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The Diff is a daily newsletter covering inflection points in finance and technology. I aim to answer a simple question: in a few centuries, when historians reach a consensus on what was happening today, what will they believe?

Here’s what I believe: in 2021, our institutions are designed for a much simpler world with faster productivity growth. Outside of computers and communications, scientific progress has slowed abysmally since the mid twentieth century. Meanwhile, in government, media, and education we’ve moved backwards; we’re less efficient and less effective than ever before, despite shinier tools and lavish spending.

Pundits like to talk about how the pace of change has never been faster. They’re right, but in the wrong sense: the pace of fundamental change is slowing down, so unpredictability represents less progress and more chaos.