No One Would Listen by Harry Markopolos

This is part of the DR Book Collection.

This book got off to a kind of rough start for some of the same reasons that Harry Markopolos had such a hard time getting the SEC to investigate Bernie Madoff in the decade leading up to Madoff’s enormous Ponzi scheme finally publicly immolating: he’s kind of an abrasive character who comes across as arrogant, confrontational, and self-promoting. I’m glad I stuck with the book, however, for two reasons. First of all, the grating tone is smoothed out substantially as you realize that–while perhaps a little melodramatic–Markopolos seems to be entirely sincere in his intentions and oblivious to his abrasiveness. Second, because–as far as I could tell from the book, which is laden with supporting material and testimony–he was exactly right. He did determine early on that Madoff was a fraud, he did everything in his power to bring it to the SEC, and the SEC did absolutely nothing to follow up on his claims, even though there were incredibly quick and easy ways for the fraud to be validated.

One of the most interesting things about this book, however, is the way it interfaces with two other books I’ve read over the past month or so: Political Order and Political Decay and The New Jim Crow.

In Political Order and Political Decay, Francis Fukuyama makes a vibrant, international case for the importance of strong state institutions. Although he is associated with the American right, Fukuyama eschews the conventional more/less government for an emphasis on quality rather than quantity of state institutions. He spends a lot of time looking at what is required to make state institutions effective: a delicate balance of autonomy and accountability. It’s impossible to have read that book recently and not see connections again and again to the SEC as described by Markopolos.

For example, Fukuyama emphasizes the importance of professionalism–often accomplished through objective, standardized testing–in helping state institutions retain independence (because rigorous testing confounds political appointments) and high morale (because the testing acts as a kind of filter to create a cohesive social group within the institution) in addition to the more obvious benefits of competence and knowledgeability.

Markopolos makes the exact same points although–lacking Fukuyama’s framework and context–he doesn’t quite connect all the dots. He notes that the SEC is staffed primarily by lawyers with no quantitative expertise or practical industry experience and that this makes the incompetent and overly deferential to the businesses. He also faults the SEC for being far too deferential to industry and afraid to do its job and go after major fraud and abuse. He doesn’t quite make the connection between the two, however, noting that the low standards for SEC employees not only lead to inexperience workers, but also foster the subservience and passivity of the SEC directly.

Francis Fukuyama Professor of International Political Economy at the KUB University of Braband at Tilburg Netherlands Photo: Robert Goddyn/UPA Photo
Francis Fukuyama Professor of International Political Economy at the KUB University of Braband at Tilburg Netherlands Photo: Robert Goddyn/UPA Photo

One of Fukuyama’s broader points is that, in the arena of modern liberal democracies, the United States has always lagged behind in terms of quality of state infrastructure. This is mostly because our democracy emerged before our institutions modernized, which historically is a recipe for disaster. The US was able to right the ship in the second half of the 19th century when a wave of progressive reforms professionalized the federal civil service and we ended up with fairly respectable institutions, although still nowhere near the quality (in terms of professionalism and efficiency) of states like Germany or Japan that modernized before they liberalized or states like the UK that–due to unique class structure–were able to fairly painlessly push through reforms in a matter of years that took the US a major national movement and decades to emulate.

The SEC was not one of the agencies that Fukuyama chose to focus on, but it could have been. His analysis would have fit perfectly with Markopolos’s, both in terms of the content and also in terms of the conclusion: America’s national institutions are once again in a period of deep corruption, inefficiency, and impotence.

One of the key points that Michelle Alexander makes in The New Jim Crow is that mass incarceration is primarily the result of the War on Drugs (rather than violent crime):

As numerous researchers have shown, violent crime rates have fluctuate over the years, and bear little relationship to incarceration rates, which have soared during the past three decades regardless of whether violent crime was going up or down. Today, violent crime rates are at historically low levels, yet incarceration rates continue to climb.

Moreover, whites and blacks violate drug laws at basically equal rates, but it is the black population that bears the overwhelming burden of suspicion, policing, prosecution, incarceration, and life with a criminal record while the white population–equally as likely to consume drugs–is blissfully ignorant and immune to the pointy end of the War on Drugs.

The question is: why? The laws and policies that constitute the War on Drugs are colorblind, not racist. One possible explanation is sheer racial animus: the police and prosecutors and legislators who enact and define the War on Drugs hate black people, and they deliberately–but covertly–use the War on Drugs to attack them. This is not plausible, however, and instead Alexander focuses on unconscious racism and incentives.

For example, the federal government–in an effort to win points by looking to be tough on crime–through massive resources into encouraging the War on Drugs by offering money to police departments that showed high numbers of drug convictions. And so:

It is impossible for law enforcement to identify and arrest every drug criminal. Strategic choices must be made about whom to target and what tactics to employ. Police and prosecutors did not declare the War on Drugs, and some initially opposed it, but once the financial incentives for waging the war became too attractive to ignore, law enforcement agencies had to ask themselves, if we’re going to wage this war, where should it be fought and who should be taken prisoner? That question was not difficult to answer, given the political and social context.

Miller Center of Public Affairs flickr page, Charlottesville, VA

The incentives made it clear that arrests would happen. The question was just: where would they take place? And the answer, inevitably, was “among populations with the least ability to fight back politically.” Thus, the War on Drugs is not an effect of pre-existing racism as much as it is a cause of racism. This does not make the War on Drugs unique, however. If there’s one thing I’ve come to learn from studying the history of racism in the US, it’s that racism is always instrumental. The first consideration is always power. Racism is a servant of that quest for power. And this goes back to the very beginning. The slave trade was initially not very racist, in that the gap between white indentured servants and black slaves was fairly minimal. Slavery was, for example, not hereditary. A black child was born free, not slave. After Bacon’s Rebellion, however, when white servants and black slaves rose up together to fight against the elites, slavery was reformed as an institution to make it racially defined. Why? Because that allowed elites to split the coalition of poor whites and poor blacks. So: the quest for power created the racial aspect of slavery which, in turn, created race.

The point is that power and class warped the War on Drugs so that affluent (predominantly white) neighborhoods are left in peace and poor (predominantly black) neighborhoods are treated like warzones. There’s crime everywhere, but it only gets enforced where it makes political sense to do so.

White collar crime is the mirror image of the War on Drugs, and that’s where the connection to No One Would Listen comes in. Markopolos makes it clear that Madoff was far from unique: the entire financial sector is riven with dishonest and blatant criminality. Here’s one example:

My younger brother had had similar experiences. At one point he was hired by a respected brokerage firm in New Jersey to run its trading desk. On his first morning there he walked into the office and discovered that the Bloomberg terminals that supposedly had been ordered hadn’t arrived. Then he found out that the traders didn’t have their series 7 licenses, meaning they weren’t allowed to trade. And then he learned that the CEO had some regulation 144 private placement stock which legally is not allowed to be sold. But the CEO had insider information that bad news was coming, and he wanted to sell the stock. My brother explained to the CEO, “You can’t sell this stock. It’s a felony.” The CEO assured him he understood. My brother went out to lunch with the Bloomberg rep to try to get the terminals installed that he needed to start trading. By the time he returned to the office, the unlicensed traders had illegally sold the private placement stock based on insider information. My brother had walked into a perfect Wall Street storm.

He called me in a panic, “What do I do?” I said, “These are felonies. The first thing to do is write your resignation letter. The second thing you do is get copies of all the trade tickets. Get all the evidence you can on your way out the door. And the third thing you do is go home and type up everything and send it to the NASD.” That’s exactly what he did. The NASD did absolutely nothing. These were clear felonies, and the NASD didn’t even respond to his complaint.

So Markopolos’s brother witnesses felonies, gathers the evidence, and alerts the NASD and then… nothing. Just as Markopolos realized what Madoff was doing, gathered the evidence, and alerted the SEC and then… nothing. He sent them at least three or four major document dumps over a decade. Later on, he put together 20 other whistleblower cases, tied them up with a bow, and delivered them to the SEC for prosecution and again: nothing. Every one was rejected.

Poor blacks are convenient targets. Police departments and municipal governments essentially extort them by unequal application of laws. Rich white investment bankers are inconvenient targets. Gov’t agencies assigned to regulate and monitor them essentially act as their servants by unequal application of laws. As Markopolos points out, the SEC and other agencies would go after fraud cases now and again, but only small fish. They’d never touch the big guys, the rich guys, the influential guys.

Putting together Markopolos, Fukuyama, and Alexander doesn’t lead to a cheery or rosy view of the state of the United States, but I do think it’s a useful view. And besides, one lesson of Fukuyama is that political decay can be reversed. Institutions can be revitalized. One lesson of the Civil Rights is that human dignity can be broadened and justice can move forward. And–while Markopolos did not succeed in convincing the SEC to stop Madoff before he his scheme had ballooned from $7B to $60B, he did become a professional fraud-fighter after that, and so even in his case there is the potential for good to come out of bad situations. I think we all sense that the nation is not in a good place, but having an accurate understanding of what is wrong is the first step to finding truly effective solutions, and these books–to me–seem to work together to provide a substantial piece of that understanding.

The Future of Chinese Christianity

Multiple books over the last decade have focused on the rise of Christianity in China. In the newest edition of First Things, there is an incredible essay by Chinese writer and activist Yu Jie titled “China’s Christian Future.” Jie points out that “in 1949, when the Communist party defeated the Nationalists and founded the People’s Republic of China, Christians in China numbered half a million. Yet almost seventy years later, under the Chinese government’s harsh suppression, that population has reached more than sixty million, according to Fenggang Yang, a sociologist at Purdue University. The number grows by several million each year, a phenomenon some have described as a gushing well or geyser. At this rate, by 2030, Christians in China will exceed 200 million, surpassing the United States and making China the country with the largest Christian population in the world.” Jie names two major events that led to this rise: “the Cultural Revolution launched by Mao Zedong in 1966 and the Tiananmen Square massacre instigated by Deng Xiaoping in 1989. Countless innocent lives were lost as a result of these two cataclysms, and the people’s belief in Marxism-Leninism and Maoism was destroyed. These events opened up a great spiritual void, and the Chinese began searching for a new faith.”

Following the 1989 massacre, “Deng Xiaoping thought the key to keeping the regime in power was to make a select few wealthy. He made their economic dream of getting rich come true while sacrificing the political dream of many to live in a free society. Like a drug, however, money’s hold on people could only last so long. Man cannot live on bread alone. Beyond his material needs lie spiritual ones as well. Government leaders sensed a crisis, too. They started rummaging through the Confucianism and Buddhism they had tossed out, hoping to reclaim the former moral authority of these traditions for the party.”

But this supposed renewal of Confucianism isn’t what it seems:

Today…party officials clutch at Confucius like a drowning man clutches at straws. Without ever having apologized for what they did to destroy Confucianism, they now set up so-called Confucius Institutes around the world, no expense spared, to foster their agenda. The institutes offer financial assistance to scholars of China in the West, inviting them on luxury tours of the country in exchange for favorable reviews of the Chinese government. By the same token, they blacklist those critical of the administration and send their names to Chinese embassies around the world, which in turn deny them visas. The Confucius Institutes are political tools for maintaining power, not genuine sources for cultural renewal. Had the Communists not dug up his grave, Confucius would be spinning in it.

The growth of Christianity has made the Chinese president see it as “a threat: It is the largest force in China outside the Communist party. In China, home churches outnumber government-sponsored churches three to one. Against home churches that refuse to cooperate, the government has waged a large-scale cleansing campaign in the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang, particularly in the city of Wenzhou, known as “China’s Jerusalem,” where 15 percent of the population is Christian. In two years, more than two hundred churches in Zhejiang have been demolished, over two thousand crosses removed. The scene of the cross being removed from a church in Ya village, Huzhou city, on August 7, 2015, was typical.”

Yet, the transforming power of the Christian gospel is nonetheless continuing to spread throughout China. It has changed the lives of both the essay’s author and millions of others throughout his native country. Check out the rest of this powerful story in the full article.

The Rise of Zero-Sum Economics

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal describes “The Rise of Zero-Sum Economics” among both political parties:

[Trump] sees [trade] not as a form of cooperation where everyone wins but a contest where someone must lose for someone to win. “We already have a trade war, and we’re losing badly,” he declared last month.

It’s not just Mr. Trump who has embraced economics as a bleak zero-sum game; so have Democratic activists. Their platform this year calls the economy “rigged” in favor of the 1%, at the expense of everyone else.

In shifting their attention from how income grows to how it’s divided, the parties think they’re catering to reality.

However, this seems to be out of touch with most voters:

The author concludes,

Yet less trade and less legal immigration will hurt U.S. growth and the average worker, not help them. Moreover, the median voter seems to get that: Net support for free trade is solidly positive, according to the latest WSJ/NBC News poll, while support for immigration among Democrats and independents is growing (it remains low among Republicans). Voters worry far less about inequality than whether they personally are getting ahead financially.

That is the irony: In a year when both parties are rallying their partisans by portraying the economy as a win-lose proposition, most Americans still think it’s win-win.

The Benefits of Religious Involvement

A recent article in the Deseret News highlighted the benefits of religious participation. The rather extensive list includes:

  • Marital satisfaction
  • Less likelihood of divorce
  • Stronger inclination toward marriage
  • Marital stability
  • More active, engaged, and affectionate fathers
  • Lower rates of domestic violence

Among teens:

  • Higher self-esteem
  • Positive outlook
  • Stronger family and adult relationships
  • Less risky behavior
  • Lower levels of substance abuse and alcohol use
  • Less crime and violence
  • Less likely to have premarital sexual relations (and consequently less out-of-wedlock births)

You can find links to the research within the original article. Check it out.

The Age of Political Polarization

I chuckled.

A new NBER paper provides further evidence for increasing political polarization. The abstract reads:

We study trends in the partisanship of Congressional speech from 1873 to 2009. We define partisanship to be the ease with which an observer could infer a congressperson’s party from a fixed amount of speech, and we estimate it using a structural choice model and methods from machine learning. The estimates reveal that partisanship is far greater today than at any point in the past. Partisanship was low and roughly constant from 1873 to the early 1990s, then increased dramatically in subsequent years. Evidence suggests innovation in political persuasion beginning with the Contract with America, possibly reinforced by changes in the media environment, as a likely cause. Naive estimates of partisanship are subject to a severe finite-sample bias and imply substantially different conclusions.

Well, that’s disheartening.

“I know who you are now, and I name you my enemy.”

For those who haven’t read The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, Wormwood is the demon the letters are addressed to. It’s Wormwood’s job to weaken faith and encourage sin in the human he’s assigned to, and the letters are from his uncle, a demon named Screwtape, who gives Wormwood advice on how to do this.

Yesterday while meandering through Spotify, I came across the song “Dear Wormwood” by the Oh Hellos.  From what I can tell, the song is about a demon who weakened the singer’s faith since childhood and how the (now adult) singer is recognizing and trying to overcome the demon’s influence.

I’m a secularist, and by that I mean I don’t practice a religion and don’t have faith in anything supernatural. But I’m a reluctant secularist, and by that I mean I had good experiences with the religion of my childhood, I miss it and wish it were true, but I don’t actually believe it is. From that context, the song kind of hits a nerve.

You can listen to it here:

Here are the lyrics, though I recommend listening to it first or concurrently rather than reading them on their own:

When I was a child, I didn’t hear a single word you said
The things I was afraid of, they were all confined beneath my bed
But the years have been long, and you have taught me well to hide away
The things that I believed in, you’ve taught me to call them all escapes

I know who you are now

There before the threshold, I saw a brighter world beyond myself
And in my hour of weakness, you were there to see my courage fail
For the years have been long, and you have taught me well to sit and wait
Planning without acting, steadily becoming what I hate

I know who you are now

I have always known you, you have always been there in my mind
But now I understand you, and I will not be part of your designs

I know who I am now
And all that you’ve made of me
I know who you are now
And I name you my enemy

I know who I am now
I know who I want to be
I want to be more than this devil inside of me

We Are Children of God

Rembrandt - Return of the Prodigal Son CROPPED
Rembrandt, The Return of the Prodigal Son

This post is part of the General Conference Odyssey.

Elder Marion G. Romney’s talk, Man—A Child of God, dove straight into some very Mormon teachings: “The truth I desire to emphasize today is that we mortals are in very deed the literal offspring of God.”

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints accept this concept as a basic doctrine of their theology. The lives of those who have given it thought enough to realize its implications are controlled by it; it gives meaning and direction to all their thoughts and deeds. This is so because they know that it is the universal law of nature in the plant, animal, and human worlds for reproducing offspring to reach in final maturity the likeness of their parents.

They reason that the same law is in force with respect to the offspring of God. Their objective is, therefore, to someday be like their heavenly parents.

The emphasis on becoming like our Heavenly Parents is one of Mormonism’s most distinctive and controversial beliefs. Because it is so easy to misinterpret, we are often rather sensitive about it, and we take pains to point out that the belief has solid basis in scripture.

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit,” wrote Paul, “that we are the children of God.” Referring to Psalm 82, which states “ye are gods, and all of you are children of the most High,” Jesus asked, “Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?”

We also often emphasize that early Christians held similar beliefs. I have a few quotes from an old PowerPoint presentation that my father put together years ago:

  • “Let the interpretation of the Psalm [82] be just as you wish, yet thereby it is demonstrated that all men are deemed worthy of becoming gods.” – Justin Martyr
  • “Yea, I say, the Word of God became a man so that you might learn from a man how to become a god.” – Clement of Alexandria
  • “The Word was made flesh in order that we might be enabled to be made gods.” – Athansius
  • “But he himself that justifies also deifies, for by justifying he makes sons of God. ―For he has given them power to become the sons of God‖ [John 1:12]. If then we have been made sons of God, we have also been made gods.” – Augustine

This is a good approach, but as I read Elder Romney’s talk, I had a different thought, which is this: How can we know our own theology if we don’t read these talks? What I mean by that is simply that I’ve seen fairly frequent debates about which beliefs are really doctrinal, which beliefs are core and essential, and frequently those debates refer to the Standard Works. And that is right and proper, but it is not enough.

If we believe in an open canon; if we believe in continuing revelation; if we believe that we are led by prophets, seers, and revelators (i.e. if we believe what we say we do), then the question of marking out the contours and landmarks of our faith is not an intellectual exercise for academics and scholars. It is a question of divine authority.

I’ll give you one specific example: there are those Mormons who take a very dim view of The Family: A Proclamation to the World. They will tell you that it is not canon (which, in fairness, is true), that it was written by lawyers, and so forth to argue that it’s not really Mormon. All well and good as intellectual debates go, but this is what I say in reply: go and start reading the General Conference talks and see how consistently, how prominently, how steadfastly the family is preached. You can’t go one session, it often seems, without at least a couple of paragraphs about the family as it relates to God’s plan for us. Any unbiased reader of the General Conference talks who was asked to list the most important topics would, without any ambiguity, list Jesus Christ and the Atonement first, and then families second. In that context, the critiques of The Family ring hollow.

As a Church that professes to be led by continuous, dynamic revelation it is impossible to understand our own faith without paying close attention to the ongoing stream of teachings. The Standard Works are the roots and foundation of our doctrine, but the branches and leaves are the General Conference talks.

And so, to return to Elder Romney’s talk, the idea “that man is a child of God is the most important knowledge available to mortals.” He concluded by bearing his own witness that “I know that I am a son of God, and that you, my beloved listeners, are individually a son or a daughter of God, and that this knowledge implemented in our lives will lift us back into his presence through the atoning sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Check out the other posts from the General Conference Odyssey this week and join our Facebook group to follow along!

There’s a lot more to Trump support than racism.

hillbilly elegy

I’m a conservative. Over the last 9 months or so the Trump campaign has sent me from incredulous to enraged to dejectedly resigned, and I admit I’m still trying to figure out what just happened.

To hear some of my leftist friends talk, the Trump phenomenon is the inevitable climax of an increasingly out-of-touch, racist, backwards party, a predictable extension of the “extremism” of Bush.

Those theories makes no sense to me. The conservatives I know who supported Bush hate Trump. In fact, Pew Research recently published a study showing the most religious and “very conservative” Republicans have been most resistant to Trump. This study echoes a Gallup poll last year that found the highly religious ranked Trump 12th out of 17 GOP candidates. But if the most religious and conservative Republicans dislike him, who has been supporting Trump from the outset?

In his article “Trump: Tribune of Poor White People,” Rod Dreher interviews J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, on the interplay between our current political parties and hillbilly culture.

The interview is a fascinating read. Vance discusses a variety of sometimes opposing ideas in an empathetic but honest way. For example, he talks about how the anti-elitist streak in hillbilly culture helps those who achieve financial success stay grounded, but it also pressures people not to become successful in the first place. Vance talks about  the problems with how, when it comes to the poor, there are opposing narratives suggesting either (a) the poor are helpless, with no power to affect their own lives or (b) the poor must simply bootstrap their way out of poverty. Both of these views fail to address important factors.

Vance uses his understanding of hillbilly culture to explain Trump’s popularity:

The two political parties have offered essentially nothing to these people for a few decades.  From the Left, they get some smug condescension, an exasperation that the white working class votes against their economic interests because of social issues, a la Thomas Frank (more on that below).  Maybe they get a few handouts, but many don’t want handouts to begin with.  

From the Right, they’ve gotten the basic Republican policy platform of tax cuts, free trade, deregulation, and paeans to the noble businessman and economic growth.  Whatever the merits of better tax policy and growth (and I believe there are many), the simple fact is that these policies have done little to address a very real social crisis.  More importantly, these policies are culturally tone deaf: nobody from southern Ohio wants to hear about the nobility of the factory owner who just fired their brother.

Trump’s candidacy is music to their ears.  He criticizes the factories shipping jobs overseas.  His apocalyptic tone matches their lived experiences on the ground.  He seems to love to annoy the elites, which is something a lot of people wish they could do but can’t because they lack a platform.  

This part especially resonated with me:

The other big problem I have with Trump is that he has dragged down our entire political conversation.  It’s not just that he inflames the tribalism of the Right; it’s that he encourages the worst impulses of the Left.  In the past few weeks, I’ve heard from so many of my elite friends some version of, “Trump is the racist leader all of these racist white people deserve.” These comments almost always come from white progressives who know literally zero culturally working class Americans.  And I’m always left thinking: if this is the quality of thought of a Harvard Law graduate, then our society is truly doomed.

Read the full interview here.


Causes of Anti-Immigration Sentiments: Evidence from Brexit

The graph above from researchers Chris Lawton and Robert Ackrill at The Conversation “shows the proportion of Leave votes for all local authorities in England and Wales (on the vertical axis) against the proportion of residents who stated that they had been born outside the UK in the 2011 census (on the horizontal axis). It shows that high proportions of Leave voters were overwhelmingly more likely to live in areas with very low levels of migration” (italics mine). “Of the 270 districts that had a lower proportion than average of people born outside the UK in 2011,” they continue, “in 229 (85%) the majority vote was for Leave. Of the 78 districts with a higher than average population born outside the UK, only 44% voted Leave.”

This seems to indicate that those with little exposure to immigrants have greater anti-immigration sentiments. However, this isn’t the whole story. Consider the graph below:

As The Economist explains,

Consider the percentage-change in migrant numbers, rather than the total headcount, and the opposite pattern emerges (chart 2). Where foreign-born populations increased by more than 200% between 2001 and 2014, a Leave vote followed in 94% of cases. The proportion of migrants may be relatively low in Leave strongholds such as Boston, in Lincolnshire (where 15.4% of the population are foreign-born). But it has grown precipitously in a short period of time (by 479%, in Boston’s case). High levels of immigration don’t seem to bother Britons; high rates of change do. 

Innovation and Its Enemies

Calestous Juma, Professor of the Practice of International Development at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, has a recent article based on his new Oxford-published book Innovation and Its Enemies: Why People Resist New Technologies. He explains,

[T]he answer is not simply that people are afraid of the unknown. Rather, resistance to technological progress is usually rooted in the fear that disruption of the status quo might bring losses in employment, income, power, and identity. Governments often end up deciding that it would be easier to prohibit the new technology than to adapt to it.

He uses the example of the Ottoman Empire forbidding the printing of the Koran for nearly 400 years. “By banning the printing of the Koran,” he writes, “Ottoman leaders delayed employment losses for scribes and calligraphers (many of whom were women who were glorified for their mastery of the art). But protecting employment was not their main motivation…[Religious knowledge] was both the glue that held society together and a pillar of political power, so maintaining a monopoly over the dissemination of that knowledge was critical to maintaining the authority of Ottoman leaders. They feared going the way of the Catholic pope, who lost considerable authority during the Protestant Reformation, when the printing press played a key role in spreading new ideas to the faithful.”

The list goes on, from English women petitioning against coffee in 1674 to American dairy farmers spreading misinformation about margarine in the 1800s to the resistance to tractors in the early 1900s. “People almost never reject technological progress out of sheer ignorance,” Juma concludes. “Rather, they fight to protect their own interests and livelihoods, whether that be operating a dairy farm or running a government. As we continually attempt to apply new technologies to improve human and environmental wellbeing, this distinction is vital.” The key in Juma’s mind is “inclusive innovation,” which seeks to help “those who are likely to lose from the displacement of old technologies are given ample opportunity to benefit from new ones. Only then can we make the most of human creativity.”