Some news! I am really excited to announce today that I am officially signing on as a fellow at the Niskanen Center, a group that describes themselves as “globalists who share progressives’ desire to robustly address economic and social inequality, liberals’ commitment to toleration and civil liberties, moderates’ embrace of empiricism rather than dogma, conservatives’ belief in the wealth- creating power of free markets, and libertarians’ skepticism about the ability of technocratic elites to solve complex economic and social problems.”
I am all of those things!
Beyond the broad mission statement, Niskanen is known to me for its people — many of whose work I have known and admired for years since before the project launched in 2015, and several of whose work I have come to know and admire through their Niskanen affiliation.
To me, what we’ve seen over the past 10 years is the failure of a style of politics that’s based on the erroneous view that one party or the other will win a final victory that lets it implement an unvarnished ideological agenda. The path forward on big problems necessarily involves some effort to reconcile the competing values and ideas that are present in American society, and hopefully to do so in ways that are more ambitious and substantial than just splitting the difference. One Billion Americans was a project in that spirit, and that’s the kind of work that Niskanen does.
If you’re not familiar with Niskanen and interested in a taste of some of their work, I’d recommend:
In terms of formalities that may be of interest, this blog/site/newsletter are an independent product and I speak purely for myself not for Niskanen as an institution.
The point of the affiliation is that I think proximity to other smart people improves one’s thinking. I’m really excited about this solo project, but when the pandemic wanes I’m excited to have a physical location I can show up at and a bunch of broadly like-minded and engaged people to hang out with and collaborate with on things as the opportunity arises. If you’re subscribing here, you shouldn’t really notice any immediate difference but it’s going to help keep the work fresh and sharp. And from Niskanen’s point of view, I think they are hoping you all will check out their stuff. I have been following their work for years and benefitting, and you will learn a lot if you do too.