Thursday, July 15, 2010

Matt Ridley: When Ideas Have Sex | TED2010

Filmed and Posted July 2010 on TED
At TEDGlobal 2010, author Matt Ridley shows how, throughout history, the engine of human progress has been the meeting and mating of ideas to make new ideas. It's not important how clever individuals are, he says; what really matters is how smart the collective brain is.
Books by Matt Ridley:
The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity EvolvesGenome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters (P.S.)The Origins of Virtue: Human Instincts and the Evolution of CooperationThe Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature


  1. <span>For all of the hot air, giant papier-mache masks of political leaders, Che Guevara banners, and broken Gap and McDonalds storefront windows, it seems to me that the anti-capitalists/anti-globalization/anti-free traders never provide any substantive answer or alternative to the powerful and hugely beneficial mechanisms of free-market capitalism beautifully explained in presentations like this.  
    The countless Chomskies and Moores of the world can natter on endlessly, sometimes even eloquently about injustice and exploitation of the worker (whom they fetishize and romanticize, in my opinion) and many of their criticisms are certainly valid and worthwhile (child labor, etc.), but they don't seem to me to be inescapable consequences of capitalism and free trade itself. Rather, they are largely consequences of poverty; which, ironically, itself seems to be a condition enormously amenable to alleviation through economic liberalization, as China has shown indisputably over the past four decades by lifting a billion people out of terrible poverty through such means. And when not susceptible to being ameliorated through such means, it is then the responsibility of organized individuals and government to punish such injustice.  </span>
    Until I see an alternative to this model, we'll call it the Friedman-pencil model, presented with at least an equal a measure of highly convincing supporting evidence, historical scientific or otherwise, I am helpless to accept its validity.<span> After all, if the anthropological evidence is correct, it seems to have been working pretty well for the past hundred thousand years or so.</span></span>

  2. Perhaps your capitalist utopia can acount for externalities? For instance, its in my best interest to turn my property into a garbage dump. You are my neighbor and do not want to see your property value drop. How does capitalism solve this problem? You cant say "government intervention" because that puts restrictions on capitalism!