The Hoover Institution held its annual Spring retreat on Wednesday, April 20, 2015. The conference offered presentations by Hoover fellows on a wide range of public policy issues, from U.S. history to foreign policy to the environmental and economic challenges of the future. Below is a selection of podcasts and chartcasts from the conference.
George Nash a historian, lecturer, and authority on the life of Herbert Hoover, gave a presentation covering Hoover's extraordinary life and career, tracing his life from Iowa to Stanford to engineer turned humanitarian. Nash notes that Hoover saved more lives with his humanitarian relief than any other human being in history and goes on to discuss his political life, his ideas and ideals, and his career after the presidency. Nash illuminates how Hoover arose from the ashes of his presidency to crusade against the New Deal, collectivism, and its aftermath. Through Nash's talk we got to know the human and humane Hoover and his undying quest for liberty and freedom.
Russell Berman the Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, and a member of the Working Group on Islamism and the International Order, discusses United States and European relations, particularly our relationships with traditional allies in Europe.
Berman believes we need to rebuild the western alliance as we face Russia and its annexation of Crimea and invasion of Eastern Ukraine, both of which can be seen as a declaration of war against the west. Berman also discusses the US-Iran nuclear negations and the role that France is playing in those negotiations.
Michael McFaul the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, a professor of political science at Stanford, and director and senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, discusses Putin and his worldview, and how to contain him. McFaul discourses on what led to the precarious situation of US-Russia relations and how to change the trajectory of the relationship.
Victor Davis Hanson, the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Hoover, presents a brief history and geography of California before launching into his talk about California droughts. Hanson notes that people in California live in places where there is no precipitation and that droughts are not unusual. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, California droughts are both age-old and common. What is new is that the state has never had 40 million residents during a drought; well over 10 million more than during the last dry spell in the early 1990s. Much of the growth is due to massive and recent immigration. If California is going to allow the population to increase, then it needs to increase the spending on infrastructure, especially for water management. The irony is the coastal corridor is lecturing the interior about supposed unwise water use, but it is the interior that has the infrastructure to withstand droughts.
David Brady is a Davies Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution; the Bowen H. and Janice Arthur McCoy Professor of Political Science and Leadership Values in the Stanford Graduate School of Business; and a professor of political science at Stanford. Douglas Rivers is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor of political science at Stanford University. An expert on survey research, he is also chief scientist for YouGov PLC, an international, Internet-based polling firm. Brady and Rivers discuss polling and how to measure change over time. With their current policy initiative they can poll the same individuals over time, which menas we know a lot more about them and, it is hoped, our society as they move from time one to time two. They also discourse on what the polls and policies get wrong and how the transformations and instability of countries affect the polls and policy.
Herbert Lin, a senior research scholar for cyber policy and security at the Center for International Security and Cooperation and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, both at Stanford University; and John Villasenor, a national fellow at Hoover and a professor of electrical engineering and public policy at the University of California at Los Angeles, discuss emerging technologies and the challenges of cybersecurity. They ask whether the private sector can react more proactively to prevent hacking. They say two types of companies exist in the United States: those that have been hacked and those who don't know they have been hacked. Lin and Villasenor go on to discuss strategies to prevent or reduce or both the pain of cyberattacks.
Russell Roberts is the John and Jean De Nault Research Fellow at Hoover. He hosts the award-winning weekly podcast EconTalk, featuring conversations with authors, economists, and business leaders. Roberts shares his experience of playing Adam Smith and the economic lessons he learned. Roberts also touches on Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments, including what influences our decisions and the idea of an invisible hand guiding our decisions. In all our interactions we want to not only be loved but to be lovely.