What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Patrick Byrne: And domestic I’d say the only one that really matters to me is education. I think that the left and the right get hung up on a lot of silly things. You know what’s really going on, an economist ...good trade to the marginal utility in the market. And that really goes for human skill sets as well. If one kid leaves high school at 18 with this set of human skills, and one kid leaves high school with this set of human skills, their life prospects . . . or doesn’t leave high school . . . their life prospects are defined. And 99 percent of the time it’s going to work out just as you would imagine. And it seems to me that the left and the right get hung up about all these downstream effects. But if you really care about social injustice and inequality, racial inequality, income inequality, that’s all a downstream effect. If you can’t fix this, we’re just re-arranging deck chairs in the Titanic. But if we could fix this stuff, I think that . . . that in the space of a generation, a lot of problems would wash through that had been troubling America since our birth. And I think the only way to do that is through freedom, is through creating a competition, and a market, and education. ... higher education. We have . . . Our university system is the envy of the world. Well that’s because people choose. People choose where to go. They get vouchers. The vouchers are called Pell Grants or they’re called the GI Bill or something. But there’s a lot of choice, a lot of vouchers, a lot of competition. And the result is a system that’s the envy of the world. Our K through12 system is a disaster. We have . . . By fourth grade we’re still okay. By eighth grade it’s deteriorating. By the time our kids are 15, 16, we’re 25th out of 30 countries . . . we’re down . . . 30 ... countries. That’s a calamity. There’s no reason . . . America is used to thinking of itself as sort of . . . if you’re in my generation, you know you just think it just has this role in the world. Well it didn’t always have that role in the world, and there’s nothing that says we need to. We had a . . . Basically all our competitors were destroyed by World War II. One industrial country was left after World War II ..., too – the United States and Sweden. So essentially the whole competitor class was destroyed. We ran the table for two generations, but the rest of the world has built themselves back. And we’re sitting fat, dumb and happy, and we’ve slipped to 25th now for high school seniors out of 30 ...countries. Well that tells . . . that tells me where our standard of living is going to be in 25 years. It’s . . . And you know one generation is not a long time. In 1975, South Korea had half the GDP per capita as Mexico did. By one generation later, it had three times. South Korea had three times. So it had a six-fold differential in one generation. The same thing is gonna happen to the United States unless we get it together.

Recorded on: 10/29/07

 

 

Patrick Byrne: What are the...

Newsletter: Share: