Max Dostart-Meers

About me:

My focus is at the intersection of the good life, the just society, and techno optimistic capitalism. My name is Max Dostart-Meers and I am a Silicon Valley native currently in exile. I am a junior studying economics at Harvard and a Progress Fellow at Emergent Ventures. My focus as a host in my first series is to spur conversations about the aesthetics of cities and how the planning of the physical world can change how we think. However, I want to ground these conversations in data and empirical evidence. Aesthetics are hard to quantify, but the benefits of certain types of physical living arrangements are well supported by empirical research and so are the paths to achieving them. I worry that too often we have conversations about high ideals, ungrounded in evidence, and we have separate conversations about empirical knowledge uninformed by first principles. I want to de-silo these conversations and actually come to answers. By allowing the empirical to inform our first principles and our first principles to inform how we use the empirical, I think we can create a much healthier dialogue which is both more grounded, practically useful, and achievable. Policy makers, city planners, and economists cannot work with first principles alone and philosophers cannot implement without evidence. First steps to a better world are incremental. This series is called Saving the City. We will focus on first principles of beauty, how to do it cheaply, and why we should even live in cities in the first place. Topics will range from planning codes, crime, transportation, the benefits of population growth, and how to create better suburbs. Towards the end of the series, we will move towards how to implement your vision of the city, either through public or private sector means.

🎙️ Upcoming Salons

🗓️ Ongoing series: Saving the City

💻 My Salon channel in the community forum