You can't blame bad leaders for everything
The public is troublingly tolerant of bad Covid response
Hey folks. The impressive pace of mRNA vaccine development helped spark a December burst of what Noah Smith called “techno-optimism” in a post where he grouped me in with the techno-optimists.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what I agree and disagree with in that characterization. And I guess the sentiment I would affiliate myself with is more what I might call tech-positivity than techno-optimism. By that I mean not an affinity for America’s existing big high-tech companies, which I think are a mixed bag, but a belief that technological progress is good and important and should be embraced and encouraged.
The reason I’m not sure I would call myself a techno-optimist is that I don’t think tech-positivity is very widely shared, and I think it’s a huge open question as to whether transformative technologies will actually be used in the future.
One way to explain my view is in terms of two different books Tyler Cowen wrote during the Obama years. One, The Great Stagnation, was politically…