Bryan Caplan and Nassim Nicholas Taleb on What’s Missing in Education

It’s very hard now to argue against education when we know all the empirical data — if you want to have a few minutes to explain it, or let’s say, to convince — or have all the empirical data that at the individual level, education — and that’s how I’ve called them antifragile — education, it appears that it’s good for you because it’s a great way to transmit wealth to a generation, because your children are certain to stay in middle class if you educate them.

It’s a great way, but at the level of a country, it doesn’t seem to work. In fact, it’s the reverse kind of thing. Alison Wolf’s data.

Even more interesting that people think that by educating people they’re actually transmitting knowledge instead of technique because of places like Germany and Switzerland. These places had a very low level of formal education and a huge amount of apprenticeship, and a huge amount of built-in.

The complete discussion

Conversations with Tyler

Steven Pinker on Language, Reason, and the Future of Violence

steven pinker

This needull is a very detailed interview of Steven Pinker. Includes the audio as well.

I think language is central to everything else that’s human. I think that it has very much figured in our evolution by making social cooperation that much easier — namely, with language, for example, you can make an agreement to do a favor for someone now in exchange for a very different payback or a payback very far in the future, something you can’t do when you’re just bartering physical goods.

I think that since our species lives on information, information is the ultimate trade good because it is a nonrivaled good. You can share it with someone else without being deprived of it yourself. It can be multiplied, and that makes it the ideal medium of reciprocity, conferring a large benefit to someone else at a small cost to oneself.

The complete interview

Conversations with Tyler

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