"So the technology of the Second Atomic Age will be a confluence of two strongly synergistic atomic technologies: nanotech and nuclear."
"Of all the great improvements in know-how expected by the classic science-fiction writers, competent government was the one we got the least."
From Peter Turchin: when an empire becomes big enough to stop worrying about external threats to its existence, the cooperative "we're all in the same boat" spirit is replaced by a "winner take all" mentality.
It's likely that cultural changes led competent engineers to lose interest in working for regulatory agencies.
Josh refers to Robin Hanson a fair amount, but doesn't mention Robin's suggestion that increasing wealth lets us return to forager values. "Big god" values are clearly farmer values.
erosion of trust and cooperation
The thesis of the book is essentially that the world was on an exponential growth curve in total energy output until around 1970, when it became linear. And if that energy growth had continued, the world today would be utterly transformed. So many things now challenging would become possible.