: It’s gone up by 22%.
4/ Too much globalization (horizontal progress) e.g. Take one type writer copy it all over the world.
Not enough technology (vertical progress, 0—>1) e.g. Turn typewriter into a word processor.
5/ We haven’t had *enough* technological progress.
Computer revolution has been significant, but not enough to make a dent in California, let alone the global economy.
6/ People are making money betting against progress.
(e.g. Buffet’s single best investment is in railroad industry — which s a bet that 21st century will look more like 19th century than the 20th century (back to rail, coal — clean tech is gonna fail).
7/ Decline has not only been felt economically, it’s been felt culturally. We’ve lowered our expectations in many different ways. For example:
Energy: Nixon’s 1974 call for full energy independence by 1980 has given way to Obama’s 2011 call for one-third oil independence by 2020
8/ Health: Nixon declared the War on Cancer in 1970 and said that we would defeat cancer in 1976 by the bicentennial.
Today we couldn’t declare war on Alzheimers, even though 1/3 of 85 y/o suffer from it.
9/ Infrastructure: The Golden Gate Bridge was built in three-and-a-half years in the 1930s. It’s taken seven years to build an access road that costs more than the original bridge in real dollars.
10/ We’ve absorbed it in our perceptions of ourselves too.
We used to call it first world and third world.
Now we call it developed and developing — the implication behind developed being that there is no more growth to go.
11/ Different reasons for slow down:
Libertarian answer — regulated too much… cost too much to invent new things.. Regulatory problem
Liberal answer — invest in education and training scientists and engineers
Conservative answer — military arms race that drove innovation
“We’ve spent 40 years wandering in the desert, and we think that it’s an enchanted forest. If we’re to find a way out of this desert and into the future, the first step is to see that we’ve been in a desert.”