Ep.93 – The Fifth Risk with Michael Lewis

If you’re a regular listener, you know this show is not political in nature. We leave that stuff to the so-called experts.

But since next Tuesday is Election Day, we thought we’d talk a little politics with rockstar author and repeat guest, Michael Lewis.

A prolific writer, it’s highly like that you’ve probably picked up at least one of his books, including Moneyball, The Blind Side, The Big Short or Flash Boys.

In this interview, we discuss his latest work, The Fifth Risk, which focuses on the consequences we may face if some of the people given control over the government have no idea how it works.

As you turn the pages, you’ll be taken into various departments of the government that at times resemble a rudderless ship.

In Agriculture, the funding of vital programs like food stamps and school lunches is being slashed. The Commerce Department may not have enough staff to conduct the 2020 Census properly. Over at Energy, where international nuclear risk is managed, it’s not clear there will be enough inspectors to track and locate black market uranium before terrorists do.

Willful ignorance plays a role in these looming disasters. If your ambition is to maximize short-term gains without regard to the long-term cost, you are better off not knowing those costs. If you want to preserve your personal immunity to the hard problems, it’s better never to really understand those problems. There is upside to ignorance, and downside to knowledge. Knowledge makes life messier. It makes it a bit more difficult for people who wish to shrink the world to a worldview.

Thankfully, Michael Lewis also finds the heroes, those public servants whose knowledge, dedication, and proactivity keep the machinery running.

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“Better Off” theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.