Mass Media, Markets, and Human Malware: A Portal Q&A | The Portal with Eric Weinstein

Key Takeaways

  • Not only do minds move markets, but markets move minds also
    • People who thought the world was falling apart saw that the stock market wasn’t going down and thus changed their minds
  • “Social media is both dictating our tastes and is trying to figure out our tastes so that it can profit from it”Eric Weinstein
    • We’re both influencing media while being influenced by media at the same time
  • Human empathy is substantial because it lets us imagine the lives of people who are different
    • “That capacity to be empathic and to use the imagination allows us to go to the movies for example or lose ourselves in a book or song because many things happen to people that haven’t happened to us” – Eric Weinstein
  • In the short-term, rich people don’t want higher taxes, but in the long-term, it may be in their best interest. As it prevents riots, violence, and helps avoid a modern-day French Revolution.
    • “You want to minimize the violence that might be necessary in the system…and you should also try to get the very wealthy on board and get them to understand exactly why you don’t want them to become too wealthy.” – Eric Weinstein
  • The world is complex and people can hold complex views. For instance, Eric likes different cultures but is against high-skilled immigration: 
    • “I both find the world’s cultures fascinating and very attractive and I don’t want to adopt every single person from every other country and bring them to my home country”  – Eric Weinstein
  • Why Eric is against high-skilled immigration:
    • Changing our immigration structure would decrease inequality and help move minorities and women into the workforce
    • Labor shortages don’t exist in the long-term, it’s just people saying they’re too cheap to pay the market price for labor
    • It destroys the power of scientists and engineers to be able to bargain for higher wages, better benefits, and more rights

Intro

Books Mentioned

How Effective Is The Free Market?

  • Not only do minds move markets, but markets move minds too
    • People who thought the world was falling apart saw that the stock market wasn’t going down and thus changed their minds
  • “Social media is both dictating our tastes and is trying to figure out our tastes so that it can profit from it”Eric Weinstein
    • We’re both influencing media while being influenced by media at the same time
  • There’s a lot of things economists still don’t know, this being one of them
    • Most of the work that economists do implies that people’s tastes don’t change over time, which isn’t true. The field as a whole isn’t as reliable as people believe.
      • “You’ve asked one hell of a question…maybe we should do more on this topic” – Eric Weinstein

The Trade-Offs Of Mass Media

  • There is a tradeoff in the news world: 
    • You can be first but likely be wrong since you won’t have the full story
    • You can be last, have the full story, but by then people may not be interested or have already read the news from another company
  • “The problem is that the exchange rate favors fast” – Eric Weinstein
  • One solution may be to increase slander laws so that news companies pay higher fines when spreading false information
  • Another solution: Develop scorekeepers that track how reliability and bias of each news site
  • One scary prospect: People have become disinterested in the understanding of the world and the real truth
  • “At the moment, we’re concerned about the present and the past. We’re much more concerned about getting things early…so that we might be the ones who benefit.” Eric Weinstein

How to Argue With A Radical?

  • It’s important to remember that the characteristics of a person and what they believe in are two separate entities 
    • Human empathy is substantial because it lets us imagine the lives of people who are different from us
      • “That capacity to be empathic and to use the imagination allows us to go to the movies for example or lose ourselves in a book or song because many things happen to people that haven’t happened to us” – Eric Weinstein
  • You have to identify the rules for winning an argument. So people may try to play the, I’ve been hurt more so I should win the game instead of arguing facts and figures.
  • “The most important thing is to understand what the frame is that you’ve been handed, who will be doing the scoring of the argument, based on what principles, and if you don’t share the same sense of what the rules are, my advice is to you is get yourself out of the conversation.”Eric Weinstein

Will Inequality Soon Lead To Violence?

  • The book The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World) by Walter Scheidel, talks about inequality throughout human history and how violence and pandemics help reset inequality
  • You can’t fantasize about a world without violence because we’ve never had such a place before
  • The government often has a monopoly on violence
  • Growth is a double-edged sword: With growth comes inequality, but without it, people fight for whatever is present in the here and now
  • In the short-term, rich people don’t want higher taxes, but in the long-term, it may be in their best interest. As it prevents riots, violence, and helps avoid a modern-day French Revolution.
    • “You want to minimize the violence that might be necessary in the system…and you should also try to get the very wealthy on board and get them to understand exactly why you don’t want them to become too wealthy.” – Eric Weinstein

What New Economic System Will We Implement In 40-50 Years?

  • “Capitalism and communism both have to die. You need to hybridize into something.”  – Eric Weinstein
    • Take the freedom that capitalism provides and mix it with the safety net of communism 
      • “We’re going to have to experiment with something like universal basic income to deal with the fact that technology is going obviate many occupations” 
  • We’re all in this world together and share both the upsides and downsides 
    • “Every mistake that we have can go global the way COVID has gone global” Eric Weinstein
      • We’re probably going to have to figure out how to get off this planet
        • “My own bet is that we have to break the laws of physics because rockets aren’t going to be the way that we are going to spread out into the solar system”
  • It’s incredible to think that since the 1950s, no nation has used hydrogen bombs in combat
    • Eric recommends for everyone to go through a VR simulation of a hydrogen bomb exploding and they’ll realize why preventing a major war is so crucial

Contrarian Thoughts About The World

  • Just like you used to have chemists and alchemists, astrologists and astronomists, Eric believes that part of economics is useless:
    • “A bullshit tradition that attempts to rationalize power and an analytical tradition that attempts to understand the world” – Eric Weinstein
  • The world is complex and people can hold complex views. For instance, Eric likes different cultures but is against high-skilled immigration: 
    • “I both find the world’s cultures fascinating and very attractive and I don’t want to adopt every single person from every other country and bring them to my home country”  – Eric Weinstein
      • Why is he against high-skilled immigration:
        • Changing our immigration structure would decrease inequality and help minorities and women into the workforce
        • Labor shortages don’t exist in the long-term, it’s just people saying they’re too cheap to pay the market price for labor
        • It destroys the power of scientists and engineers to bargain for higher wages, better benefits, and more rights
  • “People don’t realize that capitalism has a different future than it has a past”Eric Weinstein
    • It was the most powerful idea in the 19th and 20th century, but it has various problems and may not be the best system to use moving forward
      • “Capitalism was tied to a particular time and place in history and it’s now to move on to the next thing”
        • E.g. It’s like graduating from high school but still hanging out with the students there. Every year that you stay there becomes less appropriate.
  • “We have a failure to launch our post-capitalist society so you’re watching capitalism come unravel” Eric Weinstein
    • Both capitalism and communism are unsustainable for the future
      • We have to take what worked from capitalism and fuse it with what we know about markets and the human condition.
Portal with Eric Weinstein : , , ,
Notes By Alex Wiec

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