Recent Discussion

The American school system, grades K-12, leaves much to be desired.

While its flaws are legion, this post isn’t about that. It’s easy to complain.

This post is about how we could do better.

To be clear, I’m talking about redesigning public education, so “just use the X model” where X is “charter” or “Montessori” or “home school” or “private school” isn’t sufficient. This merits actual thought and discussion.

Breaking It Down

One of the biggest problems facing public schools is that they’re asked to do several very different kinds of tasks.

On the one hand, the primary purpose of school is to educate children.

On whatever hand happens to be the case in real life, school is often more a source of social services for children and parents alike, providing food and safety...

For comparison, Baltimore City public schools have a budget of $1.7 billion and about 78,000 students, or about $21,800 per student (although it’s reported that they only spend $16,370 per student; I’m not sure where the discrepancy comes from). Also note that, in Baltimore City’s budget, they report spending about 1/3 of their budget on support services, as opposed to instruction.

most of the time if you look close there is an * on official $/child stats, which excludes buildings, 'long term' costs(bond repayments), and cross-government payments(school/dis... (read more)

We are excited to re-launch Pathways to Progress as a book discussion series to provide a niche guide into the ideas of Progress Studies. 

We aim to create a community of individuals committed to exploring and contributing to human prosperity. We will discuss technological and scientific innovation to foster a deep understanding of the mechanisms behind human advancement. Readings will investigate historical examples of progress, the implications of economic growth on moral progress, industrial policy, and the relationship between technological progress and societal change.

We will meet bi-weekly over Zoom to discuss a book, followed by a Q&A conversation with the author. We will have regular podcast-style conversations with other guests, who currently include Alec Stapp, Rasheed Griffiths, and Kurtis Lockhart. We will post these on our YouTube channel.


It’s the near future and a smog has blotted out the sun. The world would have starved if it weren’t for the mung-protein-soy-algal flour distributed by the government—the only thing left to eat now that the crops and animals have died. 

Such is the setting in C Pam Zhang’s novel Land of Milk & Honey, where one wealthy investor has purchased the last sunny mountaintop in Italy and leased the land to the investors who funded it. There are riots against them of the “kill the rich” variety, but it’s a high-security compound and the only way in is to join. 

One chef does. She misses food, taste, and manages to get a job cooking the last vegetables harvested from their indoor labs, and the last animals bred in...

The progress movement has grown a lot in the last few years. We now have progress journals, think tanks, and fellowships. The progress idea has spread and evolved into the “abundance agenda”, “techno-optimism”, “supply-side progressivism”, “American dynamism”. All of us want to see more scientific, technological, and economic progress for the good of humanity, and envision a bold, ambitious, flourishing future.

What we haven’t had so far is a regular gathering of the community.

Announcing Progress Conference 2024, a two-day event to connect people in the progress movement. Meet great people, share ideas in deep conversations, catalyze new projects, get energized and inspired.

Hosted by: the Roots of Progress Institute, together with the Foresight Institute,, the Institute for Humane Studies, the Institute for Progress, and Works in Progress magazine


Will be quite curious to see if this conference is sufficient to revive this forum.

American left isolationism

The recent (premature!) obituary of Noam Chomsky has revived the controversy about his views on foreign policy. For almost his entire life, Chomsky has been a Khomeini level critic of American foreign policy. Against public perception, Chomsky was not a Marxist, but probably the exact opposite: he was the canonical (foreign policy) Anglo radical. 

The core of Anglo radicalism (perhaps since the English Civil War) has been a commitment to activism by its own shake. The Karl Marx of Anglo radicals was Saul Alinsky, and chomskism is simply foreign policy alinskism. Unlike the Marxist, the Anglo radical avoids the burden of constructive engagements, and devotes himself to denunciation. His technique is to show costs and injustices, and carefully distract attention from trade-offs. The Anglo radical is practical,...

Crossposted from Effective Altruism Forum:

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Today, The Roots of Progress officially becomes the Roots of Progress Institute (RPI).

The new name represents the new identity we took on ever since we announced our first program last year, the Roots of Progress Fellowship. Before then, the organization had primarily been a vehicle for my writing and speaking; “The Roots of Progress” was the name of the blog I started in 2017 that was the origin of this project. Starting in 2023, we became a full-fledged cultural institute, with a mission to establish a new philosophy of progress for the 21st century.

We stuck with “Roots” for a few reasons. First, we like the brand we have built so far, and we wanted to keep it. The idea of “roots” points to what is unique about...

In previous posts, we laid out our model of school-as-education:

Phase 1 was literacy and numeracy,

Phase 2 was core civilizational requirements and survey courses,

Phase 3 was core adulting requirements and self-study,

and went into detail about the core civilizational requirements of phase 2.

This post, we’ll dive into the core adulting requirements students will need to pass to graduate from our school. Students will likely take these classes around current high school age - think 14-17.

Core Adulting Requirements

What does it mean to grow up? To become an adult?

Every society of which I am aware has an abundance of coming-of-age stories. Children and adolescents go on some kind of journey, learn responsibility or self-restraint or to appreciate their parents, and return having grown up from the experience.

But while stories inspire us,...

I came across  this article, titled "Is Wyoming’s first-ever nuclear reactor a good idea? The feds want your input" . It points to this website asking for comments on the scope of a potential environmental review, which further points to this form, or the email for receiving comments.

I think it might be worth it for you readers of this forum to take a few moments to let regulators know that a more modest and undemanding environmental review would satisfy your hunger for prosperity.