Can The Free Market Do Basic Science?

The free market doesn’t provide much incentive for companies to pursue not-soon-to-be-commercializable science. In academia, many of the benefits of market forces are lost – such as Darwinian competition for best practices and the ability of start-ups to “disrupt” the establishment. A third strategy would be for governments to create large prizes for scientific advancements, spurring companies to pursue scientific research.

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The Freedom Bathtub: Why Extreme Libertarianism Isn’t Really Free

Libertarians claim that their ideology promotes freedom. But extreme libertarianism creates a power void that allows other, nongovernmental agents to oppress. Even in the absence of any bad actors, oppressive systems can emerge, further decreasing freedom. Continue Reading

Doing More Good: Should You Donate To High-Risk High-Reward Charities?

Many people are willing to take on large risks in business, yet almost no one donates to charity in this manner. If anything, we should be even riskier with our donations. Charities that focus on existential risks – like the threat of extinction from human level artificial intelligence – appear to be particularly good opportunities for doing a lot of good. Continue Reading

[Insert country name]’s Attempt to Copy Silicon Valley will Fail

Many different countries have attempted to copy Silicon Valley (and failed). These attempts usually consists of incentivizing entrepreneurship and related activities. Silicon Valley achieved its prominence after billions of dollars invested in military technologies was cut, and many well-connected engineers became unemployed in the same area. Continue Reading