This blog covers a wide range of topics on these three broad subjects; law, economics, and technology. Why these three? Because each plays an important role in influencing how public policy can improve the human experience for as many people as possible.
Law sets the rules of the game within which most people make decisions. Good laws can motivate good behavior such as cooperation, innovation, and hard work. Bad laws can discourage desired actions or, even worse, encourage actions that make society worse off.
Economics provides a good theory for what drives a great deal of human behavior. People do tend to pursue their desires, even if they do not always act in ways that maximize their own self-interest. And by and large, their actions are rational and can be predicted by looking at the incentives that public policy creates. Policies that are consistent with individuals’ own desires are likely to work as intended. Laws that try to force people to act against their own self-interest are likely to require costly enforcement and lead to unintended consequences. The health of the national economy also imposes significant constraints on the resources available to government.
Finally, technology will continue to play an ever larger role in defining the options available to society. Any attempt to plan future policy should incorporate a deep understanding of how future technology is likely to affect the choices individuals have. Policies to improve living standards need to understand the role of innovation and development, which in turn deliver an expanding range of products and services.
The opportunities and challenges facing us are greater than ever. Economies are much more complex, as are the laws trying to govern them. The magnitude of technological change over the next thirty years is likely to be at least one order of magnitude greater than that which occurred during the previous thirty years. Looking at all of the technology-related disruption that has occurred since 1980 and multiplying by 10 gives an indication of the changes we face. The degree to which these changes improve or threaten the human experience will depend on the laws we put in place to influence collective behavior and on the choices individuals make as they navigate the society around them to pursue their own ends.
I hope you enjoy reading it.