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Ed Driscoll

Interview: George Gilder on Knowledge and Power

July 2nd, 2013 - 12:01 am

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“Wealth is essentially the accumulation of knowledge,” George Gilder tells me in our new interview. “It requires that government get out of the way, that government not be a noisy force in the economy, distracting entrepreneurs from their creative purposes toward government goals and government distractions.”

In his new book Knowledge and Power, the veteran technology author and futurist writes, “Socialists believe their mission is to seize capital for the masses. But the great secret of capitalism is that, detached from a capitalist, there is no capital.”

As Gilder adds during our interview, “You know, we have the same material resources that the cave man, the Neanderthals in their caves had the same natural resources that we have today.  The difference is the knowledge that’s accumulated.”

Regarding Knowledge and Power and its author, last month Ralph Benko of Forbes noted:

George Gilder, whose new book publishes today, is one of the original pillars of Supply Side economics. As stated by Discovery Institute, which he co-founded, “Mr. Gilder pioneered the formulation of supply-side economics when he served as Chairman of the Lehrman Institute’s Economic Roundtable, as Program Director for the Manhattan Institute….”

He was the living writer most quoted by President Reagan. And he is back with his most brilliant work yet — one of potentially explosive importance if taken to heart by our political and policy thought leaders. It is a radical guide, with surprising insights on almost every page, to the creation of a new era of vibrant prosperity.

After writing his best-selling Wealth and Poverty Gilder most notably spent decades traveling down various rabbit holes into, and thoroughly exploring, technological Wonderlands. He has been an essential guide to the technological cornucopias that immensely enrich our lives. He personally surfed the tech bubble and experienced, very up close and personally, its pop. Gilder is a veteran of the ecstasy and agony of entrepreneurship: a player, not a spectator. Gilder’s Knowledge and Power: the Information Theory of Capitalism and How It Is Revolutionizing our World is his finest work, which is saying a lot.

During our interview with Gilder, we explore:

● What is the information theory of capitalism?

● Was the overreach by Obama and Congress beginning with the 2008 financial crisis something unique or just another example of government rapaciousness?

● Why would an Obama crony describe insurance firm AIG as “evil,” when it’s a word that’s anathema for the left when it comes to describing al-Qaeda  and other terrorists?

● Can the once-Golden State overcome what Gilder calls “California debauch” and the heavy handed over-regulation of Sacramento?

● Gilder was an early proponent of the World Wide Web. Do the reports that the NSA is spying on us via the Internet put a damper on his early visions?

And much more. Click here to listen:

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(18 minutes long; 16.7 MB file size. Want to download instead of streaming? Right click here to download this interview to your hard drive. Or right click here to download the 3.13 MB lo-fi edition.)

If the above Flash audio player is not be compatible with your browser, click on the YouTube player below, or click here to be taken directly to YouTube, for an audio-only YouTube clip. Between one of those versions, you should find a format that plays on your system. (Note, there are a few telephone line dropouts from about the 5:30 to 8:30 mark in the interview, at which time the interference on the line clears up.)

Transcript of our interview begins on the following page; for our many previous podcasts, start here and keep scrolling.

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Is this guy still around?

My knowledge that you are about to cut my head off, is not as worthwhile as a three-step head start, or a loaded pistol. Knowledge can be overrated, at least it is not by itself enough.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I read this piece by Driscoll and Gilder in order to hopefully gain some hope. And it all came down to ..... "I hope the United States will turn around fast enough to join the party."

With Mr. Hope and Change running the show? Not very encouraging.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
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