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Progress studies is more than political engineering
Last month a new online magazine launched, Works in Progress, “dedicated to sharing novel ideas and stories of progress.” It’s funded by a grant from Emergent Ventures and is currently the only publication I know of dedicated to progress studies.
I’ve contributed a post for their blog, riffing on a previous post from John Myers titled “Progress studies: the hard question”:
In a recent post on this blog, John Myers proposes that we need to focus on “how to engineer societal change to get more progress.”
I am broadly sympathetic to this idea. I agree with Myers that there are a number of major areas that are obviously broken: he lists housing, public transit, education, and (US) health care, among others. …
But I also think we need more than a theory of political engineering.
Progress: Fluke or trend?
A foundational conviction of this project is that progress is a trend with definite, substantive causes, and that it can continue far, far into the future. Progress is not automatic or inevitable: it can slow, stop, even reverse. But the history of progress over the last 200+ years convinces me that much more is possible.
Not everyone agrees, however…
Indignation in response to the 1890 census
In reading about the development of technology, I keep an eye out for changes in society as well. I commented recently that we don’t seem to celebrate major achievements as much anymore. But it’s not just technology that Americans used to view differently. It’s growth of all kinds.
Video: Adam Mossoff on the birth of patents, the American patent system, and “trolls”
The Torch of Progress, Episode 12
I interviewed Adam Mossoff, law professor at George Mason University, for “The Torch of Progress”, the speaker series of Progress Studies For Young Scholars. We discussed the origins of patents, historical differences between the US and European systems, and why the term “patent troll” shouldn’t be used.