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Developing the Developed World
Entrepreneurship, Liberty, and the Future

Recorded: Tuesday, January 27, 2015

In his #1 New York Times bestselling book, Zero to One, Peter Thiel presents his often contrarian ideas about competition, progress, technology, and finding value in unexpected places—to build a future that we have yet to dream, but that may someday become reality. In “Developing the Developed World” he brings these ideas to life, including his insights on how to create true innovations in “the world of atoms”—not just “digits and bits”—and how to foster a peaceful, prosperous and freer future marked by globalization in a world of limited resources.

Peter Thiel is Founder and Managing Member of Clarium Capital Management, LLC; Co-Founder of Paypal, Palantir Technologies, Mithril Capital Management, and Valar Ventures; Managing Partner of Founders Fund; and past President of Thiel Capital International and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Confinity, Inc. He has been a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, and he is the author of the books:

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, Or How to Build the Future (with Blake Masters)

The Diversity Myth: Multiculturalism and Political Intolerance on Campus (with David O. Sacks)

He co-founded PayPal in 1998, led it as CEO, and in 2002 sold it to eBay and founded Clarium Capital Management, a global macro fund. In 2004 he made the first outside investment in Facebook, where he serves as a director. The same year he co-founded Palantir Technologies, a software company that harnesses computers to empower human analysts in fields like security and global finance. He has provided early funding for LinkedIn, Yelp, RoboteX, Spotify, and dozens of successful technology startups. He is a co-founder and partner at Founders Fund, a venture capital firm that has funded companies like SpaceX and Airbnb. And in 2012 he co-founded Mithril Capital Management, an international technology investment fund.

Mr. Thiel started the Thiel Fellowship, which ignited a national debate by encouraging young people to put learning before schooling, and he leads the Thiel Foundation, which works to advance technological progress and long-term thinking about the future. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University, where he received an A.B. in philosophy and a J.D. from the Stanford University School of Law. He further co-produced the film, "Thank You for Smoking," he was rated a master by the United States Chess Federation, and he received the Innovation Award from "The Economist" in 2010.

Experts: Peter A. Thiel
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Antitrust, Competition, and Monopoly, Bureaucracy and Government, Business, Civil Liberties/ Human Rights, Corporate Welfare, Culture/ Society, Economic History and Development (U.S.), Energy, Free Market Economics, Freedom, Government Power, Health Care, History (U.S), Labor and Employment, Law Enforcement, Political Ideology and Philosophy, Politics, Privatization, Public Health/ Consumer Protection, Regulation and Deregulation, Science, Technology, Trade


The New International Arms Race in Space—And How to Avoid It
Recorded: Friday, March 7, 2008

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

An Independent Policy Forum held on 3/7/08. Peter L. Hays, Associate Director of the Eisenhower Center for Space and Defense Studies, and Theresa Hitchens, Director of the Center for Defense Information, discuss the implications that the U.S. takedown of a malfunctioning satellite have for a potential arms race in space.

Experts: Ivan Eland, Peter L. Hays, Theresa Hitchens
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Defense and Foreign Policy, Diplomacy and Foreign Aid, Science, Technology


Is Walmart Good or Bad for America? A Debate
Recorded: Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Richard K. Vedder and Ken Jacobs debate whether the rise of Walmart and similar big box retailers have been beneficial or harmful to the US economy.

Richard K. Vedder is Senior Fellow at The Independent Institute and Edwin and Ruth Kennedy Distinguished Professor of Economics and Faculty Associate, Contemporary History Institute, Ohio University. Professor Vedder is co-author (with Lowell Gallaway) of The Independent Institute book, "Out of Work," the recipient of both the Sir Antony Fisher International Memorial Award and Mencken Award Finalist for Best Book, and the Institute monograph, Can Teachers Own Their Own Schools?

Ken Jacobs is Chair of the U.C. Berkeley Labor Center, and a former member of the Mayor’s Universal Health Care Council in San Francisco. He is the Co-author od “Declining Job-Based Health Coverage for Working Families in California and the United States,” and “Hidden Costs of Wal-Mart Jobs”.

David J. Theroux is Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Independent Institute and Publisher of The Independent Review.

Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Antitrust, Competition, and Monopoly, Business, Culture/ Society, Economic History and Development (U.S.), Economists, Free Market Economics, History (U.S), Labor and Employment, Politics, Public Health/ Consumer Protection


New Opportunites for Excellence in a Freer World
Recorded: Wednesday, April 27, 1994

Change is today's constant in any industry you can name. Half of the Fortune 500 companies in 1980 fell off the list by 1990, and the trend is accelerating. And although during this period American business as a whole created 20 million new jobs, the Fortune 500 lost over 3 million jobs. Today's global marketplace is demanding radical business change to survive.

Ten years after his landmark book, In Search of Excellence, Tom Peters will draw upon his newest book, Liberation Management, to direct business toward this revolutionary restructuring. Any business firm must increasingly be in the knowledge extraction, integration, and application business. Today's biggest companies are dismembering themselves, voluntarily, in record numbers in order to compete. Management is flattening organizations, linking everyone into every function and then directly to the consumer. In his presentation, Tom Peters will show why centralized bureaurcarcies can no longer excell. The new "knowledge workers" must be "liberated" to operated in fast, non-bureaucratic, information-networking teams. Workers must become self-starters with employers facilitating the new entrepreneurship. Business Strategy will be conducted by moderate-size, highly accaountable, units that are very, very close to the marketplace. And through this "marketizing of the firm," governement bureaucracies must be curtailed in their constraints on entrepreneurship.

From computers to chemicals, railroads to financial services, farming to telecommunications, the old structures are crumbling as the biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution continues apace. And those who adapt will see a new era of prosperity.

Experts: Tom Peters
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Antitrust, Competition, and Monopoly, Business, Free Market Economics, Freedom


Recapturing the Spirit of Enterprise
Recorded: Thursday, February 24, 1994

With California's current economic despair, how will we get the economy out of its rut? With compelling portraits of those who defy convention to originate the products that fire a growing economy, George Gilder will deliver an ardent message: People must be free as entrepreneurs to innovate and create new wealth through market-based enterprises which benefit everyone.

More than any other nation, America has benefited from entrepreneurial freedom. But whereas in the 1980s, the "Forbes 400" of wealthiest people experienced it's biggest turnover ever, going into the 1990s, our growth and prosperity appear to have stalled.

High tax rates, regulations, and runaway liability today are stifling such progress, especially for the very poor. Chosen not by blood, credentials, education, or service to the establishment, entrepreneurs succeed by performance alone. for service to consumers. Henry Ford, Sam Walton, Steve Wozniak, Soichiro Honda, William Hewlett & David Packard, Sony's Akio Morita, and Bill Gates all began in the "skunk works" of their trades. All had to stoop to conquer, and they embody the entrepreneur whose worth is retained only through constant work and satisfying the customers.

George Glider will demonstrate how we can recapture this essential spirit of enterprise. If entrepreneurs are freed and allowed to rise up and meet the challenges of the future, America and California will once again become first by serving others.

George Gilder

Senior Fellow, Discovery Institute

Author, "Recapturing the Spirit of Enterprise"

David J. Theroux

Founder and President, The Independent Institute

Experts: George Gilder
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Antitrust, Competition, and Monopoly, Business, Free Market Economics, Privatization


Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War: How Government Can Mold Public Opinion
Recorded: Thursday, October 7, 1993

What happens when government goes unchallenged, and when questions regarding present or proposed policies go unasked? With the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War, for example, Americans are increasingly wary of foreign conflicts. Yes, American forces are still active in Somalia and are being called for in the Balkans and elsewhere. To understand how government officials may seek to shift public opinion on unpopular programs, John MacArthur has found understanding the precedents set during the war against Saddam Hussein to be most insightful.

In his presentation, Mr. MacArthur will draw upon his widely acclaimed book, Second Front: Censorship and Propoganda in the Gulf War, to scrutinize the government's campaign to tightly control the American media during Operation Desert Storm. With a reporter's critical eye and a historian's sensibility, he will trace decades of press-government regulations – during Vietnam, Grenada, and Panama – which helped set the stage for restrictions on Gulf War reporting and for a government public-relations triumph.

In his talk, Mr. Macarthur will detail the behind-the-scenes activities during Operation Desert Storm by the U.S. and Kuwaiti governments as well as the media's being co-opted while its rights to observe, question, and report were heavily restricted far beyond and needs to protect American lives. He will demonstrate how, despite a torrent of words and images from the Persian Gulf, Americans were systematically and deliberately kept in the dark about events, politics, and simple facts during the Gulf Crisis.

Drawing upon frank and startling interviews, Mr. MacArthur will discuss how the Pentagon, after locking out the press in Grenada and Panama, pooled, censored, and escorted the media under armed guard in the gulf to a degree seldom seen before in America's wars. As a result. the media may have merely become glorified government stenographers, uncritically accepting such stories as the Kuwaiti babies being snatched from incubators by Iraqui soldiers, the precision of "smart bombs," the exaggerated size and morale of Hussein's forces, and the nature of losses on both sides. In revealing the workings of propoganda, Mr. MacArthur will question the impact and need for such extraordinary government power.

Experts: John R. MacArthur
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Bureaucracy and Government, Civil Liberties/ Human Rights, Defense and Foreign Policy, Diplomacy and Foreign Aid, Entertainment, Government Power, Government Secrecy, History (International), Terrorism and National Crises