8: Andrew Yang - The Dangerously Different Candidate The Media Wants You To Ignore
In this episode of the Portal, Eric checks in with his friend Andrew Yang to discuss the meteoric rise of his candidacy; one that represents an insurgency against a complacent political process that the media establishment doggedly tries to maintain. Andrew updates Eric on the state of his campaign and the status of the ideas the two had discussed as its foundation when it began. Eric presents Andrew with his new economic paradigm; moving from an 'is a [worker]' economy to a 'has a [worker]' economy. The two also discuss neurodiverse families as a neglected voting block, the still-strong but squelched-by-the-scientific-establishment STEM community in the US, and the need to talk fearlessly - and as a xenophile - about immigration as a wealth transfer gimmick.
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[00:00:08] Eric Weinstein: Hello, you found The Portal.I'm your host Eric Weinstein, and we'rehere this evening a little bit later thanusual with my friend andpresidential candidate, Andrew Yang.Andrew, welcome.
[00:00:17] Andrew Yang: Thank you for keeping the portal open late for me Eric-
[00:00:20] Eric Weinstein: Oh my God. Thanks for bringing the energy.You've just come fresh off this rally.MacArthur park.You're indefatigable, the Energizer bunny.
[00:00:27] Andrew Yang: Yes. We just had a six thousand person rally,seven thousand, eight thousand, I losttrack.I was counting manually.No, I wasn't, but,
[00:00:36] Eric Weinstein: And I should say that your hat is, make America think harder.
[00:00:39] Andrew Yang: Yep.
[00:00:40] Eric Weinstein: But it's-
[00:00:40] Andrew Yang: It's what Portal's all about I suspect-
[00:00:41] Eric Weinstein: It's math, well we're trying.We're trying.So we don't want to keep you up latebecause we want you super charged chargefor tomorrow.So let's just dig right into it.Um, Andrew, I'm remembering that we werehaving this dinner at, uh, Zazi, uh, inSan Francisco-
[00:00:56] Andrew Yang: Yes.
[00:00:56] Eric Weinstein: And you were impressing the hell out of my wife and myself, and Isaid, that guy's going places.She says, how candy is it?These are different times.
[00:01:05] Andrew Yang: Oh, thank you... [inaudible]
[00:01:06] Eric Weinstein: So am I right that this is uh, this is happening.
[00:01:09] Andrew Yang: Oh, it's happening-
[00:01:10] Eric Weinstein: Big time.
[00:01:11] Andrew Yang: I mean uh, our campaign is growing by leaps and bounds by all of themeasurements you would ordinarily measurea presidential campaign, crowd size,fundraising-
[00:01:22] Eric Weinstein: Fanaticism
[00:01:24] Andrew Yang: Well, that's, yeah, I guess
[00:01:25] Eric Weinstein: The Yang Gang is absolutely fanatical.Trust me, I encounter themall the time on social media.
[00:01:29] Andrew Yang: Well, I love the Yang Gang. Thank you yang Gang.Uh, yeah.The excitement is palpable and I love it.I mean, everywhere I go now people willjust say like, I support you and give me afist bump.And, uh, uh, and certainly when wecampaign, I mean, now we, we draw crowdsof either hundreds or thousandsdepending upon where we are.
[00:01:52] Eric Weinstein: It's amazing. Now, let's just dig into it.We're in this totally bizarre situation.I don't think the institutions havefaced up to just how dire our situation-
[00:02:02] Andrew Yang: No they have not.
[00:02:03] Eric Weinstein: is. When I go outside, for the most part, thephysical world is still humming along, buteverywhere else you can see the signs thatsomehow the superstructure that undergirdsthe simple physical realityhas really been fraying.Am I wrong about that?
[00:02:17] Andrew Yang: No, I agree with you, you know, and, and in many ways, if you'rejust living life not plugged into, um, allof the institutional decay, then you canjust go out and the sun's shining and thebirds are chirping, and, you know, um,like you said, the physical world isstill more or less sound, uh, barring theoccasional heat wave and, uh,unseasonal, uh, weather pattern.
[00:02:39] Eric Weinstein: So, the way I see it, effectively, what you have is a world ofinstitutions and you have thewrong people in the institutions.In fact, what's happened is somehow thatthe institutions were built in an erawhere things were growing rapidly.The growth pattern changed a heck ofa long time ago, almost 50 years ago.And so for what they've done is they,these institutions have selected forpeople who can continue to tell storiesabout growth and to kind of play games.To keep the illusion that everythingis still humming along as if it was thefifties and sixties, but thathasn't been true for a long time.How far off am I?
[00:03:19] Andrew Yang: Well, that's what the numbers say, and I'm a numbers guy where if youlook at the economy of the seventies youhad a certain level of buying power amongthe middle class in certain split interms of the gains from the economy amongdifferent parts of society, and then thelines started to diverge starting in theseventies and now they'reincredibly divergent where you havemiddle-class incomes essentially unchangedduring that time, and then people at thevery top level absorbing more of more andmore of the gains and the winner take alleconomy.But we all pretend like it's stillthe seventies, uh, and you can see thedisconnect in the lived experience of mostAmericans and most of the country wherethey're starting to catch on that thingshave changed, and I mean, it's dark, it'sdark.
[00:04:06] Eric Weinstein: Well, it's incredibly dark and it's worth laughing about, I think,for that reason, because if we don't havea sense of humor about it, we're not goingto be able to easily do the work.So I think whistling past the graveyardand gallows humor, definitely there's,there's a place for that.
[00:04:19] Andrew Yang: Well, I, you know, I, I naturally, um, I suppose people have saidto me that I have a very dystopian pointof view, but I tend to present it in apositive, upbeat manner.
[00:04:31] Eric Weinstein: I think you're trying to get us through a bottleneck that you and Iboth know is coming, and that, in essence,I mean, one of the things I'm veryconcerned about with you is that I don'twant you to promise the world that youknow how to do this.I want you just to say that I'm the bestperson to handle whatever's coming nextbecause nobody knows what to do.
[00:04:50] Andrew Yang: Well, certainly I would never claim omniscience so that I'm going to geteverything right.I mean, I make mistakes all the time.Just ask my wife, she'd be like, Hey,you screwed up just the other day.Uh, uh, but, uh, we, you and I weretalking before the cameras startedrolling, that I think it's going to be avery dark time and the goal has to be totry and survive the darkness, um, and nothave it produce existential level harm,uh, and I believe that I can assist inthat regard, but I certainly would neversay that I have all the answers or thatif I'm president, I, everything's going towork right.Because the fact is, uh.There, there are two things that I'vethought about, it's like, there's the waythe president makes you feel-
[00:05:31] Eric Weinstein: Right.
[00:05:32] Andrew Yang: And then there is actually solving problems on the ground, and rightnow, our experience of the presidencytends to be around the feeling.Like if Donald Trump does somethingirrational, it really does not affect myday to day existence, except for the factthat I see all the news reports and I'mlike, Oh, that guy, what's he doing?Um, you know, and thesame is true in reverse.Like if, uh, Barack Obama did somethingdecent and human, uh, it made me feelgood.Didn't necessarily, uh, you know,like change my commute, or anything-
[00:06:06] Eric Weinstein: Sure.
[00:06:07] Andrew Yang: Um, and so there's, there's the way it makes us feel, which I believeI can assist with just about immediatelyfor anyone who, you know, uh, wantssomeone who seems, um, solutions oriented-
[00:06:18] Eric Weinstein: Right, positive-
[00:06:19] Andrew Yang: And positive-
[00:06:20] Eric Weinstein: Data, data friendly-
[00:06:22] Andrew Yang: Yeah. Data friendly and genuinely wants tojust try and make people's lives better.I think that that would make people feelbetter, but then there's the reality oftrying to solve the problems from theperch at the top of the government-
[00:06:32] Eric Weinstein: Yeah
[00:06:33] Andrew Yang: And that's a very different process.I mean, I'm locked in on this idea of afreedom dividend in part because I thinkit's the most dramatically positivething we could do, that we could actuallyeffectuate in real life that would improvepeople's lives, that we can actually getdone.
[00:06:50] Eric Weinstein: Now, I am both positive and negative about it, as you probablyremember.What my belief is, is that wehave two claims as Americans.We have a claim as a contributor to theeconomy, and we have a claim as a soulbecause we happen to live here, and, um,as a soul, we have certain rights as ahuman being, just as a member of society.The weaker of the two is as a soul.But that claim still exists and in somesense, what you're calling the freedomdividend or universal basic income speaksto the idea that there are these twocompeting claims.Um, and you, you don't want to get rid ofthe incentive structure that allows peopleto, um, you know, take a dreamand turn it into something, and-
[00:07:35] Andrew Yang: I love the dream. I love work.I love entrepreneurship.
[00:07:37] Eric Weinstein: Yeah. And this is-
[00:07:38] Andrew Yang: I love people doing great stuff.
[00:07:40] Eric Weinstein: So, I think that there's a theory that there's sort of a series ofeconomic theories that haven'tyet actually been developed.And I think one of the things that'sreally important to me is that we retakethe institutions because what we've doneis we've selected for people who've usedvery simplistic models that have had ahuge effect on transferring wealth, buthave not actually mirroredour, our problems.We've selected for the people whohave, really don't tell the truth.And I'm very worried how, let's talk aboutyour, your, uh, your first term in office,which is going to happen.Who are you-
[00:08:17] Andrew Yang: One twenty-one, inauguration day.It's going to be a blast.You're going to be there, Pia is going tobe there, Yang Gang's going to be there,we're going to have a giant party in DC.
[00:08:25] Eric Weinstein: Wait, wait, wait, wait a second.Getting ahead of us.Who are you going to staff your governmentwith if you're going to have the sameproblem that everybody has, which onceyou've caught once the dog catches thecar, then what?You've got all of these institutions whichhave selected for economists who don'ttell the truth, who, who've selected forsociologists, who are friendly to theinstitutions and hostile to our people.What do we do?
[00:08:52] Andrew Yang: My team is going to be a blend of different people with differentexperience sets from differentindustries, even different ideologies.And I think you need some people who areDC insiders, who have relationships onCapitol Hill if you really want to getthings done because you're talking aboutpossibly the most institutionalizedtown in our society.And so if you get there and just like, I'mgoing to staff it with outsiders, then noone's going to get anything done.
[00:09:19] Eric Weinstein: This was, this was Trump's problem.
[00:09:21] Andrew Yang: Yeah. Like you're not gonna get anything done.You're just, you're just going to befighting with the system all the time thatthey're going to be like these antibodiesthat treat you like, uh, this hostileagent, and then they're going to justmake your life miserable, at every turn.I mean, that, that's justthe way organizations work.It's the way cultures work, um, and so youneed to have a blend of people that arelike, look, Hey, I get it.Uh, I'm a new figure and you're concerned,um, and one of my principles is that Idon't fault people for theincentives that have formed them.And, but by this, what I mean is likeif you show up in DC and there's someonewho's been part of the fabric of DC fortwenty plus years, and they are, um,someone who've been throughadministrations right and left to sort ofsurvive the whole thing, and their goal isto just keep that function going and makesure they get to retirement and whatnot,like, you can't blame that person forbeing part of that system because that'swhat their incentives have been for yearsand years.And so when you don't want to do is youdon't want to get there and be like, I'mgoing to like turn everything upside down.I'm going to like, attack everyone.
[00:10:30] Eric Weinstein: Well, the immune system will just actually, you know, themacrophages will descend on you and-
[00:10:35] Andrew Yang: Yeah, and then you'll never get anything done.
[00:10:36] Eric Weinstein: You'll never get anything done.So that was one of the answers that I wasdying to hear, which is, I'm going to haveto work with the infrastructurethat's already there.But then there's the second part of it,which is that I actually need to see somepeople permanently ejected, called out,chastised, who have been this class ofpeople misadvising our governmentthroughout the eighties, nineties, earlypart of this century.
[00:11:00] Andrew Yang: Well, and that's the dark part for all of us.That we sense that there is reallylimited accountability in DC.Like, you can give bad advice and screwsomething up and you keep your job, butyou know, your think tank's still there.Like, no one goes back and says, Hey,your white paper, it turns out it was, uh,completely mistaken, you know, like that.That's not the way that town works orthat you know, many, um, governmentinstitutions work.Um, so that's the, the challenge, is thatyou have to try and make changes withinthis incredibly institutionalizedenvironment, uh, and so you need acombination of peoplethat are well-intended.You bring them in and say, look, thisis going to feel like brain damage.You're going to come in-
[00:11:47] Eric Weinstein: Right.
[00:11:47] Andrew Yang: And you're going to be like, especially if you come in with abackground like you and I might have from,uh, technology or entrepreneurship whereyou look up and you'd be like, wait,you have how many people doing what?And you're not allowed to do what?You know?It's like the story of like healthcare.govwhere like the website didn't work in partbecause they hired a giant consultingfirm and they had all these bureaucraticprocesses and then when the websitedidn't work, you know what they did?They hired a bunch of Maverick SiliconValley types and threw the red tape outthe window and then did a repair job.Uh, so the, the goal has to be a bring inpatriots who understand that they're notgoing to have like an enjoyable, um, timetrying to turn the battleship, but that ifthey turn the battleship three degreesto the right, they can do more good-
[00:12:34] Eric Weinstein: Sort of.
[00:12:34] Andrew Yang: Than if they were in another environment where they turned it, youknow, like-
[00:12:37] Eric Weinstein: Andrew, I think we're in a much more revolutionary situation and inpart to energize people.I mean, what we're talking about is arevenge of competency, rev, a revenge ofgenius or revenge of people who actuallyknow how to do things and care enough, whoare ready and want to be mobilized andwant to be called up, who've been sitting,you know, with major league skillsin, in, in, in the minors or worse.And the fact is, is that what theinstitutions have done have inverted thecompetency hierarchy.I mean, you know, there's a guy that Idon't understand named Brad DeLong who waspart of the group that brought in NAFTA,and they help to sell this idea that freetrade was good for everybody.And then years later I hear, Oh, youknow what free trade actually is?There was an esoteric version, an exotericversion, the exoteric version we put ondisplay for everybody.We always knew that the, in the esotericversion that was shared in the seminarrooms, that it was a social Darwinistwelfare function that rewarded you by thecube of your wealth.And I'd just sit there with my jaw on thefloor thinking, what did you just say?And then he says like, I don't understand,maybe we hurt people in Ohio, but wehelped a lot of Mexican peasants.And I'm thinking, so you think thatthe American voters who you've calledjingoistic and, you know ultra, ultranationalists are going to be very happythat you've, you've denigrated theirpatriotism and now what they have to showfor it is, is that there are Mexicanpeasants who are significantly better off,which, I mean, who doesn't wantMexican peasants to be better off?But, for fff sake.I mean, this is, this is a classof people that needs to lose.
[00:14:18] Andrew Yang: Yeah. And a lot of them are goingto lose in my administration.Like I'm not a generallyvindictive person-
[00:14:24] Eric Weinstein: No it's not I, look-
[00:14:25] Andrew Yang: You know, so, so-
[00:14:26] Eric Weinstein: I hope he has a happy, wonderful life.
[00:14:28] Andrew Yang: Yeah, exactly. It's the kind of thing whereit's like, Hey, guess what?You had a lot of influenceand authority, uh-
[00:14:34] Eric Weinstein: It's over.
[00:14:35] Andrew Yang: Over an era. It's over now.Like, no, you know, not going to undulytry and make your life miserable oranything, but, you know-
[00:14:42] Eric Weinstein: Well, exactly. There's nothing vindictive.It's just, I don't want to watch the AlanGreenspan Show or the Larry Summers Showor the Paul Krugman Show.I don't really need, there's no reasonthat these people get to be in every scenein every decade ad infinitum.
[00:14:58] Andrew Yang: Yeah. Again, like I said, there's really noaccountability for being wrong, and so ifsomeone presided over an era where, youknow, there was epic mismanagement, youknow, we still are askingthem what the heck they think.
[00:15:17] Eric Weinstein: Can I hit you with another one?That's really comical for me?
[00:15:19] Andrew Yang: Sure.
[00:15:20] Eric Weinstein: Um, I watch the graphics that have your name in it, in relationshipto the other competitors, and I know whothe networks are afraid of, and they'reafraid of you.They'll, they'll do a linear perspectivegraphic and you'll be the guy on the veryfar end and then thepresenter will stand in front
[00:15:36] Andrew Yang: I have noticed that, that does seem to be a, something of a
[00:15:38] Eric Weinstein: Well, I don't think you should be bringing it up.I think the job is for people like me tobe bringing this up because they've beenplaying this game, with like Ron Paul,with Bernie Sanders, and I, I don't knowif you're familiar in magic withthe concept of a magician's choice.
[00:15:53] Andrew Yang: No, I'm not.
[00:15:54] Eric Weinstein: So a magician engages in a trick with magician's choice.Let's say that I want you to choose, um,C out of A, B, and C, so I give you theoption.Pick two.And you pick A and B, and Isay, okay, I'll take those away.So now we'll look at C, or if you pick Aand C, I'll say, okay, we'll take one ofthose two and we'll, we'll throw a B away,now, which one do you, so eventually youthink you've made a decision, but in fact,the whole game was, is that the magicianwas pushing you without your knowledge.This is what I-
[00:16:24] Andrew Yang: This is a media company's choice.
[00:16:25] Eric Weinstein: This is what I think, it's media companies choice.And we've got a situation where my feelingis that the more the Yang Gang can findand this, this goes for Tulsi Gabbard orwhoever else might be sidelined by thisgame.My feeling is is that what you're on rightnow is the equivalent of pirate radio.This is samizdat for the Americanpeople, and we should be-
[00:16:47] Andrew Yang: It's one reason I'm here, man.
[00:16:48] Eric Weinstein: It's one of the reasons that we need to make sure that thesechannels are opened to the very peoplethat the DNC doesn't want running or thenetworks don't want running.And the thing that I hate is, is thatwe're in this William Tell situation wherewe've got to run against our own party.
[00:17:06] Andrew Yang: Yeah. Well, you know, again-
[00:17:08] Eric Weinstein: And you may not want to say that, and I understand why, but I'llbe damned if I'm going to listen to asituation in which you were, you're shutout of airtime and you're pushedoff to the side of the graphic.
[00:17:19] Andrew Yang: Thank you Eric. And I can say that, uh, this man is thehead of pirate radio for the 21st century,certainly one of the high chiefs of it.Um, and to me, again, you know, you havethese institutions with certain incentivesand certain relationships, and they'regoing to be naturally protective of thefolks that they think are on the insideand be naturally very, uh, leery or thepeople that they think are on the outside.But one of the themes of this era is that,uh, there are more of us on the outsidethat are catching on, and that thestranglehold that media companies had onour attention, um, hasweakened significantly.It's one reason why someone like me cando so well in this environment or thatsomeone like you can become thisindependent intellectual voice thatdoesn't need to, you know, like get aCNN contributor contract or whatever.
[00:18:19] Eric Weinstein: That was very funny. One of the members of the Washington Post,which you know, says that democracy diesin darkness, that's their tagline, but oneof them said that everything you, Eric,you have to say that's new isn't true.And everything you saythat's true isn't new.So it was like remarkably, there'snothing I can possibly contribute to theconversation.It's just-
[00:18:38] Andrew Yang: That seems so unlikely.
[00:18:39] Eric Weinstein: I mean statistically, it's pretty hard to imagine that it's aperfect-
[00:18:42] Andrew Yang: Everything's been said, Eric, just give up now.
[00:18:44] Eric Weinstein: Yeah, and the only stuff that hasn't is wrong.So, um, what I'd love to do is to talkabout some, some sort of new ideas, um, toundergird some of the economic things thatyou and I have traditionally talked aboutmore before your meteoricrise, so let's dig into it.
[00:19:01] Andrew Yang: Yeah, please.
[00:19:01] Eric Weinstein: Okay. So one of the things that Pia-
[00:19:03] Andrew Yang: Also I want to say that I quote this man all the time, I've learneda great deal from him and his wife, uh,and that he's one of the most profoundeconomic thinkers that I've encountered.And I've met a lot of fucking people.So, I just wanna-
[00:19:17] Eric Weinstein: You're very kind, sir. And one of the things that I would say isthat even when I disagree with you, evenon your signature stuff, that the wayI really view you is is that you're thecandidate who is most open to newideas, and you're always up for a gooddiscussion, a good argument, and you'll gowith whatever's best, and I find that youare as close to non-egoicas anyone I've met running.I mean, you really are, seem tobe running out of compulsion.
[00:19:42] Andrew Yang: Yeah. Well, you know, uh, I, I don't haveany native desire to be president.
[00:19:47] Eric Weinstein: I didn't felt that you ever did.And it was one of the reasons Ilove the fact that you're running.
[00:19:51] Andrew Yang: Yeah. I think my, one of my main qualificationsto be president is that I just don'tsocialize that much in the sense of likeif you have me around a bunch of fancystuff, like it reallydoesn't do anything for me.Like, you know, as president, I wouldlove to do away with a lot of the-
[00:20:08] Eric Weinstein: You do like geeking out,
[00:20:09] Andrew Yang: Like the ceremony, like it seems like, um, like it'scounterproductive.Um, and no, I, I ha, I happen to thinkthat might help me do a better job.
[00:20:20] Eric Weinstein: So let's try to geek out on a couple of ideas that Pia and I'vebeen playing with, see what you think.
[00:20:24] Andrew Yang: Yeah. I love it.
[00:20:25] Eric Weinstein: Okay. So one of the things that we've beenthinking about is some people starttalking about the difference between theshareholder economy of the past and thestakeholder economy of the future.
[00:20:35] Andrew Yang: Yup
[00:20:36] Eric Weinstein: Um, there are other issues about the dignity of work and, um, whathappens when machines replace you?You can't necessarily defend yourselfeconomically, but you still have a reasonto get up in the morning and do something.
[00:20:50] Andrew Yang: Oh we hope you have a reason that you get up and do something.
[00:20:52] Eric Weinstein: Amen. Now, the thing is, uh, we've been thinkingabout this paradigm from object orientedprogramming, which is the differencebetween is-a versus has-a.So, if a Lamborghini can play a, an FMbroadcast, uh, through its speaker, youcould technically find out that by somedefinition, the Lamborghini is a radio.But that seems absurd.It's much more sane tosay that it has a radio.Just the way it has a transmission.We make this error, I thinkwhen we talk about workers.We say that person is a worker, they area brick layer or, or a teamster, you know?
[00:21:34] Andrew Yang: Completely.
[00:21:35] Eric Weinstein: And that what we need to do is to readjust our model of an economicagent to a has-a model.And so the idea is that you may havea breadwinner, and you also have acontributor, and you also have a consumer,and therefore what it is that we do allday long in the face of the, of theautomation that may or may not get here indribs and drabs or come as a wave, wedon't know, that we need to have a modelof humans that recognizes a need to beactive in the economy whether or not themarginal product of our labor issufficient to take care of our family.
[00:22:13] Andrew Yang: I love it so much and I couldn't agree more.
[00:22:15] Eric Weinstein: Okay. So that's, that would be the kind of aresearch program that we would love to tryto see undergirding a new economy thatrecognizes a much richer concept, uh, ofan agent, um, but without it, I'm worriedthat, that, you know, the, the sort of,the power of that Chicago-style thinkingpushes us back into humans as widgets.
[00:22:37] Andrew Yang: Well, humans is, widgets is predominant, uh, and you can see it atevery turn, where even if you ask a kid,what do you want to be when you grow up?It's, you know, they'll say, I want to bea fireman, astronaut, baker, a scientist,whatever it happens to be.And by the numbers, we are more workobsessed now than we perhaps have everbeen, um, and trying tobreak up our identities-
[00:23:02] Eric Weinstein: Sure.
[00:23:02] Andrew Yang: Into several aspects where you take a trucker who's on the road awayfrom his family four days a week andsay, you know, your a dad, you're like aconsumer of, of hunting gear or you know,like you, um, there's more to you thanbeing a trucker when theyhave shaped their life-
[00:23:26] Eric Weinstein: Right.
[00:23:26] Andrew Yang: Around being a trucker. Because you know, it's literally, you'rebehind the wheel for fourteen hours a day.You get out, you sleep at a rest stop.I mean, these are all consuming types ofexistences that are filled by hundreds ofthousands of american men, andyou know, 94% of them are men.So, you know, it's not like, Oh, he justthinks they're all men, it's like, comeon.94% of them are.Uh, and so if you were to go to thatperson and then try and have them adopt amore holistic identity when they haveessentially shaped their entire existencearound, uh, their role in this real life,uh, like almost circulatory system, whereit's like they're piloting this bloodvessel that has a bunch of, um, Home Depotcrap in the back or whatever the heckthey're transporting on like a dailybasis.Um, having them have other aspects oftheir identity that they value to a pointwhere you could remove the work componentand they would, you know, be cool withgoing home, and, um, spending time withtheir, their families, um, is pretty muchthe opposite of the way ourcivilization functions right now.
[00:24:42] Eric Weinstein: Well we saw these deaths of despair, uh, discussed by economistsin, in the, you know, the heartland ofAmerica, we saw this demographic, um,crisis that happened when the SovietUnion fell apart with, um, you know, themortality crisis.Uh, all sorts of people were dying ofalcoholism, heart attacks and stress.So this is a really serious thing we haveto figure out about the restoration ofhuman meaning and dignity asdifferent from employment.
[00:25:13] Andrew Yang: You had something like a dozen disenfranchised taxi cab drivers andlimo drivers kill themselves, uh, youknow, last year, like one of whom killedhimself in front of city hall.I mean, like did his self-destructioncaused meaningful ripples in our society?No.Most people watching this andlistening to this right now.It's like, Oh, that shit happened?Like, you know, like, but there's thissort of self destruction is happening allthe time, and most of them are just menquietly drinking themselves to death intheir homes and thenyou know, they're dead.Uh, but-
[00:25:46] Eric Weinstein: Well, I love the idea that you're talking about compassion for menbecause one of the things that I'm findingis that it's very tough to talk in a, ina, in a world that is currently exploringthis idea of toxic masculinity from someplace that it might've been reasonablydefined in blowing it up past, uh, pastthat point.It's a very dangerous thing to see a worldthat sort of thinks that, you know, allstraight, white guys are okay when infact, many of them are very vulnerableand, and-
[00:26:16] Andrew Yang: By the numbers,
[00:26:17] Eric Weinstein: By the numbers. Right.
[00:26:18] Andrew Yang: You know, and yeah. It's so, uh, the, and this is one of thethemes that when you talk about trying todefine people, um, by different aspects oftheir life that might have work as one ofthem, but like others, the fact is, Ithink men struggle more with breaking upour identities, um, then women do.Because if you were to say to a woman, uh,Hey, you're a parent, you're, you know, asister, you're, um, a nurse, you're like,all of these things, I think they would bemore ready to embrace some of the non-workaspects of their identity, in part becauseof the cultural load that is placed ondifferent types of people in our society.
[00:27:01] Eric Weinstein: Yeah but I think they're facing a big one coming up, which is thatyou're going to have a huge cohort ofmillennial females who pretty much would,would love to be in a situation withmeaningful work, but also with a familyraising children of their own.And there's, first of all, isn'tnecessarily a supply of guys who can riseto the, I mean, you know, it doesn't haveto be traditional households, but a lot ofit is going to be male, femalebreadwinner, somebody stays at home, itmight be the woman who's in the workforce,might be the guy staying home, whatever.The fact is a lot of these families aren'tgoing to form because we're not in aposition to say, I can afforda thirty year mortgage.I can see enough stabilityin my future, I can-
[00:27:45] Andrew Yang: Yeah, and that's part of the thing is that these challenges face us allin different ways, and it's really, to me,counterproductive to disastrous, to singleout a particular subset ups andbe like, Hey, you've got it wrong.You're okay.You know, that's a legitimate, uh, youknow, like thing to be upset about that isnot, I mean, like if, if someone, um, isstruggling, like it ends up reaching, uh,different groups in different ways.
[00:28:14] Eric Weinstein: Right.
[00:28:15] Andrew Yang: And you can't say it's like, Oh, your struggles are somehow more, um,valid than others.So just to, to, to wrap around thisthought, so I think that the division ofour identities intolike work and non-work-
[00:28:30] Eric Weinstein: Right.
[00:28:30] Andrew Yang: Uh, it's one of the greatest things we have to overcome.And by the numbers, if you lose your joband you're a man, um, you tend to haverelatively, uh, self-destructive patternsof behavior manifest, um, relativelyconsistently and quickly, where unemployedmen volunteer less than employed mendespite having much morefree time, as an example.Uh, substance abuse tends to go up,uh, in very self destructive behaviors.A lot of time spent on the computer goesup, which, so that's a combination of, um,gaming and some other things, uh, and-
[00:29:14] Eric Weinstein: Porn.
[00:29:14] Andrew Yang: And porn, I'm sure is, you know, I didn't, I mean, I kind of impliedit and, but I was thinking it-
[00:29:20] Eric Weinstein: No no no, look, this, this is a free radio station, effectively, andwe're going to be able to say that that'sone of the things that may be derangingus.We don't know what its effects are.
[00:29:29] Andrew Yang: Yeah, no, so, uh, and that women have struggles obviously, but thestruggles take a different form in termsof, and the numbers show that women aremore adaptable to non-work idleness inthat they will not share the same patternsof self-destructive behavior that men do.Now, of course, women obviously, you know,hate to be unemployed, but the, that, thething that I joke about that's sort oftrue is that women however, are nevertruly idle in the sense that they alwaysfind like, um, like, like ways to be, um,productive contributors in a way thatmen struggle with, in many respects.
[00:30:07] Eric Weinstein: So kin work for example, where you're working for your family,taking care of elderly parents, your kids,somebody else's kids, these things arepart of the fabric of civil society.One of the questions I have is, shouldwe talk about coming up with some newfinancial products that get women themoney they need during the period of theirlife when they might needextra help in the house?When they, when the binds that come fromcaring for elderly parents or children arestarting to knock them out of theworkforce and trying to figure out how tomake some kind of creative structure tohelp, um, shift the burdens to times oftheir life when they can better afford it.What do you think about that?
[00:30:50] Andrew Yang: Yeah, so just to sort of show the other side of the coin, so menvolunteer less if they're unemployed thanemployed, even though that doesn't makeany sense in terms of their free time.Uh, women show higher rates ofvolunteerism and going back to school whenthey have, um, more, more time.Um, so it's just that the numbers showclear patterns of, like, differentresponses to, um, non-workrelated time or or idleness.Um, but I, I'm with you on the factthat right now trying to map everyone'seconomic prospects to the, the market, themarket's valuation of our wages, uh, hasall sorts of, um, distorting effects, and,uh, tend to, what you're suggesting thatwe should just start putting money intopeople's hands at various points in theirlives.I mean, that's really one of theunderpinnings of the freedom dividend.You know, my universal basic income-
[00:31:45] Eric Weinstein: I see that that's a part of it.
[00:31:46] Andrew Yang: Yeah. It's like you put 1000 bucks a month intopeople's hands and then, um, that wouldallow us all to make different types ofdecisions, uh, really from almost day oneof our adulthood.
[00:32:02] Eric Weinstein: Let's try a few other things that I think might be interesting.One thing that, uh, wins presidentialcampaigns that we don't talk much about isdemographers.Demographers are sometimes asked, Tell mesome group of people that we don't knowabout as a voting block thatnobody's figured out how to speak to.And I think I have a couple of these thatare candidates and I'd like to bounce themoff-
[00:32:24] Andrew Yang: Oh please, yeah, I'd like this, maybe I'll find a new audience to-
[00:32:27] Eric Weinstein: Well then, okay. So the first one that I have, you know, sothese are things like soccer moms was onefrom years past, or exurbs between ruraland suburbs where people didn't realizethat there were intermediate places.So here's one that I think ishuge that hasn't been identified.Parents of super smart kids that have somekind of a learning difference that causesthem to wildly underperform in school.This is something that makes mecrazy because I think it's all over.Once you start seeing it,you see it everywhere.Parents are tearing their hair out-
[00:33:02] Andrew Yang: Yup.
[00:33:02] Eric Weinstein: Teachers can't handle the kids-
[00:33:04] Andrew Yang: Nope.
[00:33:04] Eric Weinstein: And there's just this maddening loss of human brilliance that isflushed down the toilet.
[00:33:11] Andrew Yang: Have you come up with a name for this group?
[00:33:13] Eric Weinstein: Um, well, um, I often refer to these as kids with learningsuperpowers, and I talk about teachingdisabilities, which is the more dangerousversion of this, that because peopledon't fit into the notion of what can beeducated by one teacher teaching a room ofthirty people to make the economics work,um, my belief is that, and I'll come upwith a name for it for you, but I want totalk to all of the parents who are leadinglives of despair, saying, why is my kidwildly underperforming and Iknow how smart this kid is?Why are we doing this to ourselvesand why will no one speak to it?This is, by the way, this is me andit's been in my family for four or fivegenerations.
[00:33:55] Andrew Yang: It's me too
[00:33:55] Eric Weinstein: Really?
[00:33:56] Andrew Yang: Well, yeah. I'm very public about the factthat, um, my older son is autistic-
[00:34:01] Eric Weinstein: I know that.
[00:34:01] Andrew Yang: And that when, um, we put him in various environments, I mean, therewere very, very sharp struggles.Uh, and to me, atypical is the newnormal, like neurologically atypical.And you're right that as soon as youstart seeing it, you see it everywhere.And that the facts show thatit's incredibly commonplace.And at this point, I think most American,um, families have someone other in thefamily or someone in their social circlesthat resembles the description, um, thatyou just put out there of this group.To me, a lot of it is thatour institutions just aren't,aren't well designed for people withdifferent learning profiles or differentapproaches to the world-
[00:34:47] Eric Weinstein: And yet these are very often the people who are going to foundnew fields, who are going to find newdrugs for us, who are going to think insuch different a- uncorrelated fashions,that these are very often the people thatI value the most, and, you never knowwhether the thing's going to work outbecause the kid every, every yearis sustaining more and more trauma.Whereas these other kids, it's like,you know, I remember looking at theneurotypicals is as if, if I was likeCinderella, watching all the other sistersgo to the ball and I wassitting there scrubbing dishes.Like what?You know, every conferencewas, Eric is underperforming.Eric can't meet his potential.Eric [inaudible].You know, at some point it's just like youdon't realize how much damage you're doingto maybe as much as afifth of the country.
[00:35:36] Andrew Yang: Well, someone described it as a, like you're getting regular, low gradepsychic beating.
[00:35:42] Eric Weinstein: It's pretty good.
[00:35:44] Andrew Yang: And, and that's something that you obviously wouldn't wish uponanyone, much less little kids.
[00:35:50] Eric Weinstein: Yeah, and by the way, the, the autism thing, you know, I don't knowwhether your child is high functioning or,or not, but it's certainly the case that alot of us have the idea that we almostdon't want to deal with people who aren'tin some sense on the spectrum or havingsome kind of ability to focus and to, um,work with abstractions.Very often I think of, you know, I, I'm ontop of this, I'm colorblind and I alwaysmake the point that Isee camouflage better-
[00:36:19] Andrew Yang: Did you know that you're wearing bright purple right now?
[00:36:22] Eric Weinstein: Stop it. That used to happen.I used to dress myself before I let mygirlfriend, now wife make these decisions.I would make terrible decisions.
[00:36:31] Andrew Yang: I'm just kidding, you look great.Yeah he looks great, I'm sureI have something to do with it.
[00:36:35] Eric Weinstein: Um, so that, that, that would be one group.Here's another one that Ithink is really important.Now, I know that you are the child ofimmigrants and that, you know, I'm ofcourse married to an immigrant.Um, the temptation is for us to sort of bevery defensive of our immigrants becausewe have some forces at the moment thathave become very jingoistic, and I thinkthat that's right.But I also think that we have to recognizethat there is a story about immigrationthat's very unpleasant and ugly, whichis how Americans have used immigration toredistribute wealth amongst ourselves,and effectively the immigrant is used as atool of re redistribution, then people getangry or protective of the tool, and oneof the things that I think, that's veryimportant, is, is that a huge chunk ofAmerica is highly xenophilic.They like foreigners, theylike traveling abroad.They like food, music.
[00:37:35] Andrew Yang: You probably read, uh, Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt.You're probably friends with John, right?
[00:37:39] Eric Weinstein: Yeah.
[00:37:40] Andrew Yang: Yeah. I figured.Okay, continue, cause thisis what it reminds me of.
[00:37:42] Eric Weinstein: Okay. The thing is, is that xenophilicrestrictionists are a good chunk of thiscountry.If you do a poll, and you allow forall four boxes xenophilic, xenophobic,restrictionist, expansionist, xenophilicrestrictionism is a giant cohort.Nobody speaks to it because if you sayanything about restrictionism, the mediawill instantaneouslylabel you a xenophobe.Can we at least distinguish the idea ofthe immigrants as souls, like ourselves,who have been an important part of ournational tapestry, together with the factthat very often they are used asinstruments of transfers of wealth?And-
[00:38:27] Andrew Yang: I agree-
[00:38:27] Eric Weinstein: And that we should be angry at our fellow Americans whocynically use immigration and hide behindthe immigrant to take money from onesector and put it into their own pockets.
[00:38:37] Andrew Yang: Or you should not be angry at someone who's angry about the, uh,immigrants.
[00:38:42] Eric Weinstein: Well this is the thing-
[00:38:43] Andrew Yang: Because, because there is something, like you said, it's like, youknow, in some ways someone can have a verylegitimate grievance about the fact thatthere have been these, uh, instruments of,of wealth transfer that have been importedinto our midst.
[00:38:57] Eric Weinstein: So I call these the Americans who redistribute our wealth, uh,immigrant entrepreneurs, right?And the ideas that, if they could usepuppy dogs to redistribute our wealth,they'd use puppy dogs becausenobody can be against puppies.Right?And so it's a very cynicaluse of the Statue of Liberty.Something that's verydifficult to talk about.But it's something that I've been talkingabout for a while because I think thatI'm, I'm so far in the xenophiliccategory, it would be comical if somebodydecided I actually had a problem.So I, I've been bold and I haven't reallyhad the problem, but most Americans feelvery uncomfortable talking aboutimmigration because they have twodifferent feelings.They one, have a really good feeling aboutthe person that they know who happened tocome from Uganda or India, and they havethe sense that something is wrong with thestory.We're going to have to disentangle it andrestore something that makes us feel goodabout it rather than uncomfortable.
[00:39:48] Andrew Yang: I agree.
[00:39:49] Eric Weinstein: Great.
[00:39:50] Andrew Yang: And, uh, you know, I think, um, I may be able to help in this regard.
[00:39:55] Eric Weinstein: I think you're perfectly positioned for this.
[00:39:57] Andrew Yang: You know, part, I'm the son of immigrants who loves, uh, this country.He loves that immigrants have been anincredible source of dynamism, but, uh,you know, you can't have openborders and unrestricted immigration.I understand the sentiment where peopleare struggling with, um, the fact that ourcountry has brought many people in eitherintentionally or unintentionally, uh, inways that are changing, uh, our economyand society in ways that in like, somepeople have legitimate, um, problems with.
[00:40:37] Eric Weinstein: Yeah. I just think, I think we need to beable to have an open conversation aboutdifficult topics aroundthis and pull them apart.And the fact is we need, we need peopleto feel comfortable that it's okay to feeluncomfortable as long as you're trying toexplore it with-- The current president,for my money, gets way tooclose to jingoistic sentiment.
[00:40:57] Andrew Yang: And that's one of the natural reactions is that if the current presidentsays one thing, then, you know, the rightthing to do is say the exact opposite.But then the nuance gets lost and thenunfortunately we end up falling into,these polarized camps
[00:41:11] Eric Weinstein: That's why I feel like, we have, it's so important not only to defeatthe current president, but also to defeatthe kleptocratic center of, uh, of our ownparty as well as the regressive left thatproposes as the progressive left, and thento take care of the constituents that arecurrently all over the spectrum in a newworld, and this is one of the things Ilove about your slogan, which is not leftor right, but forward, right?
[00:41:38] Andrew Yang: Yes. That's the slogan.
[00:41:40] Eric Weinstein: Yeah. And that that thing is, is thatit's moot, it's a question of-
[00:41:43] Andrew Yang: It also happens to be the truth.It's not just like-
[00:41:44] Eric Weinstein: I know, that that's the thing.It's moving out of Flatland, like we'vebeen, we've been given this smorgasbord ofbad options and just say, Hey, Idon't think I want to dine from there.I think these thingsare available off menu.Do you mind if I, if I, you know, like forexample, Starbucks I think will sell you ashort cup of coffee, but theywon't put it on the menu.You have to know that to ask for it.So I like to think of you as the guy whosomehow knows that there are things thataren't on the menu.
[00:42:09] Andrew Yang: I am animal style at In-N-Out.I am, Andrew Yang is animal style.Uh-
[00:42:16] Eric Weinstein: Let me give you-
[00:42:17] Andrew Yang: I agree that I can change the political conversation, uh, in a way thatmany Americans find veryexciting and productive.Uh, because 25% of Americans arepolitically disengaged, including, I'msure, some people watching this, um, andI believe it's up to 48% self-identify asindependent, which is almost twicewhat identify as either Democratic orRepublican-
[00:42:37] Eric Weinstein: I'm so close to identifying as independent.I, I can't stand my own party, but myfeeling is I have to stay there and say,Hey, we're out of control, in orderto save the structure, because I, I-
[00:42:50] Andrew Yang: Well, the two party system, I mean, I agree.That's why I'm why I'mrunning as a Democrat.In part it's like, well,you have these two parties.Maybe you can turn one of them into like ahighly functioning party with great ideasand the rest of it, I mean, that'slike an easier solution than-
[00:43:04] Eric Weinstein: Look Andrew, what I really want to do is I want to ret- I want theinsurgency that you and I have been sortof a part of, this loose collection ofpeople who are thinking completely off themenu, to start retaking our institutions.We always had heterodox people of highcaliber who are, you know, effectivelyheretics housed inside the Harvards andMITs and Caltechs, and I think we'vegotten rid of that kind of-
[00:43:35] Andrew Yang: Or they are there. Then they're scared shitless to, like,say the wrong thing or else they'll get-
[00:43:39] Eric Weinstein: Well, do you remember the time, you remember that situation whereMIT turned over Aaron Schwartz?
[00:43:44] Andrew Yang: I shouldn't laugh, cause, I mean, it's dark.
[00:43:46] Eric Weinstein: But we should laugh.
[00:43:47] Andrew Yang: No, no, I mean-
[00:43:48] Eric Weinstein: I, I'm, I'm for laughing at the dark.
[00:43:50] Andrew Yang: Yeah, I laugh at the dark, it's, you know-
[00:43:53] Eric Weinstein: It's like everybody knows that, but you're not allowed to do it inpublic.So screw that.You know, we had this situationwith this guy, Aaron Schwartz-
[00:43:59] Andrew Yang: Did you know Aaron?
[00:44:00] Eric Weinstein: No. Did you?
[00:44:01] Andrew Yang: I've, you know, he's a friend of friends.
[00:44:03] Eric Weinstein: Yeah. You know, and this guy almost certainlywas a pretty pure hearted human being whowas fighting the good fight.MIT is supposed to shelter those people,and instead they cooperate, you know, inturning them over.
[00:44:17] Andrew Yang: As soon as you get the institutional incentives in a particulardirection, and like, I mean, this isnot near, and this is just like recent,because in recent memory, but you know, Istuck up for Shane Gillis, this comedianthat, um, had said-
[00:44:30] Eric Weinstein: I saw that, and the the idea that, you know, you were in aposition to say, look,I'm the candidate, uh-
[00:44:36] Andrew Yang: He personally actually, yeah, and so if anyone should be offended, it'sme.And so I think he shouldn'tlose his job over it, well-
[00:44:42] Eric Weinstein: Well, this is the thing, the quality of mercy, or forgiveness or,um, just recognition, uh, that thereshould be space for remorse andredemption, this is what makes so much ofthe intolerant left, feel cult-like, and Ithought what you were doing was youwere showing the best aspects of a trulycompassionate left.
[00:45:05] Andrew Yang: I was trying to be a human being.You know, like you looked at it andbeing like, well, like is that a job?Losing a fence?But then the fact that NBC ended up firinghim was entirely consistent with ourcorporate incentives, because if you lookat it and say like, well, is this personthat we've invested a lot in that'ssome, a revenue generator for us?No, because he hadn'teven worked for one day.It's like our corporate incentives to canhim and thoughts like, you know, put anend to any controversy or advertiser orwhatnot, that would be troubled by it.Yeah.So it's like, so if you'd asked me, it'slike, Hey, do you think he's going to befired, I'd be like, Yeah, he's almostcertainly going to be fired because that'swhat the corporate incentives [inaudible].
[00:45:44] Eric Weinstein: Well I understand that, so one of the things that I'm reallyinterested in doing-
[00:45:47] Andrew Yang: But it, it still made me sad. Like I was like, Hey, this would beunusually, uh, human and forgiving if theydecided to-
[00:45:55] Eric Weinstein: Well, they lost a teachable moment because one of the thingsthat's going on is that so much of theinformation economy is very, very marginalin the sense that you'realmost producing a public good.So for example, I slapads on my podcasts, um-
[00:46:10] Andrew Yang: Buy stuff from his sponsors, no I'm kidding.
[00:46:12] Eric Weinstein: What I'm trying, well, what I'm trying to do is I've tried twonew models, one of which I'm callingreverse sponsorship, where I shout outsome great company, uh, which doesn't knowthat I'm going to say something positiveand maybe they become sponsors, maybethey don't, but the other one isrisk-vertisers, where people get to knowme over long periods of time, and the hopeis that you're going to say, look, you'renot going to catch me being horrible andbigoted and all of these things, butI might say something dangerous, likesomething that I just said aboutimmigration, and will you make sure thatyou will not run away from me during theperiod where the mob descends and thefrenzy is at its worst?Right?Because if we don't fix the economicmodels, we can't have deeper discussionsbecause everybody's going to runaway at the first sight of trouble.And so part of what we're trying todo ultimately with the advertising-
[00:47:00] Andrew Yang: Look at this, pirate radio, pre-advertising-
[00:47:03] Eric Weinstein: What do you think?
[00:47:04] Andrew Yang: I mean, I love it. It's like leave it to you to tryand solve that kind of problem.
[00:47:08] Eric Weinstein: Alright, I've got some other things that I want to talk about indemographics.
[00:47:11] Andrew Yang: Oh yeah, please.
[00:47:12] Eric Weinstein: Okay-
[00:47:12] Andrew Yang: So, so, so let me first say, I am a parent of a neurologically atypicalyoung person.Um, I agree with you that I think thatmany of the people who have a differentperspective, are going to end up beingcontributors in highly distinctive ways.I will say that even kids who are notgoing to be contributors in highlydistinctive ways still deserve schoolsthat can support and accommodate them.Um, and, that to me, these kids are like,the shorthand I use is that they're spiky.You know, it's like you have, um, veryhigh capacities in some respects or adifferent point of view, and thenreal challenges in other respects.And so if I send you into a socialenvironment where there are thirty kidsfor one teacher, you're going tohave a terrible, terrible time.And you know, and, andthat's 100% predictable.And so if then you have like a criticalmass of people that resemble this, uh,then you should try and design aninstitution that takes that into account.Um, and I feel so deeply for familiesthat struggle with this, like you strugglewith, it sounds likeyou've experienced it.
[00:48:19] Eric Weinstein: Oh absolutely.
[00:48:19] Andrew Yang: I have struggled with it. And you, and Pia, you know, and me andEvelyn, like we have an unusual level ofability to try and, you know, managesituation, um, and I meet single momsaround the country who have, you know,autistic or, um, neurologically atypicalkids that don't have the means and theylive in a part of the country that doesnot have like a lot of resources inplace for kids that are different.And, it breaks my heart.Like it, the fact that there are all ofthese kids that are heading into theseschools that are getting, um, you know,more than low grade psychic beatings.
[00:48:55] Eric Weinstein: Oh my God, this is why I leave my, my DMs open on Twitter, and thisis one of the number one things I do itfor, is people write to me and they say, Iknow you're really busy, but I just wantto tell you, nobody had ever spoken to mysituation.You're proud of somethingI'm always ashamed of, and-
[00:49:10] Andrew Yang: I guarantee you I'm not the first presidential candidate with autismin the family.
[00:49:13] Eric Weinstein: Yeah.
[00:49:13] Andrew Yang: And the fact that I'm on the first talking about it is, to me, longoverdue and ridiculous.Uh, and-
[00:49:20] Eric Weinstein: Amen.
[00:49:20] Andrew Yang: And you know, and I get, I get some of the same messages that youget, but you know, like I want to actuallytry and solve the problem for thosefamilies.I mean, it makes me feel glad that theyfeel spoken to and that they realizethey're not the onlyones going through it.
[00:49:32] Eric Weinstein: I want to see, I want to see more money going to figure out how dowe diversify the classroom of the future-
[00:49:39] Andrew Yang: Yeah.
[00:49:39] Eric Weinstein: So that the load isn't born by people who don't fit the economicsof the teaching model.
[00:49:44] Andrew Yang: Yes. And part of it is that, um, that we regardthe education of our kids as a cost, andso then the city then is like, well, Ican't afford to have like a teacher foryour, uh, neurologically atypical kid, um,and so what we have to do is, talk aboutinverting the model, is you have to lookat the education of our children as aninvestment.Uh, and then you say, what's that?Like, these kids require, you know, likeX and Y, and then we should make thatinvestment with the certainty, and I shareyour confidence in this, that you have acouple of those kids do something highlyatypical and remarkable, then that paysfor whatever, uh, support, or,teacher, or infrastructure-
[00:50:27] Eric Weinstein: This is an underground movement.I mean, I just had a, a very well knownprofessor, uh, reveal to me that hecouldn't read papers, in his field,I mean, he just can't read, you know?And he has to figure out whatthe paper is likely to be saying.There is such a weird world of,of, um, unexpected achievement.
[00:50:50] Andrew Yang: And this is the demon, the demon that we have to, um, slay anyways isthat, um, the negative externalities arenot being encompassed within the budgetsof various institutions.
[00:51:03] Eric Weinstein: Very well said.
[00:51:03] Andrew Yang: But, but then also where foregoing all of the potential positivevalue creation or generation from properinvestment in our human capital, um, andanother dimension too, and this is neitherhere nor there, but I was just with DeanKamen in New Hampshire and he wastalking about how the FDA, like all theirincentives are just to likeregulate the shit out of anything.And then I said to him, I was like, youknow, what they should start measuring isthe foregone utility of keeping somethingaway from, uh, from people, like if youhad something and-
[00:51:35] Eric Weinstein: What is the opportunity cost of the regulations?
[00:51:37] Andrew Yang: Yeah. He had like, he had like this prostheticlimb that he was trying to give to vets,and the FDA was making it really hard forhim to do so, and he was like, are youkidding me?I'm trying to give limbs toVets who've been amputated.And so by your making it hard for me todo so, like you multiply like all of thelimbless Vets who aren't getting a limb,like, you know, it's like, so if you hadthat as like an actual measurement forthe FDA, it's like you need to have thesecompanies internalize the negativeexternalities of things like pollution andthe rest of it, but you almost need likeour institutions, like our schools and ourregulatory agencies to start trying tosomehow capture the potential gains frominvesting in our kids or allowing acertain innovation into the market.Like the, the, the big problems are thatour measurements are really primitive.Uh, and, um, it ends up, and you end upwith binary incentives where, uh, you losea lot of the value, and so you end upbeing like, Hey, don't have a teacher foryour kid, so your kid's gonna, you know,just end up, um, sidelined and sidelinedis like a euphemisticway for saying destroyed.
[00:52:49] Eric Weinstein: I know. One of the things I wanted to do at somepoint, um, I actually ended up talking tothe Heritage Foundation of all peopleabout this, was the idea of nationalinterest waivers so that we could havea Skunkworks with very light regulationhanging off the sideof every large company.And the idea is that you would put someportion of a company, you could put someportion of the company outside where therules were effectively different becauseyou needed people to take massive risks,to be able to move super fast, to bedealing with highly nonneurotypical people.
[00:53:24] Andrew Yang: And this is one of the things that drives me nuts about the politicalconversation is like, you get like, theyget like yelled at for a particular, it'slike, Oh, you made amistake, dah, dah, dah.It's like you kind of need to have anenvironment where you're going to accept acertain level of mistakes, particularlywhen you're talking about, um, large scalesociety-wide investments, where like, ofcourse, you can't get that stuff right.And, you know, it's like, and that, theproblem is that the political incentivesare for everyone to try andavoid like a negative headline.Um, or something that, that's-
[00:53:53] Eric Weinstein: Look, a lot of us are very disagreeable, very difficult to deal with.And, you know, I saw you pick up, uh,endorsements from people like Elon Musk,you know, which is, then I hear his, hispersonal life being criticized, I waslike, I don't really care.This guy is responsible for how much-
[00:54:12] Andrew Yang: Advancing the species.
[00:54:13] Eric Weinstein: How much adva- right, how much innovation?If he's got a few foibles,let's give him some privacy.Let him be in peace and just recognizethat we're getting an unbelievable dealand yet this desire to somehow stamp outoutliers, I mean, outliers are essentialto the American project.
[00:54:33] Andrew Yang: Yes, I could not agree more. And you know, I, I'd consider myself, it'spretty funny Eric, cause I, you know, um,I think I had, uh, in many ways, like ahighly conventional, uh, upbringing, um,that helped.Like, I feel like I'm sort of a hybridwhere, uh, to the extent that I was highlycontrarian or dissimilar, you know, it'slike, I, you know, I've, I came up througha series of institutions in an era where,um, you know, I think I learned to adapt.Um, but then I look at my boys and I thinkto myself that, um, you know, that, thattheir way of life is going to bevery, very different than, than mine.I'm sure yours too, cause wecame of age in a different era.
[00:55:20] Eric Weinstein: Well this is true. I mean I was just talking about thisactually breath, Bret Easton Ellis sittingin that chair that, um, you know, I grewup as part of this free range, uh, worldlargely before Etan Patz got kidnapped andthe milk carton kids changed everything.Uh, I worry about the sort of, we weretoo free range and these kids are toosheltered, that we haveto find some new new mix.But I want to get to another issue.
[00:55:43] Andrew Yang: Give me one more demographic.
[00:55:44] Eric Weinstein: Okay.
[00:55:45] Andrew Yang: Yes.
[00:55:45] Eric Weinstein: Let's do it. And then we'll, we'll close it out.Um, I want to talk about somethingwhich really makes me angry and excited.I think that America has, withoutquestion, some of the finest sources, um,educationally forbrilliance in STEM subjects.And we've pretended for a very long timethat Americans are not good at STEM, thatwe are disinterested in STEM, that STEMcareers are fantastic when many of themare pretty shitty, and that we don'trecognize that the entire STEM complex issuffused with bullshit.Because the model, the economic model forinvesting in basic research went belly upbecause the, the universities were builton a growth model that was unsustainable.And I want to stop lying.So one, I want to start recognizing thatwe have high schools that have more Nobelprizes than all of China, that we areusing Chinese labor and other Asiancountries, uh, not just because we areexporting education as a good, but becausewe have a cryptic labor market in basicresearch where we pretend people arestudents when they're actually workers.We pretend that we're importing them toeducate them, but actually what we'retrying to do is use apoverty differential.We have our own people who are reallyfantastic because they're not veryobedient, and instead people preferobedient people coming in who are, arehere on temporary visas, thereforethey have to follow orders.The entire National Science Foundation,National Academy of Science complex isbizarrely suffused with nonsense.And because of this, we can't actuallyhave the national academies adjudicatewhat's true because they arethe prime offender of this.How do we get back to asituation which we can recognize.That we have a Stuyvesant or a Bronxscience, you know, or far Rockaway or anyof these unbelievable high schools thatare turning out people who desperatelywant to do STEM subjects.They're not being paid when they finallyget their degrees at an appropriate level.
[00:57:56] Andrew Yang: Yeah.
[00:57:57] Eric Weinstein: They've been secretly studied by our science complex becausethese career paths are known to be crappy,and we have completely suffused this witha mis-description so that nobodycan actually fix any problems.
[00:58:11] Andrew Yang: That's an incredible, uh, description.And to me, the lack of proper resourcesfor basic research, for things that endedup being foundational for manyof our current industries.
[00:58:25] Eric Weinstein: It's the biggest bargain in the world.It's just the future you're investing in.
[00:58:28] Andrew Yang: It's just right now we're so, uh, brainwashed by market-driven thinkingthat if there's not some short-termprofitability tied to it or there's nodrug company funding it, or so, somethingalong those lines that, uh, and this issomething that thegovernment, historically.Has been the leader in where it said, youknow what, we can lay the foundation andcreate paths for people to be able to dobasic research, the benefits of which willbe unclear.They may not exist.They may not materialize for decades, butit's similar to what we're talking aboutwith the neurologically atypical kids, isthat like a few of them pay off and thenthe payoff can be, uh,unfathomably significant.
[00:59:11] Eric Weinstein: Well we call this long vol.investing in hedge fund land, where mostthings don't work out, but a few that dopay for all of the losers.
[00:59:19] Andrew Yang: Yup. Yeah.And right now the, the, yeah.The, to me, this is a role where, uh,historically the government has led andyou need a government willing to makelongterm sustained investments that, um,may only pay off way down the road and maynot pay off, but you still need to be ableto make them.
[00:59:39] Eric Weinstein: Well, I also, you know, the, the, the other weird part of this isthat by using our own people and letting,uh, in particular China know that it can'toperate a relatively totalitariangovernment over there and have the benefitof freedom over here with a pipeline forall of our innovations to immediately goback over there, china needs to be inducedin some sense to understand that theycan't get by without givingtheir people freedom.And what they're right now doing is,is that they're using our freedom and aperiscope by which they can seeeverything that we're doing.And if we actually cut that off, I knowthat the universities are going to screambloody murder, but what's going tohappen is China's going to have to startinvesting in its, in the right of its ownpeople to give the middle finger becauseirreverence is the secretof American ingenuity.
[01:00:31] Andrew Yang: Yeah. Yeah.You know, this reminds me of a joke that,uh, they told an artificial intelligence,which is, How far behind isChina, uh, than the US in AI?And the answer is 12 hours.And you say, you know, obviously theywake up and then they see what we did.
[01:00:47] Eric Weinstein: I can't tell you how fantastic it is.They have you come into the studio.You're coming off of thisbig rally in MacArthur park.I know that it's late for both of us.You're welcome anytime to come back.I'd love to continue theconversation when you're next in LA-
[01:01:00] Andrew Yang: I would love this too, man, this feels to me like half a conversation.We're going to have to have thesecond half at some other time.So if you enjoyed this convo, let Ericknow and then, um, hopefully he'll have meback.And if you'd like to join the Yang Gang,you should know we are very, very cheapgang to join.
[01:01:16] Eric Weinstein: Is that right?
[01:01:17] Andrew Yang: Well, our average donation is only $25.So, um, our fans are even cheaper thanBernie's, which no one even knew could bea thing in politics, but here it is.Um, but you get $25 times enough peopleand you wind up putting up very, very bignumbers, and you'll see like, we'realready into the eight digits as acampaign, um, and we can take this wholething, we can contend, because a lot ofpeople watching this right now, you're,you're ignoring politics as usual.We can actually have a different sort ofpolitics that takes real thinking, realideas, real solutions, and brings themto the highest levels of our government.It just needs enough Erics and Pias andyou all watching it at home to say, uh, Iprefer this, um, to the stuff I'm gettingthrough the, the cable TV networks-
[01:02:02] Eric Weinstein: Well, Andrew you know one of the things I think that's been greatabout watching your meteoric rise is thatyou are outside of control without beingout of control-
[01:02:10] Andrew Yang: Thank you.
[01:02:11] Eric Weinstein: And that having a kind of a mature person who's not easily bought orswayed is, uh, speaking in a way thatnobody knows what he's going to say nexthas been hugely positive for theentire process, so thank you very much.
[01:02:22] Andrew Yang: Well, thank you. You know, the, the only, uh, um, the onlycurrency I answer to is, is, um, ideas andhumanity.Like you, you know, you put a good ideain front of me or, um, a good person, Ilisten.
[01:02:35] Eric Weinstein: Well, you've been that way since before, uh, all the success.So we, we wish you continued success, andwe'll have you back here the next timeyou're in LA with a little bit of time.
[01:02:44] Andrew Yang: I would love that, brother. Thank you.
[01:02:45] Eric Weinstein: Alright. Thanks.You've been through The Portal with AndrewYang, presidential candidate for 2020 and,um, telling us to makeAmerica think harder.
[01:02:54] Andrew Yang: Yes. This man is going to make youthink harder all the time.
[01:03:36] Eric Weinstein: Alright. Be well everybody
Markup for Portal Player
Eric Weinstein interviews Andrew Yang, Episode 8 of The Portal
Yang a political rally held in Los Angeles at MacArthur Park on 30 September 2019 (article).
"Yang Gang" is a term used to describe the collective of Andrew Yang supporters.
For a more detailed explanation of Eric's criticisms of said 'superstructure' see Slipping the DISC.
Embedded growth obligation or EGO.
Andrew would implement the Freedom Dividend, a universal basic income of $1,000/month, $12,000 a year, for every American adult over the age of 18. This is independent of one’s work status or any other factor. This would enable all Americans to pay their bills, educate themselves, start businesses, be more creative, stay healthy, relocate for work, spend time with their children, take care of loved ones, and have a real stake in the future.
Other than regular increases to keep up the cost of living, any change to the Freedom Dividend would require a constitutional amendment.
It will be illegal to lend or borrow against one’s Dividend.
Andrew M. Yang is an American political commentator, lawyer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. Originally a corporate lawyer, Yang began working in various startups and early stage growth companies as a founder or executive from 2000 to 2009. In 2011, he founded Venture for America (VFA), a nonprofit organization focused on creating jobs in cities struggling to recover from the Great Recession. He then ran as a candidate in the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries. wiki
Healthcare.gov Rollout Failure
Healthcare.gov was officially launched on 1 October 2013 covering residents of 36 states that did not create and manage their own healthcare exchange. Problems with the website were apparent immediately. High website demand (250,000 users [5 times more than expected]) caused the website to go down within 2 hours of launch. While website capacity was initially cited as the main issue, additional problems arose mainly due to the website design not being complete. Users cited issues such as drop down menus not being complete and insurance companies cited issues with user data not being correct or complete when it reached them.
In addition, the websites login feature (which is the first step to accessing the website) could handle even less traffic than the main website which created a huge bottleneck. Due to poor planning, this same log in method was also used by website technicians, making it extremely difficult for them to log in and troubleshoot problems.
A total of 6 users completed and submitted their applications and selected a health insurance plan on the first day.
Through a large amount of troubleshooting, bringing in new contractors, and increased management, the website could handle 35,000 concurrent users at a time by December 1 and a total of 1.2 million customers signed up for a healthcare plan by 28 December, when the open enrollment period officially ended.(source)
The 'maverick Silicon Valley types' referred to is the start up Marketplace Lite. For a more in-depth story on their work on Healthcare.gov see the following link (source).
James Bradford "Brad" DeLong is an economic historian who is professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley. DeLong served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury in the Clinton Administration under Lawrence Summers.(blog)(wiki)
The North American Free Trade Agreement was an agreement signed by Canada, Mexico, and the United States, creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America. The agreement came into force on January 1, 1994, and superseded the 1988 Canada–United States Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Canada.(wiki)
Social Darwinism is any of various theories of society which emerged in the United Kingdom, North America, and Western Europe in the 1870s, claiming to apply biological concepts of natural selection and survival of the fittest to sociology and politics.(wiki)
Jingoistic - characterized by extreme patriotism, especially in the form of aggressive or warlike foreign policy
Alan Greenspan (born March 6, 1926) is an American economist who served as Chair of the Federal Reserve of the United States from 1987 to 2006. He currently works as a private adviser and provides consulting for firms through his company, Greenspan Associates LLC. First appointed Federal Reserve chairman by President Ronald Reagan in August 1987, he was reappointed at successive four-year intervals until retiring on January 31, 2006, after the second-longest tenure in the position (behind William McChesney Martin).
Larry Summers (born November 30, 1954) is an American economist, former Vice President of Development Economics and Chief Economist of the World Bank (1991–93), senior U.S. Treasury Department official throughout President Clinton's administration (ultimately Treasury Secretary, 1999–2001), and former director of the National Economic Council for President Obama (2009–2010). He is a former president of Harvard University (2001–2006), where he is currently (as of March, 2017) a professor and director of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
Paul Krugman (born February 28, 1953) is an American economist who is the Distinguished Professor of Economics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and a columnist for The New York Times. In 2008, Krugman was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to New Trade Theory and New Economic Geography. The Prize Committee cited Krugman's work explaining the patterns of international trade and the geographic distribution of economic activity, by examining the effects of economies of scale and of consumer preferences for diverse goods and services.
ad infinitum - again and again in the same way; forever.
The magician's choice is also known as equivocation.
Samizdat (Russian: Самизда́т, lit. "self-publishing")
Samizdat was a form of dissident activity across the Eastern Bloc in which individuals reproduced censored and underground makeshift publications, often by hand, and passed the documents from reader to reader.(wiki)
This story invokes the trope of shooting an apple upon a child's head with a bow or crossbow. The motif displays the skill of the marksman in a situation where failure is of great consequence.(wiki)
Is-a vs Has-a
In object oriented languages, such as Java, and Is-a relationship is known as inheritance and a Has-a relationship is known as composition.
Am example of an Is-a relationship is as follows, a Potato is a vegetable, a Bus is a vehicle, a Bulb is an electronic device and so on. One of the properties of inheritance is that inheritance is unidirectional in nature. Like we can say that a house is a building. But not all buildings are houses.
On the other hand, a Has-A relationship simply means that an instance of one class has a reference to an instance of another class or an other instance of the same class. For example, a car has an engine, a dog has a tail and so on.
Deaths of Dispair The diseases of despair (and the resulting deaths caused by them) are three classes of behavior-related medical conditions that increase in groups of people who experience despair due to a sense that their long-term social and economic outlook is bleak. The three disease types are drug overdose (including alcohol overdose), suicide, and alcoholic liver disease.
In the context of this conversation it is of note that Anne Case and Angus Deaton (authors of Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism) charted that a rise in deaths of despair, starting in 1998, has resulted in an unexpected increase in the number of middle-aged white Americans dying (the age-specific mortality rate). By 2014, the increasing number of deaths of despair had resulted in a drop in overall life expectancy. The number of deaths of despair in the United States has been estimated at 150,000 per year in 2017. (wiki, book on the topic)
Taxi Driver Suicide
At 7:10 Monday 5 February 2018 61 year old Doug Shafer shot and killed himself at the gates of New York City's City Hall in New York City. His suicide note, referencing some of the concerns Andrew and Eric are discussing about meaning and security within work can be found here. (additional article)
An underpowered study, but it provisionally supports Andrew's statement. (article)
Xenophilic - an affection for unknown/foreign objects, manners, cultures or people.
Johnathan Haidt is an American social psychologist, Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University's Stern School of Business, and author. His main areas of study are the psychology of morality and the moral emotions. In the second portion of his book The Righteous Mind, he presents moral foundations theory, and applies it to the political beliefs of liberals, conservatives, and libertarians in the US. Haidt argues that people are too quick to denigrate other points of view without giving those views full consideration, and attempts to reach common ground between liberals and conservatives. He makes the case in the book for morality having multiple foundations (more than just harm and fairness), and said in an interview that morality "is at least six things, and probably a lot more than that" and "(religion and politics are)… expressions of our tribal, groupish, righteous nature".
Statue of Liberty
Eric's complaint about the cynical use of the Statue of Liberty is a reference to the poem by Emma Lazarus enticed "New Colossus" inscribed on its base:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
He rejects the notion that you cannot take this message to heart and at the same time support some form of restriction regarding immigration.
Kleptocracy - a government with corrupt leaders that use their power to exploit the people and natural resources of their own territory in order to extend their personal wealth and political powers. Typically, this system involves embezzlement of funds at the expense of the wider population.
Flatland is a book by Edwin A. Abbot in which he describes a society rigidly divided into classes. Social ascent is the main aspiration of its inhabitants, apparently granted to everyone but strictly controlled by the top of the hierarchy. Freedom is despised and the laws are cruel. Innovators are imprisoned or suppressed. Members of lower classes who are intellectually valuable, and potential leaders of riots, are either killed, or promoted to the higher classes. Every attempt for change is considered dangerous and harmful. This world is not prepared to receive "revelations from another world". (wiki)
"Animal Style" is an available option at IN-n-Out fast food restaurants (in addition to the standard toppings, Animal Style burgers include mustard fried onto each meat patty, pickles, grilled onions, and extra spread). Andrew makes this reference because the 'animal style' option is not listed on the menu at any location even though you can order it.
MIT - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Aaron Swartz (November 8, 1986 – January 11, 2013) was an American computer programmer, entrepreneur, writer, political organizer, and Internet hacktivist. He was involved in the development of the web feed format RSS, the Markdown publishing format, the organization Creative Commons, and the website framework web.py, and was a co-founder of the social news site Reddit. He was given the title of co-founder by Y Combinator owner Paul Graham after the formation of Not a Bug, Inc. (a merger of Swartz's project Infogami and Reddit, a company run by Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman).
Swartz's work also focused on civic awareness and activism. He helped launch the Progressive Change Campaign Committee in 2009 to learn more about effective online activism. In 2010, he became a research fellow at Harvard University's Safra Research Lab on Institutional Corruption, directed by Lawrence Lessig. He founded the online group Demand Progress, known for its campaign against the Stop Online Piracy Act.
In 2011, Swartz was arrested by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) police on state breaking-and-entering charges, after connecting a computer to the MIT network in an unmarked and unlocked closet, and setting it to download academic journal articles systematically from JSTOR using a guest user account issued to him by MIT. Federal prosecutors later charged him with two counts of wire fraud and eleven violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, carrying a cumulative maximum penalty of $1 million in fines, 35 years in prison, asset forfeiture, restitution, and supervised release.
Swartz declined a plea bargain under which he would have served six months in federal prison. Two days after the prosecution rejected a counter-offer by Swartz, he was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment, where he had hanged himself.