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Ideas have sex, in Ridley's schema; they follow a process of natural selection of their own, and as long as they continue to do so, there is reason to retire apocalyptic pessimism about the future of our species. Erstwhile zoologist, conservationist, and journalist, Ridley (The Red Queen) posits that as long as civilization engages in exchange and specialization, we will be able to reinvent ourselves and responsibly use earthly resources ad infinitum. Humanity's collective intelligence will save the day, just as it has over the centuries. Ridley puts current perceptions about violence, wealth, and the environment into historical perspective, reaching back thousands of years to advocate global free trade, smaller government, and the use of fossil fuels. He confidently takes on the experts, from modern sociologists who fret over the current level of violence in the world to environmentalists who disdain genetically modified crops. An ambitious and sunny paean to human ingenuity, this is an argument for why ambitious optimism is morally mandatory.(June)
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Books, Nonfiction, Nonfiction Books, Economics, Wealth, Matt Ridley, Optimism, Practical Reason


ISBN-10:  006145205X
ISBN-13:  978-0061452055
Author:  Matt Ridley
Genre:  History, Science
Publisher:  Harper
Date Published:  May 18, 2010
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review by . October 11, 2010
A Real Eye-Opener
The Rational Optimist is a self-described contrarian view of the economy and economic development, from prehistory until now. Author Matt Ridley is unabashedly optimistic about the future of humanity and makes a credible case for his view that humans will continue to progress throughout the 21st century, sustainability challenges notwithstanding. He refutes pessimists who believe that that the planet cannot support more humans than it already has by asserting that economic progress will continue …
review by . July 09, 2010
Matt Ridley has done it. He has written a book that takes a realist's approach at looking toward the future. His findings... it's a heck of a lot better than people are predicting.      True Story. On a recent flight I had the misfortune of sitting next to a white knuckle anarchist. I decided that talking to him during the flight was probably the best way to keep me free from wearing vomit. The anarchist would make statements like, "anyone who can not feed their …
review by . August 05, 2010
If you don't already believe that we now live in the most prosperous era in human history, The Rational Optimist should convince you. Every generation before us lived shorter, harder lives, with more dangers and fewer freedoms. And things will almost certainly keep getting better and better, as the market continues to support further innovation and specialization.    Ridley argues this point exhaustively with a constant stream of numbers and factoids. Indeed, the book's broad …
The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves
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