Thinks 344

The Economist on 10 trends to watch in the coming year. Among them: democracy to autocracy, pandemic to endemic, inflation worries and crypto grows up. Also: 22 emerging technologies to watch in 2022.

Niall Ferguson on helping to start a new college (University of Austin) because higher ed is broken. “Institutions dedicated to the search for truth have ossified into havens for liberal intolerance and administrative overreach … the beneficiaries of today’s gilded age seem altogether more tolerant of academic degeneration than their 19th-century predecessors. For whatever reason, many prefer to give their money to established universities, no matter how antithetical those institutions’ values have become to their own. This makes no sense, even if the principal motivation is to buy Ivy League spots for their offspring. Why would you pay to have your children indoctrinated with ideas you despise? … To those who argue that we could more easily do all this with some kind of internet platform, I would say that online learning is no substitute for learning on a campus, for reasons rooted in evolutionary psychology. We simply learn much better in relatively small groups in real time and space, not least because a good deal of what students learn in a well-functioning university comes from their informal discussions in the absence of professors. This explains the persistence of the university over a millennium, despite successive revolutions in information technology.” More from Pano Kanelos: “Universities are the places where society does its thinking, where the habits and mores of our citizens are shaped. If these institutions are not open and pluralistic, if they chill speech and ostracize those with unpopular viewpoints, if they lead scholars to avoid entire topics out of fear, if they prioritize emotional comfort over the often-uncomfortable pursuit of truth, who will be left to model the discourse necessary to sustain liberty in a self-governing society?”

Read: The Every by Dave Eggers. (Also watched The Circle, based on his earlier book.)

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.