Episode 206: Lessons From 2020

Finally, 2020 is behind us. It changed our world, the way we live our lives, and how we relate to each other and to ourselves. Shruti Rajagopalan and Alex Tabarrok join Amit Varma in episode 206 of The Seen and the Unseen to take stock of the year gone by, with each of them picking five lessons they feel 2020 holds for us. Because they can’t count, though, they end up with more than 15 — here they are, below. (Listen to the episode for the elaborations and arguments.)

The Lessons:
0. Don’t take anything for granted. (Amit)
1. Don’t make the mistake of Omission, Commission, Distinction. (Alex)
2. We should pay more attention to tail risks. (Shruti)
3. Art and Entertainment can be intimate and personal. (Amit)
4. People care more about narratives to explain the world than the world itself. (Amit)
5. We should think more about inter-generational tradeoffs, and consider lowering the voting age. (Shruti)
6. Software is eating the biological world. (Alex)
7. Science is not the problem. The problem is economic illiteracy. (Shruti)
7.5. We should move from collectivized decision-making to respecting individual choice. (Alex)
8. We need to rethink education. Not just the delivery of it, but how we think of education itself. (Amit)
9. A bigger problem than state capacity is state will. (Alex)
10. Politicians don’t always behave in a rational, self-interested way. (Shruti)
11. Politics is driven only by tribalism. (Amit)
12. The internet is even better than we thought. (Alex)
13. Markets don’t solve everything. (Shruti)
14. We should worry more about computer viruses. (Alex)
15. We should take a closer look at how we relate to other people. (Amit)
15.5 Be like dogs. Live in the moment. (Shruti)

Also check out:
1. Elite Imitation in Public Policy — Episode 180 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Shruti Rajagopalan and Alex Tabarrok).
2. Previous episodes with Shruti and Alex.
3. Previous episodes on Covid-19: 1234.
4. The Omission-Commission Error is Deadly — Alex Tabarrok.
5. Asteroid Deflection as a Public Good — Alex Tabarrok. (And some other Marginal Revolution posts on asteroids.)
6. The Day the Dinosaurs Died — Douglas Preston.
7. Unlikely is Inevitable — Amit Varma.
8. The Hunter Becomes the Hunted — Episode 200 of The Seen and the Unseen.
9. The YouTube channels of Samay Raina and ChessBase India.
10. Only Fans.
11. 1000 True Fans — Kevin Kelly.
12. 1000 True Fans? Try 100 — Li Jin.
13. Marginal Revolution University.
14. ParentData — Emily Oster’s newsletter on Substack.
15. Profit = Philanthropy — Amit Varma.
16. Modern Principles of Microeconomics — Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok. (And Macroeconomics.)
17. Collective Action Kills Innovation — Alex Tabarrok.
18. Fixing Indian Education — Episode 185 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Karthik Muralidharan).
19. The Case Against Education — Bryan Caplan.
20. Beware of the Useful Idiots — Amit Varma.
21. Khaana Chahiya.
22. The BJP Before Modi — Episode 202 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Vinay Sitapati).

This episode is sponsored by the podcast, Think Like an Economist, hosted by Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers.

You can now buy Seen/Unseen swag.

And do check out Amit’s online courses, The Art of Clear Writing and The Art of Podcasting.