Has Technological Progress Stalled?

Or Comments on the Thiel Thesis, Part I

Last week Mary Harrington published a long interview with Peter Thiel in the online magazine Unherd. Much of her article centers on Thiel’s conviction that meaningful technological progress stopped a good half century ago. This view is not unique to Thiel. In many ways it is the starting point for the entire “Progress Studies” movement. The Thielites and the Progress Studies folk take this shared premise to different end points, but both deem scientific inertia as the defining feature of the 21st century. Both also see technological and material stagnation as the root source of myriad ills tearing at America’s social fabric.

Here is Thiel’s description of the problem, as written up by Harrington:

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Yes, We Are in an Ideological Competition With China

The Lowy Institute has a published an interactive debate titled “China and the Rules-Based Order.” I participated in the debate and wrote two small essays as a part of it. All participants were asked to describe the nature of Sino-American competition, Chinese intentions for the future of the “world order” and any possibilities for a […]

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What Cyber-War Will Look Like

When prompted to think about the way hackers will shape the future of great power war, we are wont to imagine grand catastrophes: F-35s grounded by onboard computer failures, Aegis BMD systems failing to launch seconds before Chinese missiles arrive, looks of shock at Space Command as American surveillance satellites start careening towards the Earth–stuff […]

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China: The Unknowable Kingdom

Earlier this year I wrote that the Chinese do not want our liberal, rules-based order. How America should respond to this rejection was a question I left open. This week, however, in a long  two-book review essay published over at Strategy Bridge, I have returned to the question. The two books under review are Lyle […]

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The Future of the Fertile Crescent: Thoughts from Nibras Kazimi

Yesterday I was delighted to discover that Nibras Kazimi has started blogging in English again. Kazimi has played the part of both activist and analyst over the last decade, working out of Washington DC or Iraq as the occasion required. At the height of the old strategy blogosphere he was running one of the sharpest blogs on […]

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The Next 40 Years in Twelve Hundred Words

Info-graphic taken from Peter Turchin, “The Double-Helix of Inequality and Well-Being,” Social Evolution Forum (8 February 2013) Recently in a discussion at a different venue I wrote the following: I am extremely pessimistic about the near term (2015-2035) future of both of the countries I care most about and follow most closely, but very optimistic […]

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