Chris Blattman on Why We Fight

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Chris Blattman is an economist and political scientist and author of several books, most recently *Why We Fight: The Roots of War and the Paths to Peace*.  

This is another installment in my investigation for how to pursue social change.  What I notice about insurance is that the institution is so deeply encoded in our society that we don’t even realize how important it is. So deeply encoded that we actually kind of hate it, yet it persists because of how important it is. 

What are other ways of pursuing beneficial social change? Persistent beneficial social change? Violent conflict is a pretty big, nasty problem. But what are its roots and what are its causes? What might need to change about our world to reduce it? What is the relationship between peripheral and central societies and how is that related to violence? 

All that plus tons on James C Scott and more!

Why did I do this show?

There are a lot of social problems in the world and Chris combines a track record of discovering ways to meaningfully and persistently change very poor societies on some of the most important dimensions. This is very important stuff!

What did I learn?

One of the great things about talking to Chris is a discrete separation of analyzing morality from violence. Sometimes we must sacrifice morals to eliminate violence. Historically, our societies have often had to choose between peace or justice.

What was my favorite part?

In our discussion for how to persistently encode social transformation Chris mentioned the congressional testimony of Fred (Mr.) Rogers. Holy cow.


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