Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act states “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” For more than 20 years, since the birth of the internet age as we know it, Section 230 has provided websites with immunity from liability for what their users post. Today, Section 230 is under fire from politicians on the left and the right who think those 26 words are insufficient in an age of Big Tech where we live much of our lives online. On this episode, cybersecurity professor Jeff Kosseff discusses his new book “The Twenty-Six Words that Created the Internet” about the past, present, and future of Section 230.

Jeff Kosseff is an assistant professor of cybersecurity law at the United States Naval Academy. Before becoming a lawyer, he was a technology and political journalist for The Oregonian and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in national reporting.

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Does America need venture capital to achieve high rates of economic growth? How can budding start-ups get it? And what do the big tech firms of the future look like to investors today? On this episode, Andreessen Horowitz’s Scott Kupor discusses his new book “Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It.”

Scott Kupor is managing partner at the Silicon Valley based venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. He also teaches courses on venture capital and corporate governance at Stanford Law School and the Haas School of Business at UC Berkley.

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What does Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal get wrong about lowering carbon emissions? What is ecomodernism? And how can nuclear power play a roll in our high energy future? On this episode, the Breakthrough Institute’s Alex Trembath discusses how we can achieve a high-growth, high-energy future with a smaller carbon footprint.

Alex Trembath is the Deputy Director of the Breakthrough Institute, where he helps coordinate Breakthrough’s research on technological solutions to environmental and human development challenges. You can download the episode by clicking the link above, and don’t forget to subscribe to my podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. Tell your friends, leave a review.

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Is the US falling behind China and the world in innovation and technology? Why doesn’t America expand public funding for scientific research? And what stops the government and private sector from investing in ideas that could eventually be worth billions? On this episode, economics professor Jonathan Gruber discusses his new book “Jump-Starting America: How Breakthrough Science Can Revive Economic Growth and the American Dream.”

Jonathan Gruber is the Ford Professor of Economics at MIT. Jonathan has long been involved in crafting public health policy, and is considered a key architect of both Romneycare and Obamacare.

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Why do we love to hate big business? Are American corporations monopolistic? Are CEOs overpaid? And is Big Tech really a threat to our democracy? On this episode, economics professor Tyler Cowen discusses his new book “Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero.”

Tyler Cowen is the Holbert L. Harris Chair of Economics at George Mason University and the faculty director of GMU’s Mercatus Center. He is also the coauthor of the wildly popular economics blog Marginal Revolution. You can download the episode by clicking the link above, and don’t forget to subscribe to my podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. Tell your friends, leave a review.

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What is a ‘loonshot’? Why are they so often dismissed? And how can teams, companies, and governments nurture more of these great ideas? On this episode, author and biotechnology entrepreneur Safi Bahcall discusses his new book “Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries.”

After working as a consultant for McKinsey, Safi Bahcall co-founded the biotechnology company Synta Pharmaceuticals, serving as its CEO for 13 years. In 2011 he worked with the President Obama’s Council of Science Advisors on how to transform the future of US science and technology research.

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Should we be so pessimistic about the role of technology in our lives? Has 5G been overhyped? And when will autonomous cars be a reality for consumers? On this episode, Andreessen Horowitz’s Benedict Evans discusses why we respond the way we do to technological change and where the tech industry is taking us next.

Benedict Evans is a partner at the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (‘a16z’) and also runs a popular email newsletter.

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Does allowing Huawei to build Europe’s 5G network pose a threat to international security? And to what lengths should the US go to help Huawei’s European competitors? On this episode, AEI’s Claude Barfield discusses the race to build the world’s 5G backbone and how the Trump administration should police Chinese intellectual property theft.

Claude Barfield is a resident scholar at AEI and a former consultant to the office of the US Trade Representative. He has written extensively about 5G, China, and Huawei.

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Will artificial intelligence (AI) lead to a jobless economy? Can AI stimulate lasting economic growth? Is anti-competitive behavior by big tech slowing the rate of AI innovation? On this episode, Professor Robert Seamans discusses AI’s impact on the economy, how it will change the nature of work, and whether regulation is needed to keep the AI industry competitive.

Robert Seamans is an associate professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business and a former Senior Economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisors. Most recently, he coauthored the chapter “AI and the Economy” with Jason Furman.

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Has Big Tech become a barrier to innovation? Who owns the data you generate while surfing the web? And should you get paid when a company uses that data for targeted ads? On this episode, Neil Chilson discusses the economics of privacy, the complexities of content moderation, and whether Big Tech has become anticompetitive.

Neil Chilson is a former Federal Trade Commission (FTC) acting Chief Technologist and a current senior research fellow for technology and innovation at the Charles Koch Institute. Prior to joining the FTC, Chilson practiced telecommunications law at Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP.

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Ever since the new Democratic majority was seated in the House and the 2020 Democratic presidential primary got underway, numerous proposals have emerged to increase taxes on America’s wealthiest. But is a two percent tax on wealth over $50 million as small as it sounds? And what are the disincentive effects of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s 70% top tax rate? On this episode, AEI’s Alan Viard walks us through how to think about some of the new tax policy proposals emerging out the Democratic presidential primary race.

Alan Viard is a resident scholar here at AEI, where he researches federal tax and budget policy. He earned his PhD in economics from Harvard University, has worked as a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and was a senior economist at the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers.

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On this episode, podcaster and serial entrepreneur Brian McCullough discusses the rise of the early internet companies, the dot-com bubble, and whether today’s Big Tech companies poses a threat to Silicon Valley’s tradition of innovation.

Brian McCullough is the host of the daily tech news podcast Techmeme Ride Home, as well as the Internet History Podcast. He’s also the founder of WhereAreTheJobs.com, WhoToTalkTo.com, and ResumeWriters.com. His latest book is “How the Internet Happened: From Netscape to the iPhone.”

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Byron Reese, author of the new book “The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity,” organizes human history so far by framing it around three main inventions. We entered the first age when we learned to harness fire and language, the second when we mastered agriculture, and the third came with the invention of writing and the wheel. Now we are on the verge of a fourth age, thanks to developments in artificial intelligence, and to hear Reese tell it, this fourth age promises to be just as transformative as its predecessors.

Byron Reese is the CEO and publisher of the technology research company Gigaom, and the founder of several high-tech companies.

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For several years now, we have heard economic commentators proclaim the United States had reached “full employment.” And yet the economy just kept adding jobs and the unemployment rate kept falling.

One economist who has consistently opposed that prognosis is Adam Ozimek, and it appears he’s been vindicated. So I invited him on the show to talk unemployment, wage growth, and all things economic policy. We also cover the jobs guarantee proposal, inflation, and Dr. Ozimek’s one out-of-the-box idea to boost US economic growth.

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The denizens of Silicon Valley (and Seattle) have picked up a slew of nicknames: GAFA (for Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon); FAANG (add Netflix in there); or, most ominously, the Frightful Five (sub out Netflix, sub in Microsoft). The central charge is these firms are monopolizing their respective markets, and have achieved such dominance that their market positions are now unchallengable. The side effects may include dampened innovation, reduced labor power, and any number of democracy-is-in-peril concerns.

But my guest this episode, antitrust expert Nicolas Petit, argues against this alarmist case against the tech titans. Drawing from his 2016 paper, “Technology Giants, the Moligopoly Hypothesis and Holistic Competition: A Primer,” as well as new research from a forthcoming book, Petit makes the argument these “Frightful Five” firms engage in cutthroat competition with one another, benefiting the economy as a whole — and government regulation against these companies is premature.

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“If stability despite conflict is a lesson from past experience,” wrote economist and trade historian Douglas Irwin last year, “one can easily be led to conclude that the future will look much like the past and that the reciprocity period will continue for some time to come.”

But with President Trump’s trade war so far refusing to relent, is this vision of a free-trading future far too sanguine? Irwin himself joined me to discuss this question, as well as some American economic history, the most pervasive myths people believe about trade policy, and much more on the most recent episode of my podcast.

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Cutting every citizen a monthly check, regardless of whether they work, is no longer as radical an idea as it once seemed. Some form of government-ensured universal basic income — or UBI, as it is more commonly known — is now embraced by some libertarians, futurists, and (of course) socialists. But that’s not to say UBI has grown uncontroversial. It has, however, grown more politically feasible, as the Overton window continues to widen.

To discuss UBI — it’s history, its track record, and its future — I was joined by Annie Lowrey, a contributing editor for The Atlantic magazine, a former economics writer for the New York Times, and author of the new book “Give People Money: How a Universal Basic Income Would End Poverty, Revolutionize Work, and Remake the World.”

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The backdrop to the escalating US-China trade — and what gives it a salience our squabbles with the EU, Mexico, and Canada lack — is the sense that China is not only an economic rival but also an ideological and military threat. And, exacerbating concerns, the sense that China is rising inexorably, so much so that just as the 20th was “America’s century,” the 21st will belong to China.

So with this on the mind, it seems a good time to revisit my 2017 conversation with Asia expert Michael Auslin, author of “The End of the Asian Century: War, Stagnation, and the Risks to the World’s Most Dynamic Region.” In this episode we discuss his book, the past and future of the Asian economies, how the US should respond to China’s rise, and much more. Find the transcript of our conversation on AEI’s blog, here.

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The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in December has been credited for kick-starting economic growth and boosting workers’ wages. It’s also been blamed for enriching the already well-off at the expense of labor, and for dooming us all to a life of perpetual deficits. Its supporters tout the bonuses many firms doled out in January as evidence of its success. Its opponents point to stock buybacks and increased dividends paid out to shareholders as proof of its failure.

But what can we really say about the tax law at this point in time? To break it all down, I’m joined by AEI tax expert Alan Viard. He earned his PhD in economics from Harvard University, has worked as a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, and has forgotten more about tax policy than most people will ever know.

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Intro to econ classes usually teach students to understand the economy as the combination of labor, capital, and land. But it might be more fruitful to think of the key players as atoms, energy, and information. So says Cesar Hidalgo, an MIT professor, statistical physicist by training, and author of “Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies.

In this episode, we discuss the book the Financial Times calls “the future of growth theory,” and discuss everything from economic development to America’s big tech firms to Friedrich Hayek.

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