This week I've been reading the week 1 syllabus of Peter Thiel's course on Sovereignity and the Limits of Globalization and Technology. The most interesting article by far was "Has the West Lost It?" by Kishore Mahbubani where he advocates for less intervention from the West going forward and real acknowledgment of its vanishing role as the global economic leader.
I was reminded how challenging it is to put forward compelling and data-driven arguments about macro trends from reading The Great Illusion by Norman Angell. In this 1910 book, he argued that military territorial expansion would not lead to any benefits for the attacker due to the structure of the modern economy (a soup of contracts and credit).
Norman Angell focuses on wealth seizures and taxation as a means of value transfer but it's not the only way value can be extracted. Using force to defend or promote national monopolies could be as or even more powerful and it's a much better explanation of recent military intervention.
The world of history, politics and economics is still very new to me, and I'm looking to use Peter Thiel's course as a means of bootstrapping my learning. Ultimately, any sound investment of time and money for the long term will benefit from being informed by an understanding of current affairs.
The final point on the utility comes from Arjun Balaji.
🐦 Tech (mainly) tweets I'm reading
Nick Szabo lists cryptocurrency improvement areas going forward.
Sam Altman reveals YC120, a new free conference for under-networked promising individuals.
Greg Brockman predicts the widespread applicability of Reinforcement Learning.
Fluence investigates DApp trends of 2018.
🎨 Art & Entertainment
Art Market Predictions by Jason Bailey covers the digital transformation happening to art which will lead to a "dematerialization".
On that topic, I attended Marshmello's concert in Pleasant Park. Where is Pleasant Park you ask? It's on Fortnite Island, the virtual land in Fortnite. Watch the highlights here.