About me

My name is Sam Bowman. I am an editor of Works in Progress and Head of Publishing at Stripe. I tweet at @s8mb.

This newsletter is called Consumer Surplus: that’s the term in economics that describes the difference between what you pay for something and what it’s actually worth to you. Life should be filled with things that are cheap or free but fill your life with happiness. Sometimes you get that by telling people about an amazing microwave rice cooker you found on Amazon, sometimes by making it easier to build loads more homes in cities. With Consumer Surplus I hope to help a tiny bit with both.

The three pieces of mine you should read are:

  • Britain is a developing country, where I argue that when it comes to economic growth, Britain has more to learn from Poland than from Palo Alto.

  • Democracy is the solution to vetocracy, where I argue that “vetocracy” is the biggest barrier to growth in the Western world, and highlight how democratic mechanisms can overcome it.

  • The housing theory of everything, where my co-authors and I argue that housing shortages make pretty much every other problem in the Western world—like low economic growth rates, climate change, obesity and fertility—worse.

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A newsletter by Sam Bowman


I'm the co-founder and editor of worksinprogress.co