Bhu Srinivasan III

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  • Born:
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Historian

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Biography

Bhu Srinivasan is a historian of Capitalism and is the author of "Americana: A 400-Year History of American Capitalism". Starting in the late 90s, his career provided him a front-row seat to the Internet boom as a founder of a venture-backed startup in news aggregation. His experience spans gaming, publishing, and financial data. At the age of eight, Bhu immigrated to America from India and has since lived in the American South, the Rust Belt, Southern California, and the Northwest. He currently resides in Connecticut with his wife and four children.

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Capitalism should not be thought of as an ideology, but instead should be thought of as an operating system. Think of your iPhone. Your iPhone merges hardware with software. Apps and hardware. Now think about all the hardware as the physical reality all around you, and think of the apps as entrepreneurial activity, creative energy. And in-between, you have an operating system. As you have advances in hardware, you have advances in software. And the operating system needs to keep up. It needs to be patched, it needs to be updated, new releases have to happen. And all of these things have to happen symbiotically. The operating system needs to keep getting more and more advanced to keep up with innovation. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs ;Capitalism
Imagine that in 1900, you owned 100 acres of land someplace in the Midwest. It's very easy to see where your fence ends, your neighbor's property begins. Now let me ask you, where in the sky does your property end? Does it end at 1,000 feet, 5,000 feet, 10,000 feet? It makes no difference, because other than the novelty of a few hot-air balloons, man couldn't fly. But within three years, he could. Now all of a sudden, it was very much relevant whether your land ends at 1,000 feet in the sky, 5,000 feet, 10,000 feet. And you have to have someone arbitrate that. And indeed, that's exactly what happened. And five or ten years from now, when Amazon wants to deliver a package over your house to your neighbor from that UPS truck, we're going to have to decide: Does you property end at five feet, 10 feet, 50 feet, 100 feet? Where does it end? And there is no ideology that will tell you where your property ends. It's an operating system. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs ;Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement ;Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
In 10 years, ... you're going to see the most valuable economy in the world -- the largest economy in the world -- is going to be a country run by communists. The Chinese seem to be very good at capitalism. And this is going to have fundamental problems and present an identity crisis for the United States. Because for a long time, free markets coincided with liberties such as free speech, free press, free religion. And all of a sudden, this equation is going to be decoupled. And when it gets decoupled, we might find that democracy, the multitude of voices, actually impedes capitalism because a state that does not have any pretense of limited government can very quickly mandate a regulatory framework for drones, for electric cars, for self-driving cars, for any new innovation where they feel that they can leapfrog Western societies. And this is a very unique thing in the American experience. And this is why it's very important to think of American capitalism as an operating system and not as an ideology. Because when you think about it as an ideology, you can have good politics make for very, very bad policy. That market outcomes and democratic voices and battles for votes can end up stifling progress. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs ;Democracies & Republics ;Development & Growth ;Capitalism