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Made You Think

Sep 26, 2017

“When money can be earned anywhere, you won’t obligated to live in or subjugate yourself to high taxation.”

In this episode of Made You Think, we discussed “The Sovereign Individual,” a book published in 1996 predicting how the Internet would change our lives and work over the following decades. Some of it’s come true, some of it is yet to come, but no book has made either of us think so much about how technology might destroy what we think of as citizenship, work, travel, community, and life.

We talked about:

  • The increasing popularity of self-education over college
  • How to prepare yourself for the future cyber-economy
  • The future of job automation and subsequent unemployment
  • The decreasing demand for people with degrees and job experience
  • The four stages of cultural and societal advancement
  • The future of cryptocurrency and online wealth
  • The necessity for finding meaning in your life and work

And much more. Please enjoy, and be sure to grab a copy of The Sovereign Individual and to check out Nat’s notes on the book!

If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to also listen to our episode on Mastery by Robert Greene to learn how to become a master at your craft, and our episode on The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell on using the power of mythology to positively influence our lives.

Mentioned in the show:

Books mentioned:

People mentioned:

Show Topics

0:00 - Intro to the podcast and discussion of The Sovereign Individual. Some history on the book and what it’s about.

2:52 - Some predictions for the future that the book made in 1996, detailing some of the four stages of civilization that the book describes, and some various cultural examples.

9:00 - Some bits on the informational age, the possible future of wealth, and financial independence.

12:40 - Digital nomading and taking advantage of work that’s based online for more money.

16:40 - The shift to the majority of things moving towards being online and us moving towards living just as much online as we do offline.

19:53 - Businesses moving online, money becoming harder to track, Bitcoin, and avoiding taxes.

22:44 - The potential backlash of a digital economy, from taxes being easier to avoid, and people losing their jobs due to companies automating those jobs in the future.

26:57 - With more companies becoming easier to find online, companies will have much more competition, and the consumer will have better pricing.

28:27 - The diversity of people you find when outsourcing work and the affordability aspect of outsourcing.

31:48 - The decline of the parallels with the church and the state, the ease of fact-checking people with degrees and learning nearly anything online, and the declining need for certain degrees.

34:39 - Finding the bulk of medical knowledge online, getting health consultations online, and some thoughts on healthcare and its future.

40:02 - The link between inflammation and depression, and some obvious health strategies that have been known for centuries that we now have the research to back up.

42:07 - Some flaws and some examples of the parallels with the church and the state, the perspective shift on income that comes with entrepreneurship, and the benefits of saving much more money than you spend.

50:20 - People beginning to realize they can self-educate themselves rather than going to college and more employers looking for skills rather than degrees.

52:45 - The rising issue with fake news and popular websites promoting false information.

55:15 - More discussion on employers realizing it’s not about the degree or the years spent working, it’s more about what someone has done.

57:31 - The life and death of the nation-state. Transitioning from the taxation based state to becoming more of a customer and paying for what you want.

1:05:19 - The unique aspects of America being exported a lot and making other places just as important, and the sustainability aspect of the large intellectual diversity in America.

1:08:52 - A community being formed more on a shared idea of a future, rather than a shared past or shared blood. Also, living in different countries and the future of various countries economies.

1:17:00 - Discussing the return of violence mentioned in the book. Governments, companies, and employees fighting any opposition.

1:20:00 - How some large companies are evading American taxes by routing income in different countries.

1:24:03 - Employee owned versus investor-owned companies and hiring contractors rather than employees.

1:34:19 - The book’s predictions on how the cyber-economy will be evolving, most of which we’ve already seen. Also, some thoughts on how the last shift to a fully based cyber-economy may happen.

1:36:40 - The future of cryptocurrency, some impediments with them, and some thoughts on the inflation of cryptocurrencies.

1:38:44 - Some other prediction’s the book made on what will happen when the economy shifts to being fully online and some thoughts on this from Nat and Neil.

1:43:04 - This risk of unemployment due to job automation and higher skill levels being required. Also, some of the issues with this happening and possible revolts.

1:52:45 - The need for finding work you that you truly enjoy doing and finding meaning for your life.

1:57:52 - Wrap-up, some last thoughts on the book and in general, and some last pieces of advice.

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“If you can teach yourself to solve problems, you have a bright career ahead. No matter where you live, you will find problems galore in need of solving. Those who would benefit from solutions of their problems, will pay you handsomely to solve them.”