“[T]he future has arrived, well in advance of the policies needed to support it,” says Arun Sundararajan, Professor of Information, Operations and Management Sciences at New York University's Leonard N. Stern School of Business. Nowhere can this phenomenon be seen more clearly than in the rapidly-expanding "sharing economy," made up of digital platforms like Uber and AirBnB, which must battle with regulators in some locales to keep their innovative services running. Sundararajan's new book, The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism (MIT Press), contains everything you need to know – both cause and effect – about the radical disruption that is underway. An academic by trade, Sundararajan blends sociology, economics, technology and political science with a keen intuition to highlight the many tensions of the sharing economy, or as he calls it, "crowd-based capitalism." The sharing economy, he notes, is both capitalist and socialist, market-based and gift-based, and largely unregulated yet governed by complex rules and norms. Arun joins Bob to help listeners think about their place in the emerging landscape. Will we manage to harness these changes to become an "empowered entrepreneurs," or is technology turning us into "disenfranchised drones"?
This Thanksgiving, try asking a college-aged relative whether they know it used to be illegal to own a phone. Today's smart-phone-owning young people do not remember the bygone era (pre-90s) when you had to rent it from the phone utility, Bell Labs. Real Clear Radio Hour host Bill Frezza has asked college audiences this question many times, as he has waged his one-man-fight to preserve institutional knowledge of the telecommunications industry. A long-time employee of Bell Labs and keen observer of the booming tech scene, Frezza knows the lore behind the stunning lack of progress under the telecom monopoly, and the amazing progress resulting from free competition. How did the industry transform from a corporate cronyist behemoth, which took seven decades to create just seven "apps", to delivering the world’s knowledge at our hip? Don’t miss Bob’s interview with Frezza, as they discuss this history, the modern development of net neutrality, and the silver lining on the regulatory clouds of ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank.
Competitive Enterprise Institute - CEI.org
http://menckenism.com/ - Chronicling the decline and fall of Entitlement Democracy
Obama’s Net-Neutrality Nostalgia For When Things Were Rotten (The Daily Caller, 2/11/15)
Reading recent headlines, one might start to think the world is unraveling at its seams. But dig beneath the surface of attention-grabbing press, and a different picture emerges. Consider a few surprising truths the media rarely reports: The cancer "epidemic" only appears as such because of longer lifespans. As countries get wealthier, they are able to afford a cleaner environment. GMOs have saved billions of lives. All three of these facts run counter to the doomsday narratives, so loved by sensationalist media and environmental-activists-in-scientists'-clothing alike. Award-winning Reason science correspondent Ronald Bailey has made it his mission to look honestly at the ecological impact of civilization, and correct the dire predictions of environmentalists which consistently fail to materialize. Bailey joined Bob for the full hour to discuss his new book, "The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-first Century."
Shortly after its founding in 2003, The Breakthrough Institute helped forge a “BlueGreen Alliance” between labor unions and environmentalists to modernize America’s clean energy infrastructure. While this may sound like yet another instance of special interests profiting under the guise of environmental ethics, Breakthrough’s agenda in fact offers a refreshing alternative to the usual talking points about energy and the environment. More importantly, their scholars are fiercely independent. They have heralded “The Death of Environmentalism” (at least conceived of as a movement to limit growth of industry), and when nuclear power and natural gas are found to be cheaper than solar energy, Breakthrough Institute scholars don't hesitate to say so. Alex Trembath, a senior energy analyst at The Breakthrough Institute, has done much of the research into fracking and clean energy that undergirds their positions, and he joins Bob in studio to defend a nuanced technocratic approach to energy and climate. Do we really need government to invest in the next generation of clean energy infrastructure, or should we leave it up to the market?
Too often, political arguments begin with one person insinuating that his or her opponent deliberately wants to bring about a certain negative outcome, be it pollution, child labor, or an overall lower standard of living. We rarely frame our debates around the values almost all of us have in common, such as a clean planet, and abundant opportunity for future generations. This is where HumanProgress.org, a data-driven initiative of the Cato Institute, excels. Marian L. Tupy is a senior policy analyst at the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity and the editor of Human Progress, which compiles easy-to-read charts and graphs showing the many ways we are advancing, even in terms of “progressive” values. Bob’s last show struck a pessimistic note, with Don Boudreaux lamenting the relative decline of freedom in the United States. This episode brings you the flip side – the good news about the rest of the world’s increase in freedom and prosperity. Tupy joins Bob to discuss the reason why capitalism is winning the war on poverty, while still losing the war of ideas.
Most people tune out when academics speak in terms of regression analysis and “agent-based modeling.” Nonetheless, we want to understand the long-term economic trends that these methods seek to illuminate in order to plan for the future. Don Boudreaux is a master of making complex economic ideas comprehensible to the layperson. He provides this service free of charge every day for the thousands of visitors to his blog, Cafe Hayek (currently down due to a malicious hacking attack). Boudreaux’s short but powerful letters to the editor are the stuff of any libertarian’s dreams – the equivalent of a Total Knock Out in boxing. The larger battle for economic freedom is not fought solely in public discussion forums like the WSJ editorial page – it’s being waged in academic journals and in the academic marketplace of ideas. Boudreaux recently edited the Fraser Institute’s *What America’s Decline in Economic Freedom Means for Entrepreneurship and Prosperity,* a volume of five essays, each thick with research that Don discusses with Bob and his audience. Find out whether it’s too late for America to change course.
Once again, the media is buzzing over Apple's latest product – the iPhone 6. One feature that has customers lining up is the new default “full encryption,” which locks the phone so thieves and hackers cannot get in. In fact, the phones are so secure that even Apple can’t access customers’ stored data when law enforcement presents a warrant. This has caused concern in government, with FBI Director James Comey recently calling for a “national conversation” on the dangers of these dark devices. Comey wants Apple and other companies to build tools into their technologies that would grant the FBI access to data, even though this would compromise the devices’ overall security. This show's guest is Jeremy Gillula, Staff Technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Gillula and his colleagues at EFF are responding to Comey’s call by informing lawmakers and citizens about the constitutional and technical issues at play. While Comey has admitted to a poor understanding of the underlying technology, Gillula is knowledgeable about both cryptography and civil liberties. He breaks down Comey's arguments, and explains where the real threats to our security lie.
Back in April, Bob interviewed Ed Hudgins about The Republican Party’s Civil War, in which Hudgins urged Republicans to emphasize the value of “modernist achievers”—those who disrupt status quo industries and demonstrate what free individuals can accomplish. Derek Khanna is one of the youngest yet most influential thinkers leading the charge on the innovation front in Washington D.C. Khanna regularly writes on disruptive innovation for Forbes.com, and recently had his article, "The Party of Innovation," featured on the cover of The American Conservative magazine. The piece advocated for common sense free-market reform in technology policy, and in the broader conservative movement. If his ideas are any indication of a trend, there may still be hope for Republicans to become known as the party of dynamism and innovation. Bob and Khanna talked about obstacles to forming new small businesses, and Khanna explained some recent reforms that may foreshadow more sweeping victories down the road.
Some older Americans are having trouble adjusting to social media and iPhones. That change is minor compared to the shift in perception they will need to get used to a country of driverless cars. This is not fantasy. They are in production; soon to be on the showroom floor and their arrival will portend nearly incomprehensible changes in our lives. Your garage will house a smart phone on wheels. Forget privacy, it will know whose home you’ve stopped at, your driving patterns and much more. This information will be tracked by Google, probably the government, and perhaps everyone else. So long to chauffeurs, bus drivers and taxi drivers. We’ll still have the cabs, just no drivers. Speed limits will be a thing of the past. The only cause of accidents will be humans. Mothers Against Drunk Driving will become Mothers Against Human Driving. Greg Beato joined Bob to discuss this topic. Greg has written for dozens of publications, including SPIN, Wired, Business 2.0, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Driverless cars will change your life… but for better or for worse?
Under federal law, you are allowed to donate your body parts but you cannot sell them! This makes no sense. Dr. Nancy Sheper-Hughes agrees with the legislators even though this law causes thousands of deaths each year due to a shortage of kidneys and other life-saving organs. Freedom over one’s body IS the last frontier. Hear the discussion in this Sunday’s encore episode.