Episode 004 – Technology and Politics

Are the recent debates on net neutrality, the protests of Google buses, even SOPA a sign of things to come? Building on Ben’s article The Net Neutrality Wake-up Call Ben and James discuss the intersection of technology and politics.

  • Why do people in technology tend to dislike politics?
  • Is net neutrality really that important and understanding open loop unbundling
  • The tech industry and creative destruction: is it good for society when companies go out of business?
  • The impact of money on politics
  • Why tech and politics are on a collision course
  • What we can do to effect change on an individual basis


Note to listeners: the Stratechery.FM feed is now redirected to Exponent (although the archives remain on Stratechery.FM). If you have subscribed to both, just delete one or the other. Thanks! Also, James is not actually married. That was the joke…

2 thoughts on “Episode 004 – Technology and Politics

  1. Hi Ben & James,
    Great episode. There are two books published by MIT professors about the impact of technology on society and jobs Race Against the Machine and The Second Machine Age. It uses somehow the same analogy as the one Ben did: we’re living an industrial revolution.
    I am talking about the book it contains a lot of data about the pace of technology change and the underlying transformations in society.
    There are also some policy recommendations and “how-to” to avoid a Revolution and include many people in the raising tide of technology change : negative tax incomes, safety nets, education, etc …
    I believe that you might like these books a lot.

    Regarding creative destruction, I really enjoyed the “pro-business policies” vs “pro-market policies” discussion that you guys talked about.

    Thanks a lot.

  2. I think I may be able to solve the disconnect between James and Ben in episode 4 of Exponent. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you both seemed to agree that the destruction of companies via disruption is overall a good thing. Out with the old, in with the new. The disagreement came in regards to the destruction of jobs. If I’m remembering this correctly, James posited that we should focus our attention (and empathy) on the jobs. Ben said that in theory he agrees, but in practice it’s hard to separate the two. This went on for a while.

    The central point that companies should be able die, brings along the reality that many jobs will be destroyed as well. They come hand in hand. While this loss of jobs is bad for the economy, the solution is not to prop up the companies, but rather to have a social safety net where losing your job is not a massive burden.

    We want to allow the companies to die, but we want to minimize the harm done to individuals. Instead of protecting those jobs, let them disappear, but help those laid off. Unemployment insurance and skills retraining are two possibilities.

    This of course is easier said than done. Allow me to step off my high horse.

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