That hypothesis doesn’t fit Romer’s prior career. Mine does.
Romer is an economist specializing in new growth theory — he’s one of the seminal figures in the movement — and his work says that roughly all economic growth is knowledge growth. Romer is about increasing knowledge to increase growth, which is the only big issue besides violence and war.
Romer also knows that knowledge only increases by trying new stuff — and then he read public choice and saw that government institutions basically don’t change their rules. Hence governments don’t increase knowledge and don’t get better.
Since his obsession is growth, by means of trying new stuff, it’s hardly fair to say he’s only echoing the boring Moldbug hypothesis. He’s far smarter than that, and besides, politically mostly liberal.
His line is that you don’t know what will work best, and neither does he. At best he’s pushing neocameralism for a first try, in order to garner some extra support for his actual radical position of trying lots of different things.Again with Aretae's 1st law:
The feedback system defines the system itselfRomer is arguing that the system of governance worldwide is stagnant. The only path out, according to all of us contrarians, is to have places that try new things. Some of the new things will work better, some won't. But until we have places to try new things, nothing will get better.
Moldbug argues (with Carlyle) that a specific system (USG-Corp), or almost any system in a specific direction (formally aristocratic) would be better.
This is a nice line, and there's some chance that it's true...but it's nowhere near as interesting TO ME as the Romer line that the evolution and improvement of legal systems has been interrupted and needs restarted.
For those who have forgotten...here's Romer's kickoff of the idea at TED...in which he explains things the way I did.