Dec 9, 2022 • 1HR 9M

PODCAST: "Hexapodia" is þe Key Insight! XLIV: R&D & Industrial Resarch Labs

Noah Smith & Brad DeLong Record the Podcast We, at Least, Would Like to Listen to!; Aspirationally Pseudo-Weekly; Aspirationally an hour or less.

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Brad DeLong
teach the world good economics through every means possible, & some means impossible...
Episode details


Here in the U.S., at the leading edge of the world economy, measured producivity growth fell off a cliff in the late 1960s, recovreed somewhat in the 1980s, resumed what had been its “normal” pre-1970 pace in the 1990s with the dot-com boom—and then fell off a cliff again in the mid-2000s.

Did the neoliberal swing toward “short-termism”, viewing corporations as cash-flow engines and nothing else—plus the great reduction in public R&D and infrastructure spending—play a role in this? Perhaps. Maybe even probably.

Could and should we rebuild the corporate industrial research labs that atrophied, at least somewhat, during the neoliberal era? Perhaps. Maybe even probably.


Key Insights:

  1. Sometimes the best things in history come from accidents and stupidity.

  2. Collective stupidity enabling individual intelligence enables us to do unexpected things—sometimes very good things (and sometimes very bad things).

  3. Because every institution has its own particular biases and limitations (as well as strengths), you need a diversity of institutions if you are going to achieve big goals.

  4. The market ain't going to provide enough and the right kind of R&D—no single institution or set of institutions will.

  5. The best we can do is to very amply fund as many kinds of R&D institutions as possible.

  6. Hexapodia!

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