I wrote a 4k word feature on Progress Studies for BBC Future that just went up. (Tweet here). I explore:

  • The stagnation hypothesis
  • the origins of progress studies
  • what PS believes
  • frontier vs. catch-up growth, and how PS’s focus on the former reveals its biases
  • progress and existential risk
  • the future of the community

Curious for your (genuine) thoughts and critiques. 

You may also find this timeline I put together useful. 


  • March 2017 - Roots of Progress blog starts
  • July 2018 - Stripe Press launches 
  • July 2019 - “We Need a New Science of Progress” essay published in Atlantic
  • August 2019 - PS Slack channel launches
  • Oct 2019 - Roots of Progress becomes a nonprofit
  • Aug 2020 - Works in Progress online magazine starts
  • January 2022 - Institute for Progress think tank launches
  • Feb 2022 - Works in Progress acquired by Stripe Press
  • April 2022 - Progress Forum launches (sponsored by Roots of Progress)
  • May 2022 - The Atlantic Progress series launches
2 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 7:17 AM
New Comment

Thanks Garrison! I thought this was well-researched and pretty fair. I responded to some of the critiques.

(Minor correction to your timeline: The Roots of Progress didn't become its own nonprofit organization until 2021; from 2019 to 2021 I was an independent researcher funded by grants from other organizations.)


I thought the feature was pretty solid on research. And certainly was deep and explanatory! I wish, however, you were able to pull off a bit more gesturing at the breadth of voices in this space.

Matt Clancy, Brian Potter, who both run top quality substacks in addition to working for the Institute for Progress. Alexey Guzey at New Science. These are good examplars of the kind of gritty in the weeds work we are interested in. Such work reveals why it's hard to extrapolate out a crisp 'ideology.'

Towards the end I felt like Jason was given "philosopher of the movement" status, but I'd say it's more that Tyler Cowen is Darwin and Jason is the Thomas Huxley. :)