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Noah Smith (@Noahpinion) joins Erik on this episode. Noah is an economist and Bloomberg Opinion writer. The two have a wide-ranging discussion on a number of topics around tech, economics, politics, and more.

Noah explains why concern over big Silicon Valley tech companies is perhaps overblown. They discuss cryptocurrency and why in Noah’s opinion the Austrian economists have it wrong. He also explains why he is not a fan of techno-libertarianism and runs through the gun as historical example of why technologists shouldn’t just build new tech to circumvent laws they don’t like.

The two talk about why the government drives more innovation than it commonly gets credit for, what kinds of policies Noah would implement to reduce inequality, including why he would like to see an inheritance tax. Erik also asks about charter cities and Noah explains why they are a great idea in theory but that they will be a “hard sell.”

Erik asks about a blog post of Noah’s from 2015 that seems quite prescient given the current moment, in which he describes a cycle of history involving globalization, financialization, economic decline, political polarization, leading to feuding between the right and the left. He talks about which stage he thinks we are in today and some of the historical parallels between the current moment and earlier eras in which war later broke out.

Erik also asks what Noah would do if he could change anything about how education is delivered in America, why Noah says that UBI could be potentially destructive, and how his criticisms of macroeconomics have evolved.

Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform.

Check us out on the web at or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.

Venture Stories is brought to you by Village Global, is hosted by co-founder and partner, Erik Torenberg and is produced by Brett Bolkowy.

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