…conducted by Francis Fukuyama, about America’s current trajectory. Thiel co-founded PayPal and is a venture capitalist; he was an early investor in Facebook. In 2010 he created a fellowship with the mission of awarding $100,000 each to 20 people under 20 years old in order to spur them to quit college and create their own ventures. Fukuyama is a political scientist and writer best known for his book The End of History.
I think this point made by Thiel is particularly worthy of note:
One regulatory perspective is that environmentalism has played a much greater role than people think. It induced a deep skepticism about anything involving the manipulation of nature or material objects in the real world. The response to environmentalism was to prohibit scientists from experimenting with stuff and only allow them to do so with bits. So computer science and finance were legal, and what they have in common is that they involve the manipulation of bits rather than stuff. They both did well in those forty years, but all the other engineering disciplines were stymied. Electric engineering, civil engineering, aeronautical, nuclear, petroleum—these were all held back, and attracted fewer talented students at university as the years went on. When people wonder why all the rocket scientists went to work on Wall Street, well, they were no longer able to build rockets. It’s some combination of an ossified, Weberian bureaucracy and the increasingly hostile regulation of technology. That’s very different from the 1950s and 1960s. There’s a powerful libertarian argument that government used to be far less intrusive, but found targeted ways to advance science and technology.
Read the whole thing.
Link via Isegoria