George Gilder

Senior Fellow and Co-Founder of Discovery Institute


Leap Before You Look

Reflections on the Mission and "Evolution" of Discovery Institute
I helped Bruce Chapman form Discovery Institute some 25 years ago and over that period, if I may use the term, it has evolved. Bruce and I believe that this evolution expresses an intelligent design, a unified vision that transcends the various programs at Discovery Institute. We do not only believe in intelligent design in the universe; we believe such a design manifests itself across the sciences and pervades economics and culture. Not only is God the creator; but human beings are creative in his image, in the image of the creator. This is a scientific proposition, following the insights of a great new science called information theory. Information theory upholds the idea of a hierarchical universe and underlies all the programs at Discovery. In his essay


All hail Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington, well on her way to becoming the reigning queen of Network Neutrality, as her Huffington Post soars ever higher as part of the $4.4 billion Verizon buyout of AOL. The purchase represents an obvious response to the FCC move to enforce a “level playing field” on the Internet while ruling it as a public utility under Title 2 of the Telecom Act of 1934. As author-investor Andy Kessler puts it: “VZ is saying loud and clear that under Title 2, better returns will come from milking their network than from updating it. Thanks FCC.” While AT&Ts response seems to be investments in Latin America, Verizon is putting its bet on advertising and content platforms. Comments Dan Berninger, the voice-over-Internet protocol pioneer now

Transcript: After the Revolution: A Review of the Tech Boom, Bust, and Rebirth

with George Gilder, Hance Haney and Matt McIlwain
After the Revolution: A Review of the Tech Boom, Bust, and Rebirth with George Gilder, Hance Haney and Matt McIlwain The Rainier Club – Seattle, WA, May 20, 2015 Sponsored by the Discovery Institute Event Transcript Eric Garcia, Vice President, Discovery Institute: …Our moderator for tonight’s event is Matt McIlwain, a partner with Madrona Venture Group. Matt and Madrona finds and funds the companies that bring to life the technologies of tomorrow. Matt McIlwain: …This is a really momentous year in terms of anniversaries here in Seattle and so I’m going to take one minute to sort of frame that and use that framing to allow Hance and George to introduce themselves. So this is a big anniversary year: It’s the 40th anniversary of Microsoft, it’s

Net neutrality: Obama’s FCC puts Internet, American innovation at risk

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released its disastrous new network neutrality rules earlier this month, officially signaling to the world that the U.S. will adopt a policy destined to stifle technological advancement and put network investment into neutral.  By heeding President Obama’s call to make the Internet a government-regulated public utility, the FCC has adopted a system equipped to regulate public utilities and monopolies, not the dynamic and fast paced Internet economy.  Worst still, it is doing so under a guise to impose price regulation on the Internet and grant unfair advantages for Silicon Valley companies like Netflix and Google which account for nearly half of all U.S. Internet traffic. At such an important time for this industry, now

What Creates Wealth?

Course Description Why are some countries rich and some countries poor? Is it access to natural resources? Is it tax policy? A motivated work force? These are important, but not determinative. The answer is deceptively simple – it’s what’s in our heads: knowledge. Thus, the surest way to promote economic growth is to cultivate an environment that encourages the spread of knowledge. Such an environment requires freedom, which is why the freest societies are the most prosperous. In five minutes, economist George Gilder explains

Ideas for Renewing American Prosperity

If you could propose one change in American policy, society or culture to revive prosperity and self-confidence, what would it be and why?
Editor’s note: With the Journal’s 125th anniversary coming at a time of slow U.S. growth and reduced expectations, we asked some Journal contributors to answer this question: If you could propose one change in American policy, society or culture to revive prosperity and self-confidence, what would it be and why? Their replies are below. Listen to Peter Drucker On Regulations By George Gilder In 1966, the eminent management sage Peter Drucker wrote about government regulation in “The Effective Executive” that “at a guess, at least half the bureaus and agencies” in government “regulate what no longer needs regulation.” He added: “There is a serious need for a new principle of effective administration under which every act, every agency,

Do You Pass the Israel Test?

Would you believe us if we said that the best litmus test of any society’s success is its attitude towards Israel? Well, it’s true. As George Gilder explains, whether a society envies and resents Israel’s success or celebrates and tries to replicate it is indicative of that society’s progress. Countries that “pass” the “Israel Test” tend to rise. Those who don’t tend to sink. So, does your society pass the “Israel Test”? In five minutes, find

Why Capitalism Works

Cultural depictions of capitalism are almost all negative. There’s the Monopoly guy with the top hat and cigar. There’s Gordon Gekko saying, “Greed is good.” And, most recently, there’s the hedonism of the “Wolf of Wall Street”. The message is clear: capitalism is selfish. Socialism, or something like it, is selfless. In fact, the opposite is true. Renowned social critic George Gilder offers this startling insight: capitalism, at its core, is first an expression of altruism; that is, of giving. An entrepreneur can only succeed by satisfying a customer’s need. This is why capitalism, and only capitalism, can create the prosperity that all societies crave and why all other economic prescriptions are doomed to

The Costs of Health Care Failure

The costs of institutional health care failure now gorge nearly 15% of GDP, on the way to 20%. Yet the costs of the forward-looking genetic information in biomedicine has dropped 50,000-fold in ten years. What’s wrong with this picture? To paymaster politicians, health care is a huge cost center. Health care is not really a problem but a huge opportunity for new drugs, medical instruments and biomedical advances. No U.S. health care cost crisis looms, after all, in paying the bills for smallpox, polio, TB, cholera, typhoid or malaria. Obscuring the huge opportunity of new knowledge in pharma, though, is the obsolete apparat of government power. With 16,500 new IRS agents and no new doctors, ObamaCare pushes on with its bureaucratic grab-and-gouge. Meanwhile, in the face of a flood

Surprise and Creativity

Notes toward a new economics
Why in the world do we need yet another “new” economics? Jamming the libraries and the bookstores of the world are avatars of what must be every variation on the great themes of market and managerial economics. Scores of Nobel Prizes have been awarded for various nugatory refinements of the prevailing ideas. All these schemes, however, fail to answer the key questions about any economic theory, which were posed by Irving Kristol nearly 35 years ago. Can the theory provide a moral or “transcendental” justification for its results, so that it is politically acceptable? And can it explain growth and creativity? Kristol was cofounder and editor first of Encounter and then of the Public Interest, two of the world’s most eminent and influential publications, which had served to

The Scandal of Computer Security

The U.S. has become a digital civilization. Our industry, defense, medical care, entertainment, and communications all largely rely on information technology. In recent months, it has become increasingly evident that this digital civilization is under attack and that its protective strategies are failing. Everywhere in the news are accounts of computer security hacks. Targets range from The New York Times, which was hit with 45 pieces of undetected malware in three months, to the Financial Times’ corrupted email system. Even more troubling are the attacks on American intellectual property. According to the Pentagon, Chinese and Russian hackers have gained access to the very industrial base on which U.S. diplomacy and defense rests. The National Security Agency’s General Keith

The Scandal of Computer Security

EDITOR’S NOTE: Every day carries new stories of hackers and the damage they are doing to American businesses and government.“Pentagon Moving to Stem Hacker Attacks, the Associated Press reports. Our country’s defenses, power grid and business operations — and individuals — are at risk. It is not an over-statement to say that our country as a whole is at risk. Yet there is no sign yet of effective defenses. Two crucial ingredients are missing in news stories and articles on the subject: 1) Hardly anyone knows enough about the problem to explain it in technically correct terms that also are comprehensible to the average informed citizen. 2) Virtually no articles until now have explained what needs to be done to fix the problem(s). Domestically, a few very

Romney, Bain, and Me

IN THE EARLY 1980s, soon after the publication of Wealth & Poverty, I received a phone call from a man with a mellow mid-Southern accent, honed from roots in rural Tennessee and long years talking down to top executives of American enterprise. William Bain was the name, “but everyone calls me Bill,” he said. I had never heard of him, or his eponymous company, a consulting firm in Boston with ambitions in venture capital, but I was soon on board calling him “Bill” and listening closely to what he had to say. He invited me to speak to his team of Bain & Company partners, and also, if he might…no Offense…he wanted to impart some ideas of his own, some points I might have missed on supply-side economics.“We’ve done some research,” he said, “that shows the

George Gilder: The Real Reagan Lesson for Romney-Ryan

Follow Peter Drucker's advice: Don't solve problems, pursue opportunities. Like unlocking America's entrepreneurial value.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan could soon be facing a David Stockman moment. Mr. Stockman was President Reagan’s young, first-term budget director assigned the titanic task of retrenching government spending in the midst of the Cold War. In this role, he made the covers of all the most fashionable magazines as “Mack the Knife” or some other compassionless conservative slashing the growth rate of federal spending to a Dickensian 2% above the inflation rate. Yet Mr. Stockman ended up capitulating to his critics, abandoning supply-side economics as a naïve mistake, and skulking off to write books and articles about the virtues of “spreading the wealth around.” Mr. Stockman has re-emerged in this election year echoing President Obama. He writes in the New York Times

Wealth and Poverty: A New Edition for the Twenty-First Century

Hailed as “the guide to capitalism,” the New York Times bestseller Wealth and Poverty by George F. Gilder is one of the most famous economic books of all time and has sold more than one million copies since its first release. In this influential classic, Gilder explains and makes the case for supply-side economics, proves the moral superiority of free-market capitalism, and shows why supply-side economics are more effective at decreasing poverty than government-regulated markets. Now, in this new and completely updated edition of Wealth and Poverty, Gilder compares America’s current economic challenges with her past economic problems–particularly those of the late 1970s–and explains why Obama’s big-government, redistributive policies are doing more harm than good for the

Unleash the Mind

America’s wealth is not an inventory of goods; it is an organic entity, a fragile pulsing fabric of ideas, expectations, loyalties, moral commitments, visions. To vivisect it for redistribution is to kill it. As President Mitterand’s French technocrats discovered in the 1980s, and President Obama’s quixotic ecocrats are discovering today, government managers of complex systems of wealth soon find they are administering an industrial corpse, a socialized Solyndra. In the mindscapes of capitalism, all riches must finally fall into the gap between thoughts and things. Governed by mind but caught in matter, assets must afford an income stream that is expected to continue. The expectation may shift as swiftly as thought, but things, alas, are all too solid and slow to change. The

The Economic Case for Supporting Israel

America needs the Jewish state's technology and innovation as much as it needs us.
America’s enemies understand deeply and intuitively that no U.S. goals or resources in the Middle East are remotely as important as Israel. Why don’t we? Israel cruised through the recent global slump with scarcely a down quarter and no deficit or stimulus package. It is steadily increasing its global supremacy, behind only the U.S., in an array of leading-edge technologies. It is the global master of microchip design, network algorithms and medical instruments. During a period of water crises around the globe, Israel is incontestably the world leader in water recycling and desalinization. During an epoch when all the world’s cities, from Seoul to New York, face a threat of terrorist rockets, Israel’s newly battle-tested “Iron Dome” provides a unique

The Economics of Settlement

The root cause of Middle Eastern turmoil, according to a broad consensus of the international media and the considered cerebrations of the deepest-thinking movie stars, is Israeli settlers in what are described as the “occupied territories” on the West Bank of the Jordan River. Even such celebrated and fervent supporters of Israel as Alan Dershowitz and Bernard-Henri Lévy put the settlers beyond the pale of their Zionist sympathies. Remove the settlers, according to these sage analyses of the scene, and the problems of the region become remediable at last. Lester Brown of the Worldwatch Institute adds to these political concerns a coming environmental catastrophe, also presumably aggravated by the Israeli settlers and their hydrophilic irrigation projects. He sees the Middle

The California Green Debauch

California’s Treasurer Bill Lockyer has a bridge he wants to sell you. No, he is not putting the Golden Gate on the market. That would actually find buyers. He is trying to foist a “bridge loan” on the country that in effect would require us to buy the entire state. Shuffling off the streets of Sacramento into the bond market a few weeks ago seeking to raise some $14 billion in so-called “revenue anticipation notes,” Lockyer is offering notes that can be repaid only by future revenue anticipation notes, in a delusional statewide recycling binge of bonds on bonds. Since the state at the same time officially projected $20 billion annual deficits for the next six years (Governor elect Jerry Brown says $28 billion in 2011), the end of this road is another of those bridges to nowhere