You've got 10 minutes with Einstein. What do you talk about? Black holes? Time travel?

Why not gambling? The Art of War? Contemporary parenting?

Each week, host Jason Gots surprises some of the world's brightest minds with ideas they're not at all prepared to discuss. Join us and special guests Neil Gaiman, Alan Alda, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Richard Dawkins, Maria Popova, Mary-Louise Parker, Neil deGrasse Tyson and many more...

Yancey Strickler (Kickstarter co-founder) – you, me, us: now and in the future

Having helped transform how creative work is financed, Yancey Strickler has moved on from Kickstarter, the company he co-founded toward a kind of values reset that moves us away from a narrow, unsustainable, inhumane obsession with profit at all costs.

Think Again Podcasts




The phrase "common sense" can be misleading. The way we use it in casual conversation, it means something like "that which is obvious to any sensible person, of course". It's like what philosopher Daniel Dennett says about the word "surely". Surely we can all agree that it's just an innocent word, right? Surely I'm not manipulating you by starting this sentence with a positive conclusion? Common sense, in fact, is just what it sounds like: the commonly agreed upon sense of how things are at any given time. But as social primates, we too easily mistake consensus for truth.

My guest today is Yancey Strickler, cofounder of Kickstarter—the company that made "crowdfunding" a common sense idea. That's a very big deal when you consider that when Kickstarter was getting, uh, kickstarted, that idea made very little sense to anybody at all. Having people chip in to launch something they'll never own? Ludicrous! Contrary to human nature as explained by Adam Smith!

Having helped transform how creative work is financed, Yancey's moved on from Kickstarter. His new book: This Could Be Our Future: a Manifesto for a More Generous World is after bigger game—a kind of values reset that moves us away from a narrow, unsustainable, inhumane obsession with profit at all costs. He calls it "bento values" because it's a box with four compartments: Me and us, now and in the future. Maybe it's not common sense today, but surely it could be.

A brief history of human dignity

What is human dignity? Here's a primer, told through 200 years of great essays, lectures, and novels.

Credit: Benjavisa Ruangvaree / AdobeStock
Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
  • Human dignity means that each of our lives have an unimpeachable value simply because we are human, and therefore we are deserving of a baseline level of respect.
  • That baseline requires more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose.
  • We look at incredible writings from the last 200 years that illustrate the push for human dignity in regards to slavery, equality, communism, free speech and education.
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