Balaji Srinivasan on the Power and Promise of the Blockchain (Ep. 39)

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Mercatus Center
Apr 25, 2018 · 44 min read

On designing journalism from scratch

On designing academia from scratch

On why geography still matters — for now

On how tech is changing compulsory education

The state has six hours of compulsory education per day. What’s interesting is the network is getting a lot of those hours and taking them away from the state because the kids are plugged into their laptops and iPads and iPhones and self-educating during the period they’re supposed to be having compulsory state education.

There’s an interesting thing that’s happening there, where you’re having kids plugged into a different network, not the state-approved network, during their nascent years. They’re plugged into the internet and their own sub-communities and subcultures. So the state has a lot less control over kids as they’re coming up.

On exit and voice

I think in general, the countries that are going to win the future will be Estonia, Singapore, Israel — very software-savvy small countries where their leaders are basically almost like software CEOs.

On the future of identity and privacy

On cryptocurrency

The blockchain records who has the property. I think that’s something where, if you’d make that comparison, even all of Bitcoin’s energy consumption is cheaper than the Brink’s trucks and the US military and the police system and so on required to protect property rights in the American context.

On things under- and overrated

On the ideal India trip

On the Balaji Srinivasan production function

I don’t know if you’ve seen those movies where someone’s frozen in a block of ice, and then they’re thawed out, and then they experience the world. That’s kind of what my life has been like post coming to Stanford.

It was kind of like everything in life moved in a very slow motion until around 2001 or thereabouts. Then things sped up a lot.


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A podcast in which esteemed economist Tyler Cowen engages with today's most underrated thinkers in wide-ranging explorations of their work, the world, and everything in between.

Mercatus Center

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The Mercatus Center at George Mason University is the world’s premier university source for market-oriented ideas.

Conversations with Tyler

A podcast in which esteemed economist Tyler Cowen engages with today's most underrated thinkers in wide-ranging explorations of their work, the world, and everything in between.