A former science and technology editor for The Economist magazine, Matt Ridley is a journalist and best-selling author whose books include Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters. His most recent book is The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves.
Matt Ridley discusses the evolutionary process of "ideas having sex," calling it the secret behind human progress. He asserts that "barter was the trick that changed the world" and outlines his argument that life for the average human being is richer, healthier, and kinder than ever. Finally, he discusses whether limited government and rational optimism go hand in hand.
Matt Ridley's books have sold over 800,000 copies, been translated into 27 languages and been short-listed for six literary prizes. In 2004 he won the National Academies Book Award from the US National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine for Nature via Nurture.
In 2006 he published Genome, a national bestseller. In 2007 he won the Davis Prize from the US History of Science Society for Francis Crick. His most recent book, The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves, was published in 2010.
He is married to the neuroscientist Professor Anya Hurlbert. They have two children and live at Blagdon near Newcastle upon Tyne.
Peter M. Robinson is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, where he writes about business and politics, edits the Hoover Institution's quarterly journal, the Hoover Digest, and hosts Hoover's television program, "Uncommon Knowledge."
Robinson is also the author of three books: How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life; It's My Party: A Republican's Messy Love Affair with the GOP; and the best-selling business book Snapshots from Hell: The Making of an MBA.
Matt Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves, explains how commerce can actually help make people better. He cites numerous studies that conclude the more commercial interactions people are involved in the more they realize the importance of fairness.
"You learn pretty quickly that it's not a good idea to insult your customers, or kill them," says Ridley.
Author Matt Ridley agrees that carbon dioxide emissions are changing the Earth's climate, though he opposes hasty regulations that may be doing greater ecological and economic harm. "We might find in 50 years' time that we have put a tourniquet around our neck to prevent a nosebleed," says Ridley.
Study of current trends in order to forecast future developments. The field originated in the technological forecasting developed near the end of World War II and in studies examining the consequences of nuclear conflict. Studies in the 1960s sought to anticipate future social patterns and needs. The Limits of Growth by Dennis Meadows, et al. (1972), focused on global socioeconomic trends, projecting a Malthusian vision in which the collapse of the world order would result if population growth, industrial expansion, pollution, food production, and natural-resource use continued at current rates. Later reports reiterated many of these concerns, with critics contending that futurologists' models were flawed and futurologists responding that their analytic techniques were becoming increasingly sophisticated. Other notable works include Alvin Toffler's Future Shock (1970), Daniel Bell's The Coming of Post-Industrial Society (1973), Jonathan Schell's The Fate of the Earth (1982), and Nigel Calder's The Green Machines (1986).
MIT News, May 19, 2009:
MIT Research published in the American Meteorological Society's JOURNAL OF CLIMATE, predicts at current rates of increase, a median probability global surface temperatures will rise +5.2 degrees Celsius (+9.3F) by the year 2100. (and a 95% probability global temperatures will rise +3.5C (+6.3F) by 2100.)
A +5.2C rise in global temps. is likely beyond the tipping point for a mass release of natural methane from arctic permafrost. If we do pass that tipping point causing an uncontrolled release of arctic methane, global temps could spike as much as +10C (+18F)
Sec. of Energy, Nobel physicist, Dr. Stephen Chu is concerned because we just don't know what that tipping point is.