This fall I will be hosting a study/discussion group on the history, economics and philosophy of progress.

The primary attraction of the program is a weekly Q&A, each week featuring a different special guest—usually a historian or economist who has written on science, technology, industry and progress. Reading from that author will be given ahead of time. Confirmed speakers so far include:

  • Robert J. Gordon (Northwestern), author of The Rise and Fall of American Growth
  • Margaret Jacob (UCLA), author of Scientific Culture and the Making of the Industrial West
  • Richard Nelson (Columbia), author of the classic paper “The Simple Economics of Basic Scientific Research”
  • Ashish Arora (Duke), co-author of “The changing structure of American innovation: Some cautionary remarks for economic growth”
  • Pierre Azoulay (MIT Sloan), co-author of papers such as “Funding Breakthrough Research”
  • Jay Bhattacharya (Stanford), co-author of “Stagnation and Scientific Incentives”
  • Patrick Collison (Stripe), co-author of “We Need a New Science of Progress”, the article that coined the term “progress studies”
  • Anton Howes, author of Arts and Minds: How the Royal Society of Arts Changed a Nation
  • Alicia Jackson, former DARPA program manager and director

The program will also include all of the reading from my high school course, Progress Studies for Young Scholars: a summary of the history of technology, including advances in materials and manufacturing, agriculture, energy, transportation, communication, and disease. This provides the indispensable historical framework for a proper empirical grounding of the study of progress.

More details and enrollment forms:

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