They Say It Can’t Be Done is a documentary that explores how innovation can solve some of the world’s greatest problems and promote human progress. The film tracks four companies on the cutting edge of technological innovations that could help to protect the seas from pollution, solve hunger, eliminate organ transplant waitlists, and reduce atmospheric carbon emissions. The documentary also explores how, in the fast‐paced world of technological development, well‐intentioned regulations can inadvertently hamper beneficial discoveries. Each company in the film has the potential to solve some of humanity’s greatest challenges, but all face a common roadblock: a restrictive bureaucracy impeding their pathways to success. To unleash the full potential of human innovation, is it time for us to imagine new regulatory approaches?
Directed by award‐winning filmmaker Michael Ozias and produced by Andrea Fuller and Patrick Reasonover, They Say It Can’t Be Done shows how entrepreneurs are advancing technological solutions in areas as diverse as aquaculture, 3D printed human organs, cultured meat, and carbon capture.
This online event will feature a discussion between lead producer Patrick Reasonover and Johan Norberg, followed by a question‐and‐answer session with the audience. Participants are encouraged to watch They Say It Can’t Be Done before the discussion and will receive a link and password upon registering for the event so they can watch the 80‐minute film online.
Why did the world get rich? Was it fossil fuels? Slavery? Perhaps imperialism? Or saving? Education, maybe? Property rights? Or even trade unions? No, say Deirdre McCloskey and Art Carden in Leave Me Alone and I’ll Make You Rich: How The Bourgeois Deal Enriched the World. Instead, they suggest the secret sauce was the idea of economic liberty—first in Holland and the Anglosphere, then in Sweden and Japan, then Italy, Israel, China, and India.
This change in attitudes and ideas—the welcoming of people “having a go” while being treated with equal dignity as individuals—not only provided a springboard to a vast in improvement living standards but it ultimately made us better people, too.
Grounded in McCloskey’s vast scholarship on “commercially tested betterment,” this entertaining new book draws on history, economics, literature, philosophy, and popular culture—everything from growth theory to the television show The Simpsons—to show both how we got rich and why most criticisms of the modern era of economic liberalism are misguided.
Join us on book launch day, October 30, for an online book forum, where the authors will present the key insights of their newest work and answer your questions on its implications.
The economist and historian Deirdre Nansen McCloskey has been best known recently for her Bourgeois Era trilogy, a vigorous defense, unrivaled in scope, of commercially tested betterment. Its massive volumes, The Bourgeois Virtues, Bourgeois Dignity, and Bourgeois Equality, solve Adam Smith’s puzzle of the nature and causes of the wealth of nations, and of the moral sentiments of modernity. The world got rich, she argues, not chiefly by material causes but by an idea and a sentiment, a new admiration for the middle class and its egalitarian liberalism.
Since the early 20th century, state licensing boards have only granted licenses to graduates of medical schools accredited by the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Council on Medical Education. As a result, the number of medical schools began to decline, from a peak of 162 in 1906 to 131 in 1910.
The AMA originally denied membership to African American physicians and, until the 1960s, allowed state chapters to exclude Black physicians. African American medical societies were founded as an alternative. In 1895 these societies banded together to form an alternative to the AMA, the National Medical Association (NMA).
Abraham Flexner’s 1910 report, “Medical Education in the United States and Canada,” commissioned by the AMA and the Carnegie Foundation, established criteria to standardize and improve medical education in the United States and Canada. The AMA Council on Medical Education endorsed and adopted the report’s recommendations, transforming medical education into what exists today.
The Flexner report forced the closure of many more medical schools, reducing the physician supply in the process. By 1923 the number of accredited medical schools had dropped to 66. Five of the seven Black medical schools that existed at the time of the report were closed by 1923. Flexner also recommended that African American physicians should be trained in hygiene rather than surgery and should primarily serve as “sanitarians,” whose purpose was “protecting Whites” from common diseases like tuberculosis.
States also require at least one year of postgraduate training (internship) for a license to practice medicine. But Black graduates were often excluded from internships and from hospital privileges at most institutions, which impeded the delivery of health care, especially to patients in the Deep South.
In 2008 the AMA issued a formal apology to the nation’s African American physicians for its decades of racial discrimination. Through her scholarship, Harriet A. Washington, a writing fellow in Bioethics at Harvard Medical School, was largely responsible for making that happen. Washington, along with Marshala R. Lee and Jeffrey A. Miron, will discuss how licensing can become a tool to affect racist ends.
- “African American Physicians and Organized Medicine, 1846–1968,” by Robert B. Baker, PhD; Harriet A. Washington, BA; Ololade Olakanmi, BA
- “The Early Development of Medical Licensing Laws in the United States, 1875–1900,” by R. Hamowy
- “The Forgotten History of Defunct Black Medical Schools in the 19th and 20th Centuries and the Impact of the Flexner Report.,” by Earl H. Harley
- “Racial Bias in Flexner Report Permeates Medical Education Today,” by Elizabeth Hlavinka