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Jason Crawford on the Progress Studies movement

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Jason Crawford on the Progress Studies movement


We will be meeting with Jason Crawford who will update us on his latest work at, followed by a "fireside chat" and Q&A. We will be meeting in the Tang Center center on the MIT campus (building E51) in Room 335.

The progress of the last few centuries—in science, technology, industry, and the economy—is one of the greatest achievements of humanity. But progress is not automatic or inevitable. We must understand its causes, so that we can keep it going, and perhaps even accelerate it.

A new cultural and academic movement called progress studies seeks to discover the underlying causes of progress in all forms - scientific, technological, economic, cultural, and moral. The idea of progress studies was first proposed by the famed economist Tyler Cowen and startup-founder Patrick Collison in a 2019 article in The Atlantic.

Close to the center of this growing movement is Jason Crawford, who writes the blog During a brief talk followed by a fireside chat and Q&A, Jason will explain his vision for progress studies and what he calls industrial literacy, which includes things like educating people on the history of invention.

Jason Crawford is the founder of The Roots of Progress, where he writes and speaks about the history of technology and the philosophy of progress. He is also the creator of Progress Studies for Young Scholars, an online learning program for high schoolers; and a part-time adviser and technical consultant to Our World in Data, an Oxford-based non-profit for research and data on global development. He is currently working on a book entitled "The Story of Industrial Civilization". Previously, he spent 18 years as a software engineer, engineering manager, and startup founder.

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