All-In with Chamath, Jason, Sacks & Friedberg - E5: WHO's incompetence, kicking off Cold War II, China's grand plan, 100X'ing America's efficiency

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Hey everybody, welcome to the All In Podcast.

This is our fifth episode.

As you know, we regularly publish this podcast,

well, every two to four weeks, something like that.

And just to give you a little idea

of how well this is going,

the podcast peaked at number 10 in tech podcasts,

even though we never publish it,

and we’re only four episodes in.

Number 10?

So tell your friends about the podcast

so we can be number one

and just dunk on traditional media,

which is full of people who have us as the guests.

Jason, number 10 on what, Apple?

Apple Technology Podcasts.

We literally raced.

I mean, it went from like,

we debuted in the 20s, then the teens,

and then boom, we hit number 10.

And I was talking to somebody in media

who has us on as guests,

and I was like, listen, I formed a super team

and we’re now getting more traffic.

I’m sorry, who are you talking to?

Just like a mirror where you were just looking at yourself?

I mean, you are so fucking arrogant

after that shitty video.

What video are you referring to?

What video are you referring to?

Oh my God, oh look, you want me to say it

to all the listeners?

You want me to say it?

All right, hold on a second.

Let me just kind of skim through the housekeeping.

Somebody made a cut of the billion times

Jason mentioned he was an early investor in Uber.

All right, take it easy,

Virgin Galactic slash Slack investor.

I don’t say anything.

I mean, I have a lot of companies I could mention.

Yeah, they just put it on the Chiron,

the lower third, every time you’re on CNBC, everybody.

My problem is I have too many unicorns

to mention just one.

I wouldn’t know which one to mention.

They just go with PayPal and Knows Peter Thiel.

David, David, I have a question.

Why is there a picture of two pregnant men

behind you on Zoom?

We now have the technology for men to be impregnated.

This is a recent picture of Jason and I on the golf course.

I’m not sure who’s more out of shape.

Are you on the first hole?

You look like you’re about to collapse.


In fairness, in fairness, it’s 106 degrees.

Two minutes later, the guy behind him

has put his hands under his shoulders and holds him up.

It’s 106 degrees at 80% humidity.

And I kid you not, this was the second

and third time I played golf.

This was the third time.

And I’m gonna just ask, David Freeburg is here, of course.

He’s our science friend, buddy.

And Chamath Palihapitiya is here.

How many holes?

I want one of you to set the over under.

Set the over on how many holes we completed each day.

The maximum number of holes we completed.

Four, okay.

Chamath set the line at four,

and you’re taking the over.

It was, Sax?




And actually, there’s a red door every five holes.

So that may have had something to do with it.

I took nine because I figured Jason

was on his rush to the hot dog stand.

Well, that’s where, the red door

is where the hot dogs are.

No, you know what?

I said these two dorks with ADHD

can barely make it an hour doing anything.

And so if you think an average round takes four hours,

then basically, you know, you get through four holes

in about an hour, and then you want to give up.

We got to the fifth hole.

I am addicted to golf now.

I don’t know if you guys know this.

You can gamble on golf.

I’ve heard that.

The biggest match I ever played

was a $500,000 million NASA.

I don’t know what a NASA is.

I lost one and a half bets.

I lost 750K.

What is a NASA type bet?

NASA’s just basically a gambling bet on a per hole basis.

Got it.

We had just a ton of fun, and it was great

because this was the first time I’ve ever-

It’s the single best aspect of golf, in my opinion.

If you gamble, it makes that game

one of the most incredible games

because people with mental fortitude

who cannot play at all can show up

and literally make hundreds of thousands

or millions of dollars.

Yeah, we were playing for hundreds of dollars per hole,

so let’s just leave it at that.

In fact, we were playing $100 a hole,

so it was just for fun.

But man, I don’t know about you guys.

If we know somebody who’s got a membership

in one of these places, I’d love to go back out again,

but it was great fun, and it was a fun show.

Come to Shadow Creek in Vegas.

We can play.

It’s probably the best gambling golf course

in the world, in my opinion.

Okay, I’m in.

So let’s get to business.

For those of you who are tuning in for the first time,

Chamath Palihapitiya is my co-host here on the podcast.

We’ve been friends since we both did

a very brief tour at AOL.

He then went to work for Mayfield,

which is a venture firm you might not have heard of.

He stayed there for about 27 weeks

before going to work for Mark Zuckerberg.

He secured the bag, then started his own venture firm.

It grew way too big, and he kind of got bored

having to manage 100 people.

So now he’s running his home office venture firm

and doing two deals a year.

The one you’ve certainly heard of is Virgin Galactic,

where he’s taking people to space,

and he did a SPAC for that.

IPOB and IPOC are lined up from what I understand,

he’ll correct me if I am wrong,

and he’ll be SPACing two more companies once a year,

I guess will be the pace.

Is that correct, Chamath?

Among other things, but yeah.

Yeah, and then David Sachs has now become,

and David Freeberg have become regulars.

We’ve decided we’re gonna stick with this foursome

as it goes, because we’re getting a really nice

passing of the ball around topics.

And David Sachs went to Stanford with folks

you know like Keith Raboi, Peter Thiel,

during an era where they were a bunch of huge nerds

who created a way to transfer money

on PalmPilots called PayPal.

It didn’t work until they decided to move it to email.

I’m not sure whose idea,

who gets credit for moving it to email, Sachs?


Who decided like, hey, I don’t know, maybe-

Sachs’ silence is his way of saying me.

Because it was an abject failure

when you tried to send money between PalmPilots,

Peter Thiel’s original idea,

but then somebody woke up and said,

well, why don’t we just do this over email?

What he hasn’t said, let me tell you the names

at PayPal he has not said yet.

Musk, Thiel, Hoffman, Levchin,

silence, radio silence so far, David Sachs.

Jeremy Stoppelman, Chad Hurley from YouTube,

Jerry Stoppman from Yelp.

Anyway, he was part of that cohort.

Then he made a movie called Thank You for Smoking,

which was Jason Reitman’s first film.

Jason Reitman then went on to great success.

That film actually made money.

Sachs was so absolutely depressed

by how long it took to make one film

and how painful it was.

He then decided to go create a billion dollar company

in under three years called Yammer,

which Chamath made a ton of money on

and he cackles about regularly.

And then David Freeberg is with us.

He is just the smartest kid at the table,

but somehow figures out how to lose tons of money

to us in poker.

He created and sold it to Monsanto.

He created Metro Mile and he created Eatsa,

which failed horribly, but that just goes to show you

nobody even remembers what Eatsa is,

but they do remember his giant multi-billion dollar

companies and he now is running his own startup studio,

which is making incredibly interesting companies.

Can I talk about the one that’s related

to beverages or not?

Not yet.

Okay, anyway, there’s a company related to beverages

that is so game changing.

He just said no.

You can’t say it.

He showed it to us under Frendier.

I just said, can I talk about the beverage company,

yes or no?

I’m trying to give the guy a goddamn plug here.

But anyway, he said no, so you can’t do a plug.

I’m not doing a plug, but I’m teasing it

and I think he’s literally sitting on

what could wind up being the greatest,

most successful company of the entire group, period.

Okay, let’s jump in.

I wanna talk about, David, you sold Climate to Monsanto

for a billion dollars back in the day

when it was shocking to people, that amount of money.

Still is, but you were one of the first

sort of quote unquote unicorns.

And then you were right in the front seat of Monsanto,

probably could have been CEO if you wanted.

I want you to talk to me about what is going on

with Bayer, Monsanto, Roundup, and I wanna use that

as a jumping off point to talk about

the World Health Organization.

So Roundup is a molecule known as glyphosate

and it’s been used as a herbicide for decades.

And for decades, it was very well studied.

The US EPA and the FDA and USDA

and global health organizations have studied it carefully

because of its incredible use.

It biodegrades, the core molecule glyphosate biodegrades

in a couple of days and it is a very effective herbicide.

So when farmers grow stuff,

they don’t want weeds growing in the field

and Roundup was a pretty effective way

at getting rid of weeds so you could get more crop per acre,

more yield per acre.

A long time, people thought that Roundup,

like many of the traditional persistent chemical herbicides

was carcinogenic and people were concerned about that.

And as a result, there was a lot of studying done.

In fact, before I sold my company to Monsanto,

I spent a lot of time researching Roundup and glyphosate

to make sure that it was safe,

that I wasn’t selling my company

to what everyone was saying was the devil at the time.

And from a scientific basis,

I felt pretty comfortable about the data,

the studies, the research that had been done.

When I was at Monsanto,

there was a bit of a political event that took place

at the World Health Organization.

The World Health Organization runs a group called IARC.

It’s a cancer research institute that’s part of the WHO.

And there was a gentleman who was politically trying

to get himself on that council

to make the case that glyphosate was carcinogenic.

And years later, a Reuters reporter identified

how he was able to get this council

to disregard a number of scientific findings and studies,

including the US EPA and other very wide,

broad ranging studies by international organizations

showing that Roundup or glyphosate was non-carcinogenic.

But the political process by which he was able

to get on the council, get that data excluded from a study

and then get IARC to declare Roundup or glyphosate

a possible carcinogen or probable carcinogen,

then triggered a bunch of tort lawyers in the United States

to start suing Monsanto and now Bayer,

because Bayer bought Monsanto a number of years ago,

for causing cancer.

And the data is absent,

but the way the US court system works

is if you have some probable definition

and you can get a jury to say yes,

and the probable cause was there’s a probable carcinogen

label applied to it by IARC.

And this Reuters reporter years ago did a great job

highlighting how this whole thing

was kind of politically motivated

and the data and the science

from a broad range of scientists,

including the AAAS,

a lot of scientific membership organizations

very definitively and clearly show

that glyphosate is non-carcinogenic.

But it was super troubling and frustrating.

Now, look, this doesn’t bother me personally anymore.

I have no interest whatsoever,

but it turns out that these lawsuits

are now gonna cost Monsanto and now Bayer,

which bought Monsanto,

somewhere between 10 and $15 billion to settle this.

And this is all a function of some political hacking

that took place at the WHO.

So for a long time,

I’ve had a bit of a concern about how the WHO operates

and the process by which they do scientific assessment

and validation.

And a lot of this has obviously become much more apparent

with the coronavirus crisis

and the response with respect to masks

and treatment and so on.

So that’s a little bit of the background

I think you’re referring to, Chamath.

And so, go ahead, Chamath, if you want to.

No, I mean, to me,

I think that this is such an interesting thing.

I wanted to use it as this on-ramp to the WHO

largely because it’s like the ineptitude

keeps compounding in that organization.

I just read that we still don’t have

a definitive posture on masks from the WHO

and that they are finally ceding ground

to the idea that the coronavirus

could partially be spread in air.

I mean, this is so bizarre because-

It’s the middle of July.

There are 3 million cases

and half a million people who have died

and we are still there.

And so, when I saw that Trump pulled out of the WHO,

in this weird way,

the way he did it was kind of cartoonish and stupid

and kind of an insolent child.

But the reason he did it was actually pretty reasonable

because this organization

is not a scientific or health body,

it’s an academic body.

And you can see this in universities

where all of a sudden things tilt away from facts

and it tilts towards all kinds of very, very, very small

points of sort of like political capital

that people fight over.

And so, these politicized organizations are incredible.

And to the point at which we saw this past week,

the report that well over 250 of their own scientists

who they rely on said,

hey, it’s very clear that this is an airborne phenomenon.

Aerosol, tiny microparticles of aerosol,

when people talk, when they sing,

when they cough, when they sneeze,

all this obvious stuff floats in the air.

And if you have a closed air conditioned location,

like say a church in the South or a hotel or a casino,

it’s not a good idea to be in there.

And it’s especially a bad idea to take your mask off.

So now the WHO is 0 for 2.

And Trump, as you said in his just horrifically comical way,

can’t explain as we’re very clearly explaining

that this is a political organization

that is funded by a duopoly of superpowers

that have many issues which we’re gonna get into today.

And we don’t have to say who the duopoly is.

Sax, when you look at this,

being our token conservative here,

and you see the Trump win,

how frustrating is it for you that Trump’s delivery

and his persona, when he is right,

and a person can’t be wrong all the time,

I’m proof positive of that,

you have to deal with the fact that he does it

in such a stupid, inane way

that you don’t actually get credit for the win.

Well, Trump is often the bull in the China shop

and kind of disrupts the status quo

by throwing a grenade into it.

But frequently there are good reasons

why the status quo needs to be disrupted.

And the New York Times laid out the case in a news story

on who the one that reported the scientist complaining

that you were talking about.

It was just a straight news story,

but it almost came across as an expose

because who’s incompetence was laid out so starkly.

The fact that they were slow on mass and opposed them

and I think kind of lied about them.

And then to be downplaying the airborne nature of the virus

in favor of maintaining this narrative

that it’s spread through touching surfaces or fomites,

which I think people are realizing now

is much, much less likely.

And so, yeah, you do kind of have to wonder

whose side is who on.

And the New York Times article kind of suggests

why they do this, which is when they issue a declaration,

they have to think about the ramifications

in all of their member countries.

And so what ends up happening is they sort of start

with the policy implication or political result

that they are thinking about

and then they kind of reverse engineer the science.

And the article talks about how if who were to come out

and sort of be very clear about airborne transmission

that could affect spending or political budgets

in all of these different countries.

And so they’ve been reluctant to do that.

So yeah, it’s a organization that’s sort of political first

and then reverse engineers the science to fit that.


You know what this reminds me of?

It’s like when you have giant investors

on the board of a company,

the management team comes out

and now they’ve got to present like a pivot

or an acquisition or whatever it is.

And they’re thinking, well, okay,

we’ve got this funding source.

These people own 26% of who, this person owns 22%.

We’ve now got to present it to them.

And what are the downstream ramifications?

Luckily, there’s an alignment in a single company.

The alignment is we all want the company share price

to go up.

But here in the world, it is not equally aligned.

What is in China’s best interest,

what’s in the EU’s best interest

and what’s in America’s best interest

might be radically different.

And they are literally funding them, correct, Srimath?

Well, there’s a thing called Sayer’s Law, right?

Which many of us kind of have seen play out,

which is that academic,

the saying is something like academic politics

are so vicious because the stakes are so small.

And in this interesting way,

the WHO has lost the script

because they fight over politics.

Who gets to say what, who’s being positioned

and they lose sight of the real downstream,

in my opinion,

the downstream implications of the things that they have.

Because if they actually just thought from first principles

and tried to be a truly independent body

that said we are gonna take the capital we’re given

from the countries that are supporting us

and actually do the best

and actually publish like what is the best thing to do.

For example, in the case of coronavirus

and be definitive and iterate,

we’d be in a much better place.

But a lot of what has allowed the posture around coronavirus

to transition from a health issue to a political issue

in many ways has been because organizations like the WHO

and the CDC are political bodies and they’re academic bodies.

And so the incentives of the players

within these organizations are not to necessarily

project the right public health positioning.

They are at some level to think

about their own career trajectory

and the political machinations that happen

within the organization that are blind

to normal citizens like us that just consume the output.

And then so when you see something

like an inability to give a definitive ruling

on things like masks or other things,

you just kind of scratch your head and wonder,

is it that they’re dumb?

And the answer is no, it’s not that they’re dumb.

They’re just motivated by very different things

than public health all the time.

Which might be including keeping their jobs.

And the fact that we had David Friedberg on this podcast

and then Sachs chiming in after it, shortly after,

just definitively saying first principles,

why wouldn’t you wear a mask?

What is the possible downside?

And Friedberg saying,

hey, I’m getting some testing equipment.

We should just be doing mass testing.

Friedberg, when you look at this

and how when we started the podcast,

I think in March or April, we were very clear

as people not in the, with the exception of yourself,

not in the healthcare space in any way,

what would be a better structure for the who?

Or is there a better structure

than just a bunch of randos like us on a podcast,

very easily seeing through first principles

that a 79 cent mask is a no brainer,

that getting testing, mass testing

and recording it every day and doing sampling,

what is the better solution here for governance

or for dealing with these type of really large problems

and ones that kind of have a clock.

That’s the other thing about this problem is

this problem came with a countdown clock.

You had to make a really fast decision

in order to protect yourself.

And we made a really drawn out decision.

Now we’re paying the price.

I mean, I think under the circumstances you outlined,

you need leadership, right?

So you need probably a country

or some entity to step forward

and lead with respect to being proactive

and aggressive with action

because any multinational oversight body

or political body is gonna be kind of molasses out.

It’s gonna be stalled out with the processes

and the competing interests as you guys have highlighted.

So the libertarian argument would be

let the free market drive outcomes.

And some folks will succeed and some folks will fail.

If we want all of humanity to succeed,

then the likely scenario is what we’ve seen

with world wars and such, which is you need leadership.

You need one organization or one entity

or one national body to step forward

and say, this is what we’re doing.

And we’re gonna lead.

And the world was absent leadership

over the last six months.

Historically, the US has filled that void,

but that certainly wasn’t the case this year.

And so it seems to me like you’re not gonna find

a political governing system,

multinational governing system

that’s gonna be successful in solving

these kind of existential global problems overnight.

You really need someone to step forward.

And the US is kind of leaving a bit of a gap.

This might be a good segue because the question next

is who’s gonna fill that gap going forward.

Yeah, so let’s make that segue.

When you look at the duopoly that currently is,

I would say on par now,

I don’t think we can say we’re the superpower anymore

and that China’s an up and coming superpower.

It’s pretty clear they are an equal superpower.

I don’t know if anybody here disagrees with that right now,

but if we have an edge,

it’s a very minor one at this point.

How do we look at health problems

with an authoritarian country

where individuals do not vote?

And there is a God King who has recently said,

I will be the God King for the rest of my life for sure.

How do we manage this relationship with China?


And then we can pass it over to Sachs.

From a healthcare perspective?

Let’s start there for sure.

And then whatever other major issue

you would like to then segue into,

climate change comes to mind, trade comes to mind,

human rights comes to mind.

I would imagine the biggest,

the argument that your geopolitical commentators would make

who are probably more experienced and experts in this

than any of us would probably relate

to the degree of influence.

The question of who has the most influence globally

may be kind of the way that you define

who has the most power globally.

And so, in the current circumstance,

you can look at trade balance

between China and other nations.

You can look at trade balance

between the US and other nations,

and you can look at the balance sheet,

the assets and the debt owed.

And you’re right.

I mean, a lot of people are making the case

that we’re kind of reaching a point of parity

through some metric or some set of equations here.

And at this point, there’s gonna be a jockeying

for leadership globally in terms of influence.

And so, that will have ramifications

with respect to things that are global in nature,

like global pandemics.

And I think this is a really kind of key flash moment,

a flashpoint moment for us,

because we are facing that,

we did face that circumstance this year,

and obviously we took the raw end of the deal.

We failed most.

I mean, we all concur on that.

We did worst.

China is just like an extremely good example

of focusing on strategy

while the rest of us focused on tactics.

The last 20 years have been punctuated

by the United States spending literally

trillions of dollars on endless wars

and unnecessary military infrastructure

and all kinds of wasted pork barrel spending

and programs that just have resulted in zero ROI

for the United States and its taxpayers and citizens.

And instead, what did China do?

They basically went around the world

and they used the equivalent amount of dollars.

And they said, every war that the United States fights

is a war that we can essentially be silent on.

Let them do that dirty work.

And what we will do instead is we will go

and basically buy and own large swaths of Southeast Asia,

large swaths of Africa,

which is the emerging labor pools

that will drive GDP forward for us.

And what they’ve essentially created

is not necessarily a voting block,

but a productivity block.

And that’s what’s so interesting

and also really important to understand,

which is that China is fighting not an ideological war.

They’re fighting an economic war.

And it is one where they are buying

member states to join them with their capital.

And so we’ve kind of like not seen it

and it’s unfortunately happened right under our nose.

So now what we need to do is we need to sort of wake up

to this reality and have a very aggressive point of view

around what matters.

So by the way, this is also why,

and I’ll hand the mic to David after this,

but this is also why I think like

we have completely wasted so much time

focusing on all these other countries

that just don’t matter anymore.

And I don’t say that emotionally.

I just say it practically,

like every single minute we spend on Russia

is just a wasted time.

This is a country that just won’t fundamentally matter

in the world over the next 15 to 20 years.

Large swaths of Europe, they’re ideologically aligned,

but they just don’t matter.

The United States has to develop

a really specific strategic viewpoint

on the fact that it is us versus China,

whether we like it or not.

And it starts in things like public policy,

but it stretches to everything,

including capitalism, technology,

intellectual property, healthcare.

And this war will not be fought on the ground with guns.

It’ll be fought with computers

and it’ll be fought with money.

And I think we need to realize that.

Loans and joint ventures.

Sax, what are your thoughts here on this coming Cold War?

We beat the Russians in the last Cold War.

And to Chamath’s point,

the only thing they have really going for them

is their incredibly sinister KGB style information warfare

and the decreasing value of their oil and irrelevance,

which is why they have to do things

like mess with us on social media.

I mean, literally I feel like

it’s like the last couple of dying techniques

they’ve got in their playbook from the 80s as the KGB.

And they got a KGB agent running the country.

When we look at China,

how do you frame our relationship with them

and what would be the best practice

for the next 10 years?

Midterm, in other words.

I think what you’ve seen just really

in the last couple of weeks

is a critical mass of scholarship and punditry

declaring that we are in a new Cold War with China.

And I think of all the momentous news events

that have happened this year,

from COVID to the riots and protests,

I think that the most newsworthy

and historically important event

will be the beginning of this

and the recognition that we are now in Cold War II.

So TikTok.

TikTok is part of it.

I mean, COVID.

It’s paradoxical that a dance app

is literally the tip of the spear.

I mean, I think TikTok is sort of at the fringes.

I think the Cold War II, to David’s point,

started when the United States basically embargoed Huawei

from getting access to 5G technology.

And I know that sounds like a very sort of like

thin thread that most people don’t understand

and we can unpack it in a second.

But in my opinion, that sort of,

at the beginning of this year

was when I started to pay attention

and try to understand this issue more

because it seemed like, wow,

that’s a shot across the bow

and declaring China as the clear,

sort of the clear and present danger

for American sovereignty.

And the NBA and TikTok

being cultural ramifications of that,

which are different.

TikTok’s irrelevant.

Who cares?

Is it irrelevant, Sax?

Well, what TikTok and Huawei have in common

is that the sort of proxy battles of Cold War II

will be fought between these sort of client corporations.

Whereas, you know, Cold War I,

you had sort of these proxy,

these sort of client states fighting these proxy wars.

Cold War II,

you have more of these like client corporations

fighting these proxy wars.

So, you know, it’s,

that’s the sense in which I think they’re related.

The, what TikTok shows is a company

that’s desperately trying to maneuver

so they don’t become one of the first economic casualties

of Cold War II.

They appointed a American as CEO.

They’ve pulled out of Hong Kong

so they’re not subject to those regulations.

And they’re desperately maneuvering

so they don’t get banned in the United States.

They want to preserve their market access.

But I think there’s a very good chance

that they will get shut down in the US.

They’ve been shut down in India.

And today is July the 10th.

And right before we went on,

the breaking news was that Amazon basically asked

all their employees to delete TikTok

because of a security threat.

So it’s happening.

I think that TikTok,

unless they basically have ByteDance

sell under 20 or 30% of the company

and get it into the hands of Americans,

it will get banned.

And I think that there will be a massive destruction

in enterprise value.

But can I tell you why TikTok doesn’t matter

or doesn’t matter as much?

I think, David, you’re right,

that it’s sort of like collateral damage.

It almost is like, you know, it’ll exist, but whatever.

The Huawei thing, in my opinion, is so important

because it shines a light on two things.

The first is that, you know,

what happened essentially is the United States told TSMC,

you know, you cannot basically give Huawei access

to the 5G chipsets and the 5G technology

that they would use to essentially kind of like,

you know, implement their spyware

and then sell it into Western nations, effectively.

And so then what it does is it puts China

in the posture of having to figure out

how do they get access to this stuff?

And, you know, the most obvious answer is to invade Taiwan

and take over TSMC.

And, you know, why would they do that?

Well, obviously that has huge geopolitical ramifications,

but they could only do that, again,

going back to the first comment,

is because they’ve already bought so many nation states

into their productivity block

that it’s still on a balance, a worthwhile trade.

And it allows them to solve their version

of Taiwanese sovereignty completely and definitively

and basically say, look, we’ve now solved Hong Kong.

You know, Macau was already solved

and now we’re gonna solve Taiwan

and put the whole thing to bed

and now we have access to this critical technology

that we need.

So that’s why I think sort of like what happens with Huawei,

sort of what happens with TSMC,

what happens on 5G is so important

because if you’re going to force China, you know,

to basically have to buy Western technology

in order to get access to a critical piece of,

you know, internet infrastructure,

they’re gonna be put to a very, very difficult test

about what they have to do.

And then they will have to be much more transparent

on the global stage about what their ambitions really are

and how far they’re willing to go.

And I think that’s, you know,

that’s a lot more important than, you know,

a bunch of kids dancing to short videos.

Well, and just to add to that point, you know,

so I think Jamal is right that these sort of chips,

the 5G chips and these other chips,

they’re the new oil, you know,

in terms of their geopolitical significance.

You know, obviously all of our technology,

our iPhones, our advanced weaponry,

it’s all based on these chips

and 70% of them are fabricated in Taiwan.

And I think, you know,

one of the huge blind spots of American trade policy

over the last 30 years is kind of not to notice

that this key technology,

that’s really the substrate for all of our technology,

for our economy, has now been,

it’s now been moved and it’s manufactured, you know,

in Taiwan whose sovereignty China does not recognize

and is constantly, you know,

threatening with the risk of being annexed.

So, you know, we have a tremendous vulnerability there.

And, you know, at the same, you know,

we finally, after about 40 or 50 years of declaring

that we’d be energy independent, we’ve achieved that,

but now we have this new dependency on these chips that-

And pharma and manufacturing.

I mean, and we, it seems like now manufacturing,

we’re starting to realize, hey, Elon was right.

We need to be able to build our own factories.

And guess what?

American spirit, American ingenuity,

American focus, American capitalism, we can do it.

We have the wherewithal to do it.

There’s no reason we cannot make these chips here.

Sorry, I don’t buy it

that we’re going to be this dependent forever.

We just need to have the will and the leadership to say,

we’re going to do this,

whether it costs us an extra 50 cents per chip.


Well, the fabrication of these chips

is incredibly complicated.

I mean, they’re basically-

So let’s buy the companies.

They’re microscopic.

And it takes years, like several years,

to set up the facility to do this kind of fabrication.

Why don’t we buy those companies now?

Why don’t we just take, to Chamath’s point,

which was very clear, which is, hey, this is an economic,

this is a ledger,

this is a check writing exercise to win this war.

Why don’t we take out our checkbook

and buy 50% of these companies now

and put them on the NASDAQ if they’re not already there?

It requires real leadership.

At the end of the day,

it needs to be led by the United States government.

The reality is that lithography has gotten so advanced.

I mean, like, look, I have companies

that are taping out chips at like seven nanometer,

and I don’t have supplier diversity.

I don’t know.

I can’t basically choose nine folks to bid it out against,

of which five are domestically in the United States.

There are two, right?

And so you kind of just deal with the complexity

or the lack of diversity that we have.

And Jason, your point is exactly right,

which is the first and most important decision here

is one that’s philosophical,

which is again saying that era of efficiency

at the sake of all else is over.

And we are now moving to an era of resilience,

which inherently is more inefficient.

But in that inefficiency,

we will rebuild American prosperity

because it rebuilds American industry

and it rebuilds American jobs.

There’s another example

that I want to build on David’s point,

which is let’s all believe and attest

that we all care about climate change for a second,

and we all want the world to be electrified, okay?

Well, electricity and electrification

requires two very, very basic inputs, okay?

One is a battery,

and the second is an electric motor, right?

Make sense so far?

Well, inside an electric motor,

there is one critical thing that you need to make it work,

which is a permanent magnet.

The permanent magnet spins around

and that’s how an electric motor works.

Okay, why is that important?

As it turns out that permanent magnets

need special characteristics

that are only provided by a handful

of very, very specific rare earth materials

that we need to mine out of the ground and refine.

Those materials actually exist in many places,

including the United States.

Yeah, we stopped mining for them.

But right now,

China controls 80% of the supply of rare earths.

They can choose how they price it.

They can differentially price to their own companies,

which means that the battery

and engine manufacturers inside of China

can now lead on electrification,

which means China can actually lead on climate change

before the United States can,

unless we have leadership that says,

at a governmental level on down,

we are gonna make this a priority.

We’re gonna fund it.

We’re gonna make sure that there are onshore mines.

We’re gonna make sure that those mines are clean.

We’re gonna build a supply chain domestically

and we’re gonna subsidize.

This is what governments do best.

It’s not act, it’s just incentivize on things like climate.

So I don’t know,

Friedberg has spent a lot of time on climate change.

So he has probably a lot of ideas on this,

but whenever you look at any of these things,

health, climate, food,

it all comes down to the United States versus China,

strategy versus tactics.


I’m not sure.

I’m not sure.

I think that the Chinese action

is as deterministic as we think it is,

or as we kind of frame it,

where it’s China’s got this grand plan.

They’re gonna beat the US

and they’re gonna control things

and make decisions that hurt us.

I think a lot of this is,

China, if you think about it,

less about black and white,

there’s a continuum.

And the continuum is one of influence

and one of creating an environment

whereby these things can happen.

So China, for example,

made capital readily available

for the agriculture industry

to be able to buy assets.

And so the companies inside of China,

which aren’t controlled,

the Chinese government isn’t telling them what to do.

The Chinese government has set a policy

that enables them to increase their prosperity

and as a result,

increase the prosperity of the Chinese people.

When I was at Monsanto,

we bid for the largest ag chemicals company

in the world based out of Switzerland.

It’s called Syngenta.

And we bid like $44 billion to buy this company.

And the largest chemical company in China

called ChemChina bid $47 billion

and acquired the business.

And they now own the largest

ag chemicals company in the world.

China also bought Smithfields

and they put a bunch of people in Canada.

Hey, Friedberg,

how much of that money do you think came from the CCP?

And what involvement do you think the CCP had

in putting their thumb on the scale

of making sure that transaction went that direction?

Look, I mean, ultimately,

wherever the capital comes from,

it’s no less equivalent

than what you would see in the United States

where treasuries fund the central bank,

which funds banks,

which fund lending to corporations,

which ultimately make purchases.

But do you think the leadership said,

hey, we’re winning this at all costs?

So here’s what happened.

In 2007, there was a CCP internal doctrine

that was published and it’s now reasonably well-known.

And there was a speech that was given

that started this aggressive action in agriculture.

And as a result,

Chinese citizens started moving to Canada

and buying farmland in Canada.

They started moving to Australia,

buying farmland in China.

They started building these facilities

in Argentina and Brazil and Africa.

And the Chinese government set out a strategic objective

and provided the capital

and enabled industry and people

to go after pursuing these interests.

But the CCP didn’t say, here’s the roadmap.

It’s not like, here’s the specific plan

for what we need to do.

They had a general high level kind of point of view

that I think drove all that action

and all of that behavior.

And so, I would say it’s not as perhaps coercive

as we might think it is

in terms of the CCP wanting to target and attack US.

They’re trying to increase their influence

around the world.

They’re trying to increase their own security

and increase their own prosperity.

And at some point,

there’s only so many resources globally.

There’s only so much land, so much magnets

that they…

And they’re winning in the markets.

And we’re kind of crossing that threshold now

where they’re actually like a competitor.

The only difference between this is,

and I couldn’t disagree with-

Sorry, my point is,

I just don’t wanna frame it as like,

I just think it’s a misstatement to frame it

as China has this grand plan to come after the US

and they’re evil and that’s what they’re doing.

I mean, they-

Yeah, see, this is where I think

you’re completely wrong, David, respectfully.


I believe this is an ideological war.

And you can’t diminish what’s happening in Hollywood,

TikTok and the NBA and other sports

where China is explicitly saying,

if you put a villain in a movie,

if you talk about Tibet in a movie,

we are going to not play that movie.

And we’re gonna start funding your movies.

And so they are absolutely using the vector of culture.

And Chamath, I think you’re also wrong here

where you’re saying, oh, TikTok’s not important.

TikTok is something that a generation of kids

absolutely are in love with.

And those kids are like, hey, boomers,

stay out of our platform.

And so, and the ideological issue here, Freebird,

which I think that you’re underplaying is,

they want to win and they want to spread their ideology,

which is the ideology of authoritarianism.

They are not going to win Africa

and then suddenly say, you know what,

would be great for Africa

if we made the entire continent democracies.

Tell me that’s not in their best interest.

How is it different than Trump tweeting?

Well, Freebird, I just think that it’s inconceivable to me

that the Chinese, when they do this grandiose planning

and they do the political theater

of having the thousands of people in the Chinese

assembly hall once a year in Xi Jinping talks,

that they haven’t developed a multifaceted,

multi-layered plan that they’re executing.

In part, I think this is why Xi Jinping

essentially wants to be this ruler for life inside of China

because he, I think they have a 20 or 30 year plan.

And I do think it is to disrupt the United States.

And I don’t think that they believe though,

which is the smart thing, that there’s one silver bullet.

I just think that they’re going to take a thousand shots

on goal, whether it’s, you know,

monopolizing the rare earths or, you know,

figuring out how to basically put spying software

in the hands of millions of Americans.

That’s where I think TikTok is actually really important.

It’s essentially a vehicle to spy

and backdoor into Americans.

Or whether it’s, you know, introducing a digital Yuan

so that we can try to disrupt the, you know,

the use of the U.S. dollar

as a reserve currency of the world.

They probably have a list of a thousand tactics

and they’re going to go and execute them.

And I don’t begrudge them that.

I just think it’s well-organized machine.

I just think we now need to counterpunch.


Yeah, I mean, so China is on a mission

of national greatness.

I think the immediate goal is to assert its hegemony

over Asia and to kick the U.S. out of that region.

But I think ultimately now they see in their sights

potentially being the number one country

in the entire world because of the chaos

that COVID has wrought over here.

And in fairness, David,

the incompetence of Trump thus far.

I mean, like, you know, it’s not fair to think

that the Chinese Politburo versus Trump

and his cabinet are an equal match.

Forget their political persuasion.

Yeah, I mean, they clearly seem emboldened.

And, you know, just in the last few weeks and months,

we’ve seen the ending of the two systems in Hong Kong,

which was a 50-year commitment they made in,

I think, 1984.

So they abrogated on that commitment.

Well, and Sachs, they happened to do that

three or four months before Trump is looking like

he’s not gonna be in office.

So talking about shots on goal,

this may be their only shot to do this.

And does that mean they go after Taiwan?

Yeah, and do they go after Taiwan in the next 100 days

where they have a window?

I think we have to be extremely clear

that Taiwan is a red line for us

and that we’re committed to the security of Taiwan.

Because if we show any hesitation or weakness there,

they will seize on that.


Would Trump do that?

Would Trump put his foot down?

Because he did nothing when it came to supporting-

I think we need to abstract away

from any given president of the United States

because they change every four or eight years.

And I think we need to have a bigger discussion,

which is, like I said, over the next 40 to 50 years,

are we comfortable with duopoly power structure in the world,

which is the United States and China,

because that’s effectively what we are today,

or are we the shining city on a hill once again?

And if so, what are we willing to do

to make sure that that’s the case?

And I think that’s independent of your political persuasion

and your party.

Right, right.

Well, the good news here is that both Trump and Biden

are basically racing to sort of position themselves

as the more hawkish candidate on China,

which is to say that this recognition of Cold War II

is now, I think, bipartisan,

which if you want to sustain a policy in this country

over, say, 40 years, like we did

in containing the Soviet Union,

you have to have bipartisan support for that.

And so it does seem like, finally, as a country,

I think we are kind of getting our act together on China.

I mean, obviously, there will be disagreements

within that larger context,

but it seems like now people are waking up to the threat

that China represents to, you know,

to America being the number one country in the world.

And I think-

Yeah, by the way, I agree with Sax.

I mean, I think that’s exactly what’s happening

and what will happen here.

And it’ll certainly, it’ll be a big hill to climb.

I’ll just highlight, and I’ll ask the question of Chamath,

you know, per his point earlier.

Let me ask you guys,

how many factories do you think exist in China?

Take a guess.

11 million.

2.8 million.

Now, how many do you think exist in the United States?


Close, about 250,000.

And China has about 83 million factory workers,

and we have about 12.

So, you know, Chamath, if we do end up in Cold War II,

where, you know, we escalate the tension

and escalate the divide,

how do we end up, you know,

having, avoiding $2,000 or $3,000 iPhones?

How do we get all the televisions we want for 500 bucks?

How do we do that,

given that, you know,

to catch up with this production capacity

will end up costing many tens of trillions of dollars

of invested capital

which China has invested over decades?

Well, this is such a brilliant,

this is a fabulous question.

And I think I don’t have the answer,

but here’s the way that I think about the solution.

You know, the thing that we had before

was in my way, in many ways,

like this kind of like perverted sense of globalism.

And I think that we, you know,

we thought that globalism equals utopia.

And that’s not true.

It’s actually more like a chessboard,

which means you have, you know,

two different sets of colored pieces

competing against each other.

And each piece on the board in many ways is a country.

So, you know, we can look at that as a geographic skew

and say like, we need to really consolidate,

you know, North, Central and South America

as a block, as a productivity block.

And so, David, that’s where we need to have

more trade within those areas

so that we can actually build up production capacity

in places that can absorb and produce low cost labor

or low cost items to compete with the China block.

That may be a solution.

That is an incredible point, Chamath,

which is why the rhetoric with Mexico,

which would love to have a deep relationship with us,

is so dumb.

We’re talking about factories.

They would love for us to put more factories on there.

And whatever countries,

let’s work our way down the peninsula.

Yeah, go down the peninsula.

Go to Honduras, go to El Salvador, go to Guatemala,

where the people are screaming for work,

which is why they’re trying to enter the United States.

The best way is to not build a wall,

take all that money and fuel it into production

and manufacturing and warehouse capacity

in those places in which they are leaving

in the first place.

And if we thought like China, we would…

Go ahead, go ahead, Freeberg, sorry.

No, you can’t successfully sustain a Cold War with China

without global partnership.

And I think, you know, this notion of nationalism

and isolationism in the United States

will not work in a world

where we are also trying to compete globally with China

and are raising the stakes in a global Cold War.

You can’t have it both ways.

So, you know, either the current administration policy

needs to change.

I’d love to hear Sax’s point of view on this.

Or, you know, or we need to have a change in administration

and actually, you know, re-engage on a global basis

with partner states.

Well, okay.

So I think the point about,

about, well, I think what some people on the right would say

is that being able to buy cheap goods at target

is not worth the hollowing out

of the American industrial base

that happened over the past 30 years

and that was a catastrophic mistake.

And, you know, this is what got Trump reelected

was shattering that blue wall in those Rust Belt states.

So I think we can kind of look back on that

and wonder whether that trade-off was really worth it.

But moving forward, I think the balance is gonna be

to realize that trade does create wealth.

You know, all wealth, in fact, comes from trade,

whether at the level of individuals or nations.

If it weren’t for trade, all of us would be

subsistence farmers or something like that.

But we also have to realize

that trade creates interdependence

because I stopped making certain things

in order to buy them from you.

And so in order to engage in trade,

we have to trust each other.

I have to trust that you one day won’t decide

that your ability to manufacture antibiotics is strategic

and you might deprive me of them

in order to facilitate some geopolitical interest.

And so I think what we’re waking up to

with production of pharmaceuticals or N95 masks,

you know, PPE, and now chips is that

we’ve had this real blind spot with respect to trade.

We’ve basically offshored so many of the elements

that are necessary for our national survival.

And I think those elements have to be brought back

so that America is safe and independent.

But with respect to, you know, so many other things,

I think it’s fine for us to get them through trade,

whether, you know, it could be apparel or toys

or so many other goods that, you know,

we do want cheap goods that are not formally strategic.

I wanna do a mental exercise.

We all, for our living, try to come up with 100x,

1,000x solutions, whether we’re creating the companies

or betting on the companies.

I want everybody to just think for a second

of the United States as a startup company

and a 10x, 100x idea for how we can

not only maintain our position,

but maybe become the shining hill

where we actually lead the world

towards democracy, towards human rights.

I’m gonna start with one that I just happened to,

it hit me while you all were talking,

which is why I love doing this podcast

because I get such inspiration listening to you guys,

you know, pass the ball around.

We haven’t added a state to the United States

in a pretty damn long time.

What if we said to Puerto Rico,

what if we said to the Dominican Republic,

what if we said to Honduras,

I mean, and I don’t wanna make this

into a exercise in colonialism,

but if we said, you know what, Puerto Rico,

how do you feel about being the 51st state?

Because we’re already 80% of the way there.

And what if we said the United States is going to,

and this is just a crazy 100x idea,

we’re gonna start taking countries

that maybe love democracy,

that would love to be part of the United States

and having a bridge towards becoming part of this block,

whether it’s how Puerto Rico is.

Jason, the United States can barely function as it is.

That’s why I’m giving you the freedom to say

this is a 100x exercise as a startup,

because if we put out crazy ideas like this,

maybe we can pull people towards thinking

like the chessboard of how to play 3D chess

or how to win the chessboard,

not just move the pawns back and forth.

Well, I think the first thing America has to do

is decide whether it wants to,

whether it still thinks that national greatness is important

and whether it wants to compete

to be the leading power in the world.

Because right now it seems like we’re hopelessly divided

and our guns are literally drawn on each other.

And you’ve got this all out assault going on on capitalism,

you have sort of cancel culture

and America just seems hopelessly divided.

And I don’t know if Americans still think it’s important

to be the number one power in the world.

All right, so what’s your thought experiment

on how to make Americans realize this is important?

Or if anybody else wants to jump in here

with a 10x idea for America, go ahead, John.

I have an overlaying theory

that this is sort of kind of me spitballing,

so bear with me, but-

Let’s do it.

There’s this concept called the Overton window, right?

Which is sort of like the minimally viable,

acceptable surface area of dialogue,

at which case it starts to sort of get extreme.

I would theorize, I would tell you

that the Overton window is the smallest it’s ever been.

And there’s basically nothing that you can talk about

that is relatively benign without it being politicized.

There’s no gradation anymore.

It’s a very binary thing.

You’re either in the Overton window,

which, for example, would be like vegetables matter

or looking both ways across the street matters.

And outside the Overton window,

honestly, is Black Lives Matter, as an example.

And it gets politicized on both sides.

Masks, if a balaclava when you’re skiing

because your face is cold is inside the Overton window.

That same balaclava when you go to the drug store

so that you can actually either prevent disease

one way or the other is outside the Overton window.

Making sure that police are there to protect you

in a time of need is now outside the Overton window

because it’s framed in the lens of police brutality.

So the Overton window has shrunk.

So we have very little surface area

where we can actually all agree

without getting into a fight, ideologically.

We’re trying to cancel each other.

I totally agree with that.

I mean, we have this sort of epidemic

of cancel culture going on.

And I guess, Jason, you recently experienced this.

Oh my Lord.

I mean, for the love of God, what happened, Jason?

Tell us what happened.

Listen, I look at Twitter as a place

to have vibrant discussions.

And 10 years ago, it was kind of where

the Overton window was most open.

You could have a discussion about anything.

And we had a discussion about my feeling

that as a former journalist,

and we’re doing random acts of journalism here,

that I just thought the New York Times

was just way too biased,

and that they picked a side

in order for their business to survive.

And I actually believe that.

I believe they picked the side of Trump.

I’m sorry, the side of anti-Trump

in order to get subscriptions

because their advertising business

has been demolished by the duopoly of Facebook and Google.

This led to the circling of the wagons

of the journalists, which I was part of.

But listen, it’s pretty easy to hate me.

I understand that.

I’m a loud mouth.

And so now I’m getting piled on by the journalists.

And you were an early investor in Uber.


Don’t forget that.

Don’t leave that out.

The third or fourth, they tell me the third or fourth.

Anyway, so there’s a journalist at said publication,

I’m not gonna say her name

because I don’t want any harassment of anybody.

Who said people are stupid for going back to work

and they’re idiots.

And I said, this is a very convenient thing

for a journalist who works behind a keyboard

who makes $100,000 a year to say

because those people are literally not gonna be able

to feed their kids if they don’t go back to work.

And this led to her saying I was harassing and stalking her.

Then I was in Clubhouse, the new social network

where you talk and the same journalist was in the audience.

And I said to the people who were talking,

just be aware there is a journalist in the audience

because even though this is a private beta,

this could wind up being in the New York Times,

which it did.

Not that discussion,

but another one that was covertly taped.

And I don’t know if it was covertly taped

by journalists or not,

but it did wind up in the press.

Anyway, this whole thing turns into a giant fight.


Clubhouse sounds like some dark S&M sex club in Berlin.

No, no, that’s a-

Here’s what I think is most entertaining about this.

That’s Clubhouse, H-O-A-U-S, house, Clubhouse.

Yeah, what I think is most entertaining about this

is that the New York Times journalist

was in this vicious battle with Bology,

who’s a Silicon Valley founder and personality.

And they were arguing.

And then Jason somehow comes running over

and starts involving himself in this feud.

And it’s like Bology gets fouled,

but Jason takes the flop, you know?

And all of a sudden, Jason’s talking about

how he’s getting doxed.

Bology’s the guy who was called out in the New York Times,

but somehow Jason takes the flop.

But anyway, so here’s what’s happened.

I’m only telling the story.

I’m not trying to get victim points,

give a fuck about that.

It’s July 4th.

I put the kids down for the nap.

Steaks are going on the grill.

It’s a fucking great day.

And then I’m on the Peloton

trying to be just a little less fat

so I can be less fat than Sax

so that the photo that Sax is using,

I just come out 5% less fat than Sax.

And I look, and I had posted a picture of the tree line

outside my house of the beautiful blue sky on July 4th.

And I said, listen, everybody,

take a break from Twitter, go spend time with your family,

which is what I was about to do.

A 37-year-old private equity douche from Boston

does a reverse image search on the tree line,

finds a bigger picture of the trees,

finds a picture of my pool based on that bigger picture

in Google reverse image search and all these other tools,

and then doxes me,

which basically means releasing your address.

He releases my address in my thread,

okay, because, so I DM him,

and he’s using his real name,

and he’s got a LinkedIn profile.

And I said, do you realize how dangerous this is?

He goes, well, you’re stalking said journalist.

I said, I am not stalking the journalist.

Well, she said you’re stalking her.

So if you apologize to her

and you take down the mean stuff you said about her,

I’ll take down your home address.

And I said, hey, dipshit, this is illegal, number one.

And number two, you’re gonna lose your Twitter account.

And then I said, number three,

we’re connected, your boss,

because you’re using your public name,

your boss is connected to 14 people,

of which like half are very close friends of mine.

And I’m calling your boss,

and I have all these screenshots of you doxing me.

What do you think is gonna happen on Monday?

And I just gave him my phone number.

And hold on, hold on, go ahead.

You wanna finish the story?

Okay, sorry, go ahead.

Let me just finish the story.

I tell the guy, here’s my phone number, he calls me.

I said, hey, I know that you’re a kid.

I know that you did something rash,

but this is actually kind of a dangerous thing

because there’s serious mental illness in whatever,

0.1% of the population.

There’s millions of people

now involved in this discussion.

It could be a security concern for me.

I’m not gonna post your address.

Please don’t post mine.

Delete the tweet.

He goes, I refuse to delete the tweet until you whatever.

And I said, okay, well, I’m gonna call your boss on Monday.

We know these people in common.

She’s going to fire you and you’re gonna lose your job.

Now, I know you’re only 23 or 24,

and this doesn’t matter to you.

And he goes, I said, how old are you?

He said, 37.

I said, you’re 37 years old?

He said, are you married?

He said, yeah, I’m married.

I got a six-year-old.

I said, now you want me to make you lose your job

because you’re so mad at me over nothing?

I said, I don’t wanna call your boss on Monday

and tell them what you did

because it will certainly result in you being fired.

And he goes, oh, I said,

you might wanna go talk to your spouse about what you did

and maybe get her perspective.

He writes me an apology letter.

We deleted it.

It’s all water under the bridge.

But I’ve been trying to tell people,

you have to be very careful when this gets too personal

because you are dog whistling to crazy people

who then might do something crazy.

Anyway, end of story.

I backed off the whole discussion

because I wanna finish my second book

and I wanna do podcasts with guys like you

and have a great time with my life

and not be involved with a bunch of idiots.

End of story.

So I wanna go back to this

Overton window concept for a second.

So again, just my idea.

So you take the word matters.

The word matters is in the Overton window.

Nobody can argue that the word matters is offensive.

If you prepend that word with vegetables,

it stays in the Overton window.

If you put looking both ways before you cross the street,


Okay, we’re still there.

We’re in the Overton window.

If you say black lives as a term,

just without the word matters,

that’s probably in the Overton window.


If black lives matters, it’s out the Overton window.

And both sides politicize.

I think the left politicizes with this cancel culture

and basically like an extreme form of political correctness.

And then the right politicizes by,

in their way, a vein of hypersensitivity

and then a doubling down on this notion

of an attacking of individual freedoms and free speech.

And in all of that,

both of these two groups miss the fact

that they’re both sort of the same

and they’re wronged in the same way,

but they’re both not listening in the same way.


So if I had to put something in the Overton window

that would address the US-China Cold War thing,

here’s what I would say.

We all need energy.

We all need food and we all need technology, right?

We need to sort of warm our houses.

We need to feed our bellies

and we need to be able to be productive in some way

so that we can make money.

And I think that everybody in the United States

can agree that on these three dimensions,

there are some really simple things that we could do

that basically double down on US sovereignty

and allow us to basically be more on the offensive.

So I’ll give you a couple of ideas.

On the energy side is we need to continue

to support energy independence

and that will require subsidies.

And the reason why that’s important in my opinion

is that then what happens is

it hastens and accelerates Russia and the Middle East

not becoming relevant anymore

because they are forced to monetize their oil sooner.

The Middle East probably disintegrates into 30 countries.

The Middle East was just a kind of a random exercise

of basically Americans and Europeans

after the war divvying up a bunch of things.

It has no sensitivity to culture or language or anything.

So that probably goes to in a very different direction.

And Russia becomes less important

because they just have to monetize

otherwise they will lose their only source of revenue.

So that’s one thing on energy that I think we could do

that I think is relatively politically acceptable

and inside the Overton window.

Second is on food, which is that we have to double down

on creating a completely independent food supply

inside the United States.

And there are ways again

where if we don’t need to be building tanks

and having $90 trillion programs

for aircraft carriers anymore,

we could pour that money into US farms

and give people like Friedberg a lot more money

to go and actually make sure

the United States has food security.

That in any situation and scenario

we can feed the 330 odd million people

inside of our borders.

And then the third thing is on technology

which is there are a critical bunch of inputs

whether it’s 5G chips, rare earth materials or minerals,

things like cobalt and lithium

which we need for batteries for climate change

that we can go and basically co-opt

because those things are concentrated in countries

like Chile, in places like Africa

where we can actually do a better job

of instilling governance and security.

So that’s my Jason back to your thing.

These aren’t sexy ideas, but they would work.

And I think they would work by both Republicans

and Democrats and it’s non-controversial.

I’ll even punch up the food part.

There’s no reason why,

the same way we made water and public schools

kind of a given in the United States,

nobody really has to worry about getting water.

Nobody has to worry about getting

a basic education learning to read.

Let’s say it’s not perfect obviously.

Why not make healthy produce

and some amount of healthy food

so affordable in the United States

that it’s essentially free, right?

And then you think about food security,

like how are we still discussing food security

with the amount of money and prosperity

we have in this country?

Make it free.

We’ve almost made energy free.

We have energy independence.

I’ll say a Manhattan project to make energy

and food as free or de minimis as water

would be just an amazing thing for us to rally around

because then people can work on the next thing

in their life, their careers, their family, their pursuits.

Friedberg, what do you think of the Overton window

and would you add something to it

that we can all agree on that we could work on together

and maybe unify the country

as opposed to pulling guns on each other

in the parking lots because of the color of our skin?

I’m reminded of a great moment in history

when Will Smith and his friends blew up the UFO

that came to attack Earth.

Nothing brings us together like a common enemy.

So it could be that the unification is gonna be in part

driven by this Cold War II

and creating a common enemy in China

is gonna work for both the right and the left

and create a lot of opportunity of Chamath Highlights

in manufacturing and food production.

There’s a lot of tools available to us.

I think we could all sit here and speculate

and I could pitch and plug all the companies

I’m involved in that I think are gonna play a role.

But I do think it’s that moment where

we are gonna coalesce around a common enemy and-

Well, it’d be good if you actually shared

one or two of those projects you’re working on if you can.

I actually would like to hear what you’re working on.

I’ve shared this before, but I do think biomanufacturing,

which is the technology whereby we engineer

the DNA of microbes and those microbes

then make molecules for us in a big fermentation tank

in the same way that we make beer or wine.

Biomanufacturing can be used to make flavors and fragrances.

And now we’re making materials like silks and plastics,

plastic equivalents, and more interestingly,

proteins for human consumption to replace animal proteins.

And the cost of production and the cost of energy

associated with making these materials, these molecules,

these proteins through biomanufacturing

is literally several orders of magnitude less

than the traditional technique, which is just insane

if you think about it on a first principles basis,

of growing fucking corn, feeding it to a cow,

letting the cow grow up,

feeding it hundreds of gallons of water,

killing it, chopping it up, transporting it to a restaurant.

I mean, the amount of energy that goes into

making a pound of ground beef is insane.

And the greenhouse gas emissions and so on.

So I do believe that there is a big wave of biomanufacturing

as an industry that is coming on the US this century.

And it will hopefully by the end of the century

be the primary way that we’re kind of producing

a lot of the molecules that we consume

and that we use for clothing and materials.

So then that does what to factories?

Because, you know, you did explain earlier

the number of factories.

If we can bioproduce not only our steaks,

not only our corn, does that also mean

we could biomanufacture steel, plastics, cars?

Not so much steel, but alternatives to leather,

alternatives to cloth, alternatives to-

So clothes.

To clothes, food.

So imagine instead of a traditional factory,

think about a factory historically being purpose-built.

So you build all these components to make one thing.

So you spent all this money making a giant machine

that you put stuff in on one end

and the same thing comes out over and over the other end.

And that’s classic industrial revolution 1.0

and 20th century industrial revolution output.

In this century, we are gonna build these giant printers.

They’re not gonna be single form machines

that make one thing over and over.

They’re gonna be systems that are giant fermentation tanks.

And in those fermentation tanks,

it’s like you program them with software.

And the software in this case is genetic software.

You edit the genome of these organisms.

They take stuff on the input

and they make on the output a bunch of different stuff.

A replicator like in Star Trek,

and if there was seasonality

and people needed something over the summer for July 4th

versus what they need in Christmas

or in the winter and ski season,

the same factory makes that thing.

We’re 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years

from this having an impact on the economy?

Yes, and we’re seeing it now.

I mean, look, the number of artificial animal protein

companies and the funding that they’re getting

is I think highlighting investor interest and appetite

and backing the CapEx needed

to get this to become a reality right now.

Perfect Day just raised $300 million this week.

Impossible Foods raised $400 million

from the Qatari Investment Authority.

You know, obviously Beyond Meat is where they’re at.

I mean, these companies are using these techniques

of genetic engineering to make microbes

that make the proteins and the flavorings

that can replace this stuff.

We put $500 million into the PPP program.

If we put $500 billion into this,

how much would it accelerate it?

Pretty substantially, and I think it goes

from food to pharma to materials,

and that’s probably where you would see the impact.

But again, one system can make different materials,

can make different proteins.

So we could be independent of other countries

for food, to Chamath’s point, and also pharma,

which we are way too dependent, correct, on China?

Yeah, we’re definitely a net exporter.

By the way, you know, our largest export partner is China.

So most of our soybeans in the United States

that we produce, and soybeans are grown

on 160 million acres in the US,

and it rotates half and half each year with corn,

but about two-thirds of our soybeans

historically get exported to China.

So we are already food secure

from a net resource perspective.

It’s just the rest of the infrastructure

in terms of turning that stuff into meat

and other stuff is where we’re, you know,

we probably have to build up a little bit

of infrastructure and security.

Max, let’s swing the ball over to you

when you hear the Overton Window ideas,

when you hear about this biochemistry,

slurry tank revolution that Friedberg’s working on.

How does that change or evolve your view

of our relationship with China

and the political mess we’re in right now in 2020?

Yeah, well, I think Cold War II does provide a lens

to rethink and reevaluate a lot

of these domestic political fights.

And so, for example, are the big technology companies,

you know, Google, Facebook, and so on,

are they these, you know, evil monopolies

that need to be broken up,

or are they the crown jewels of the American economy

that needs to be protected from Chinese espionage?

You know, is the free enterprise system

this, you know, horribly, you know,

oppressive, racist thing,

or is it actually the engine of prosperity

that’s built this country?

You know, is freedom of speech an outdated principle,

or is it something we wanna, you know,

that that should be canceled,

or is it something we wanna fight for?

And I think that, you know,

when you start thinking about these issues,

you know, in the, you know,

through the lens of Cold War II,

it provides an option to kind of reevaluate them

and think about what’s really important.

And hopefully it can provide a little bit

of a unifying force in America,

not because we want China to be an enemy,

but just because we want to maintain

a sense of national greatness.

And I, you know,

it’s not something we just wanna give up on.

I have a question for Friedberg.

Are schools gonna be back in the fall?

Because I cannot deal with my kids being at home.

Yeah, I think it’s gonna be a mixed bag.

It seems like, I mean, if you follow this,

this is a political decision, right?

It’s not a scientific decision.

And so there are different politics around nationally

that are affecting this.

And there are some schools

that seem like they’ve got processes

and methods of being comfortable.

Some of them who are just throwing everything out the window

and say, I don’t give a shit,

the kid’s gotta go back to school.

And some of them who are being very conservative

and saying, you know, we’re not ready for that.

We can’t take the risk.

So you’ll definitely see a mixed bag.

I don’t know where you’re living, Chamath.

I don’t know what’s gonna happen per se,

but it’s definitely a local policy question.

Is it safe, Friedberg?

Is it safe to send our kids back to a 10-person pod

in a school in California?

I mean, that’s like asking

if it’s safe to cross a train track.

You know, you can look left, you can look right,

but yeah, you’re crossing, you know,

a busy train intersection during rush hour, right?

You know, it’s hard to say what level of safe is safe.

We know that kids are less susceptible

to any sort of health risk themselves from the virus.

And it looks like there’s a lot of studies

showing that the virus is less transmissible through kids,

especially kids under the age of 14.

And so it seems like there’s some theories

that say that, look, it’s these ACE2 receptors

whereby the virus enters the cells

really start to present when you turn 10 years old

at a greater rate and, you know, it scales up to 14

and above 14, you’re kind of an adult

from an ACE2 receptor point of view.

And then there’s the severity of the infection,

as we all know, is really more of a significant issue

for much elderly people.

So when you take those factors into account,

the virus is likely less transmissible amongst children.

Therefore, a bunch of kids get together,

they’re not gonna transmit it to each other.

And it’s likely gonna be less severe

even if there is an infection for kids.

The risk is just about, are the teachers comfortable

and what happens when they go home?

And there’ve been a number of letters

that you guys have probably seen,

op-eds and whatnot written in papers

by teachers saying, I’m nervous to go back to school.

I don’t wanna teach this fall.

I don’t wanna take the risk for my health.

I take care of my mom or my dad or what have you.

And so there’s a lot of competing interests here

besides just the science.

Let’s go around the horn

of who’s sending their kids back to school.

I’ll start, I posted on yesterday

that we’ve decided as a family

that we’re starting a micro school.

We put out a call for a teacher

and just looking at teacher salaries,

they don’t get paid particularly well in our society.

As we all know, they’re underpaid.

So we think we can come over the top

and provide a better financial arrangement

for a teacher and then have one to five students.

And we’re gonna just create a micro school.

That’s our current plan.

Our kids did go to camp this summer

in a small 10 person or less pod.

And we felt that was safe.

Everybody was tested and it was outdoors.

But for me being indoors at a school with 300 pods of 10,

and I think the best teachers are not gonna show up

and my kids don’t learn over Zoom.

I don’t know about your kids, but it’s not working.

So we’re gonna roll our own school

and hopefully find one or two families

who wanna chop up the cost with us

or we’ll just pick up the tab

and invite one or two families

if they don’t have the means to do it.

But we’re gonna go solo for 2021.

Freeberg, Sharmath, what are you thinking right now?

Because we’re only seven, eight weeks out from this, right?

We’re less than two months.

I really think like, look, not everybody, Jason,

is gonna be in a position to hire teachers.

In fact, most everybody won’t be.

I think it’s, I wanna send my children back to school.

I refuse to create some alternative reality for them.

I think it’s really important

that they are with their friends.

I think that we’re not really thinking strongly enough

about the social implications for children.

Let’s just say like, you take an eight year old

or a nine year old or a 10 year old

and you deprive them of their friends for a year.

I mean, that’s an enormous part of their life.

Where they’ve-

It’s like a prison sentence, yeah.

They’ve been socially isolated.

I just think it’s a really bad outcome.

So I think that obviously from a public health perspective,

we wanna keep our teachers safe.

I just think that it’s so important that we realize

that we are going to impact an entire generation of kids.

I think that if you’re 18 or 19

and have had 18 or 19 years of normal teenage-dom

and growing up that it’s okay if you miss a year

or you have to do your first year of college remotely.

Like it sucks, but you can deal.

But I really worry about these kids

in primary school and middle school.

It’s really unfair.

Yeah, I mean, our plan was to try to get

to four or five students, a small bubble

and then have outdoor.

The problem is then the Northeast-

Having gone to school, it’s you’re inside

with a heating system, with a closed ventilation system

that was built in 1920.

And I think it avoids the real key thing,

which is like, I don’t think you go to school to learn

as much as you go to school to-



I mean, you learn as a by-product

because everybody socializes, not everybody learns.



And so it’s an enormously important formative experience

for a child to be around 15 or 20 of their other kids

and to be in the playground, to deal with all the adversity

that comes with normal life of a kid.

That’s the biggest thing that I think

we’re depriving them of.

And I understand that, you know,

there’s an important reason to hold these kids back.

But I just want to appreciate that behaviorally

and psychologically, this is not going to be for free.

Free, Sax, what’s your latest thinking?

I guess I agree with both Chamath and Freeberg on this,

that there are huge benefits to going back

and the risks to kids are low in terms of getting it.

And also they’re less viral if they do.

But Israel is sort of a strong recent counterexample

where they recently opened schools

and now all of a sudden they’ve got a spike.

So, you know, we’re going to send our kids back,

but I expect it to be a little bit of a shit show.

I think that the schools will reopen

and they’ll do all this planning.

There’ll be all these like pods and half days

and smaller groups and that kind of thing.

And then somebody’s going to, there’ll be like one case,

either a kid or, you know, one family.

And then all of a sudden they’re going to shut down again.

And I guess, you know,

they’re spending all this time planning,

but I wonder if they’re really going to have

contingency plans for what happens when there’s a case.

That’s exactly what I think is happening.

Yeah, I think they’ll just shut down.

It’s too scary for a child to die or a teacher to die

and people, the overreaction to it

will be to shut everything down, right?

And then we’re going to be back to our kids.

When we sent our kids to camp

for the three weeks they went,

man, it was just, they were different kids, right?

And to Chamath’s point, they’re little social animals.

They need to roll around like little baby tigers and play.

And if they don’t have that,

it dramatically affects behavior.

And we saw it in only three months.

I mean, 12 months, these kids are going to go mental.

Yeah, I think that basically where the country is at

is that we’re an undeclared Sweden.

You know, we’ve basically, the virus has become endemic.

It’s everywhere.

You know, we’ve basically given up

on trying to contain or stop it.

And so now we’re just on this path to herd immunity.

And, you know, it’s basically what Sweden did,

except we haven’t declared that’s what our plan is.

And so it’s haphazard and,

but it seems like kind of we’re, by default,

just headed for herd immunity.

Freeberg, as we wrap up here,

and I got one final question I want to do after this,

and then we’ll wrap.

Freeberg, what’s your thoughts?

Kids in schools, I know you have kids.

I’m not sure the ages, if they’re like,

would be going back to a,

I think they’re a little bit on the younger side.

So if you did have eight, nine, 10, 12 year olds,

sending them back to school, starting your own,

what are your thoughts?

Yeah, I mean, I would probably be a little ridiculous

and send them and test them every other day at home.

And, you know, you can get this Vector Dickinson

testing system now for 250 bucks.

It’s a handheld device.

And these test strips cost 20 bucks.

Say the name of it again.

The Vector Dickinson.

It’s the company that makes it.

Vector with a V.

B, B, B.

Wait, how do I, are they available?

Yeah, you can buy them through medical retailers.

And yeah, the handheld device that they use

in hospitals and stuff today, it’s 250 bucks.

And there’s a little test kit that you buy.

It’ll probably cost 20 to 30 bucks.

It’ll be available next month per test or 15 to 20 bucks.

And it takes five minutes to get a result.

And so-

You literally could do it in the schoolyard

before they go into the building.

Yeah, so you could test.

I would test my kids every day.

If I had, you know, my kids are,

my one kid’s in preschool.

The other one’s two years old.

But you gotta do a little pin prick on their finger, right?

No, no, you could just do a little swab in the nose.

Oh, okay.

Yeah, and you can test them every-

Deep nose swab or, you know, halfway?

There’s data that shows now

that you could actually do a throat swab

and, you know, get a pretty good reading on it.

So, you know, whatever the protocol is,

it’d probably be pretty non-invasive

and you could get a result.

Now, that’s expensive for most people.

You know, that’s-

Not expensive for a school.

Not expensive for a school, that’s right.

And so I think that company will do well

with that testing system they’ve launched

because it actually tests, not for the RNA,

but for the protein.

Is this a public company?

Yeah, and the stock’s done well.

And this test does really well

because it tests for the protein, not the RNA.

So it’s actually a much, you know,

much easier test scientifically to do.

You’re not trying to pick up specific nucleotides

or nucleic acids.

You’re trying to pick up a protein.

And so it’s, yeah, it’s pretty effective.

All right.

If the election was held today,

we always like to talk about this a bit.

The audience loves when we talk about it.

We talked about Oprah last time.

That was our sleeper candidate.

I’m changing, I’m changing.

Tammy Duckworth, Tammy Duckworth

is now my sleeper vice presidential.

I’m with it, I’m with the Chamath on that.

Absolutely, 100.

Now, who’s gonna win if the election was held today?

Sax, I’ll let you go first

since it’s the most heartbreaking for you.

Biden’s strategy is working.

His strategy is basically to say nothing,

to be, you know, to hide in his basement.

And, but it’s working because even though he’s a cypher,

I think people, he’s basically a protest vote against Trump

and Trump, you know, is, you know,

seen as very divisive and inflammatory.

And I think the American people at this point

just wanna push a button and make it stop.

And right now Biden seems like the make it stop button.

Yeah, okay.

And should Biden, I’ll add to the question,

there’ll be two, we’ll end on this double question.

Who wins today and should Biden debate Trump

or is it better for him to just opt out of the debates

and not risk it?

Biden’s strategy- What would you advise?

Well, I think Biden’s strategy right now is working.

I don’t know why he would change it.

I mean, his goal- So he should not,

there’s three debates on the books he agreed to.

Should he do the three debates, yes or no?

If you were advising him.

So I think he probably will not be able

to duck these debates forever.

I think, I mean, it seems unlikely that, you know-

If you were advising him,

would you tell him to do it or not?

I would tell him his strategy is working,

which is to say nothing and-

So don’t go to the debates.

If you can get away with it.

I’m not sure he’ll be able to get away with it.

So I think eventually people,

eventually the American public will turn its attention

to the election.

But part of the reason why his strategy is working

is because Trump is running such a bad campaign.

In fact, it feels like Trump

hasn’t even really started to campaign.

There’s no logic to it for sure.

Well, it’s, you know, normally what the incumbent does,

especially when they’ve got a lot of money,

is they use the summer to define the opponent.

They start running a lot of ads

seeking to define their opponent.

And, you know, where are those ads?

Where is that attempt to define Biden?

I mean, I think it’s hard because,

you know, it’s hard to define Biden as a radical

who represents these woke mobs.

Biden doesn’t even know how to say the word woke correctly.

I think he’s called him woked.

So that’s actually helpful.

I was woke last night by my four-year-old

who needed her diaper changed.


All right.

But the fact that Biden is so clueless

and seems like so out of touch actually helps him

because, I mean, the way for Trump to win the election,

let’s put it that way,

is to make the alternative to Trump

the destruction of Mount Rushmore, right?

I mean, if Trump can somehow convince the American public

that the election of Joe Biden means

the ripping down of George Washington

and Abraham Lincoln and Mount Rushmore

and the destruction of capitalism,

that is the way for him to win.

But he has to actually-


He has to actually be able to tag Biden with that-

Why did Peter Thiel drop Trump?

You’ve got a 30-year relationship with Peter Thiel.

You talk to him on the regular.

Why did Thiel drop him?

I don’t know that he has.

I think you have to get him on the show to talk.

All right, there you go, good deflection.

Best he see, who wins?

And should he do those three debates, Biden?

Yeah, yeah, I think you can’t get away from them.

I wouldn’t make it a big issue

because the debates are gonna be

kind of this random, crappy kind of experience.

I don’t even know whether they’ll be in the same place.

I think they should try to make sure

that they’re not in the same place

so that it’s done almost over Zoom.

Like, you can cripple the usefulness of these debates.

In many ways, there really isn’t much

that can happen in the debates.

The reality is that people aren’t voting for Biden.

They are voting against Donald Trump.

Any chance Trump wins?

And they are voting against the sheer incompetence

of him and his family.

And, you know, it’s going to be very difficult

for him to overturn it.

There is one thin path for him to win,

which is to absolutely shower America with money

close to the election day.

So if there is a multi, multi-trillion dollar

stimulus bill that passes,

and it literally puts money into the hands

of working Americans, especially in the swing states,

it could work.

Now, the one thing I’ll tell you is

if you looked at the exit polls in Georgia,

it’s scary because there were 230,000, I think,

more Democrats out of the exit polls in the Georgia primary

than there were Republican.

Now, just hold the phone here for a second

because under no calculus on electoral college

did we ever have to think that there was probabilistically

any chance that a Democrat wins Georgia.

And I think what this speaks to is a changing demographic

longitudinally, and this is not a racial thing,

meaning this is an age thing,

where these young people are very different politically.

And so if you think that there is an even remote chance

that Donald Trump loses Georgia,

don’t even worry about Minnesota and Pennsylvania

and Florida because he would have already lost those

in order to lose Georgia.

Also, this pandemic and work from home

is gonna result in people,

if it is a sustained work from home.

We have scarred the American economy, guys,

and we don’t know the extent of the injury

because you know the extent of the injury

when you step out of the chair,

that first moment the casket’s taken off

and you put a little pressure on the leg

to see how bad it is.

And we don’t know how bad it is,

except we know that it’s pretty bad.

So, you know, I think that all roads

kind of look like Biden.

I think the very narrow path that Donald Trump has

is, you know, a multi, multi trillion dollar stimulus bill

directly into the hands of Americans.

Friedberg, is he gonna win yes or no?

Should he do the debates?

Yes or no?

Yeah, if the vote were to happen today,

he would win, Joe Biden would win.

I think he’s actually more likely to win

based on news that just hit the wire,

which we haven’t talked about today,

which is it looks like Facebook

is gonna ban all political ads this year.



And so if they do that,

obviously that’s-

Facebook in a fight for survival right now,

that ad camp.

Amazing how a bunch of advertisers

taking a one month pause

all of a sudden brings Zuckerberg to the table.

Amazing how my well-timed short thesis tweet

playing out right now.

Oh, yum, yum.

So I think that obviously works to Biden’s favor.

All right.

If that’s the case.

And then my point on the debates,

if I were Biden, what I would do right now

is I would go on Twitter

and I would say, release your tax returns

and I’ll debate you.

And I would repeat that tweet twice a day.

Love it, love it.

And basically turn the thing around.

Friedberg gets the dunk.

360 dunk, he jumps in.

That’s a dunk.

Vince Carter.

Well done, Friedbergers.

It’s over, Friedberg wins the debate.

This show is sponsored by nobody.

However, I’m going to ask my bestie, C,

if somebody were to make a $25,000 donation to charity,

would you allow me to read an ad

for 30 seconds during the pot at some point?

No, but I’ll match it to wherever you want to go.

No fucking ads ever.

Oh, God damn it.

I love you guys.

I miss you.

Love you.

Love you, bestie C.

Bye, boys.

I love you.

Love you, Fried.

Love you, Sax.

It was great playing golf.

Let’s golf.

Let’s fucking golf, man.

I’m losing my mind.

We’ll see you later.

Let’s do a little small little NASA, boys.

A little 10,000, you know.

Ooh, ooh, ooh, let’s go, let’s gamble.

See you next time on the All In podcast.

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if they want to listen to something intelligent.