The Reckoning to Come: A Conversation with Balaji Srinivasan (Episode #259)

On this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Balaji Srinivasan about a number of civilizational challenges and doable paths ahead. They talk about the proof of American decline, the rise of India and China, centralizing and decentralizing tendencies in politics, the connection between politics and know-how, the failures of the FDA and TSA, how regulation preserves monopolies, the importance of Bitcoin and blockchain know-how, the issue of cybersecurity, the Chinese language authorities’s assault on Bitcoin, the specter of US regulation of cryptocurrency, blockchain scalability, creator cash, life in Singapore, digital authorities, the way forward for decentralized journalism, unbiased replication in science, wealth inequality, ubiquitous investing, social standing, non-zero-sum capitalism, “start-up nations”, and different matters.

Launched: August 31, 2021

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  1. Why am I not surprised that Harris chooses to invite a totally confused person who makes such bizarre statements as: The US is "on the left" [relative to Europe] and it is the "enthno-masochist left" "The economy started to pick AFTER FDR left" "The FDA essentially tortures executives"

  2. #bitcoin & AI will lead to the most egalitarian/economically equal society that is theoretically possible while not engaging in any economical coercion

    Bitcoin will remove the asymmetric advantage those who can borrow large amounts of newly printed money have.

    AI will give everyone an endless supply of near free labor; thus, creating the most competitive form of capitalism ever

  3. these pods really really need timestamps…i almost never want to listen to an entire hour or 2…but would definitely spend 20+ minutes skipping around to the topics i'm most interested in.

  4. Where can I leave my zero star rating for the business practices of the Uber corporation?
    I'm a big fan of regulation, you know, but only the decentralized variety.

  5. Sam Harris thinks the flubbed Afghan exit was the worst failure of the Biden administration. That might be true if you are an Afghan. Americans will little note, nor long remember the Fall of Kabul, version 2021. Americans are more concerned with misdiagnosed "transitory" inflation, grab and go looting (and other decriminalized criminality), hand waving border control, the continued shutdown of the economy, the continued restrictions on K-12 schooling, the continued restrictions on free speech (abetted by the tech oligarchs), and universal wokery.

  6. I don’t understand why everybody in the comments has a problem with this guy. I listened to this full podcast, and it completely blew my mind. I loved the whole thing.

  7. Interesting conversation…sometimes dips into bourgeois futurism. None of his solutions involve doing less, stop growing something, make systems less complex. All the tech celebs talk about super cars, not no cars or fewer cars, not walkability.

  8. I want to add this comment here for everyone to critique as needed. I’m a civil engineer and love paying a subscription to have these more in-depth discussions. Thank you first of all for these. Now, there are so many things which are taken for granted and assumed to work which inventors, designers, engineers, constructors built, all around modern society which we massively depend on. Look only at the SW USA and water to see how much water is taken for granted. Look too at the generators and motors and electricity we all invented to make things move. More specifically, to a point I heard about communities of say 1,000 people here or there run by people opting in…. Does the highway through their town ticket everyone in a vehicle the town wants to tax extra? Diesel fines for example? Like a form of robbery. Also, the standards of the highway system matter for those package deliveries of food, construction materials, water, soil, heavy stuff…. USPS, UPS, FedEx, Amazon, etc overwhelmingly depend on smooth roads, safe bridges, low traffic, yet due to entitlement problems, almost never talk about that. Does driving through these towns mean that national standards for speeds, painted roads, tire pressure limits, all vary? Civil engineers study the things which make this advanced society possible and after enough time of these energy, water, food, transportation systems all working fine, internet too!, I notice this kind of entitlement problem, where people think those systems just keep on going. They don’t. They require massive money for maintenance, inspection, replacement and shutting down in emergencies…. Thoughts? Thanks in advance.

  9. I'm sure this guy is extremely competent in some areas, but rather than actually engage in any sort of debate, he just talks over Sam and assumes he can articulate Sam's point of view himself. He is welded to ideology. Felt like was mostly bobbing a weaving the whole time.

  10. What Balaji doesn’t get is that societies are formed within a physical space through physical interactions with people and the environment around them. Our patronage to a community or state are not just from intellectual constructs via intellectual associations on a highly organised blockchain.
    This warped perspective is what you get when you spend 99% of your daylight hours on a computer, rather than chatting to your neighbour over the fence on the weekend.

  11. (Seemingly) technologically smart, but lacks any kind of wisdom or moral grounding whatsoever. He is cognitively captured by utopian Libertarian ideology and clearly has an agenda centered around naked greed and personal gain. Not impressed with this character at all, has a morally grotesque vibe oozing from his pores.

  12. So many whiny comments. I only listened to the 1 hr 13 minutes, because I don't have a membership for full length, but there was definitely some good ideas, and points worth thinking about.

  13. I've lived in the states for about 3 years (I am from the netherlands), and I've always noticed that the indian-americans really love to hear themselves talk and are quite arrogant. Is this accurate or simply a coincedence?

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