Everything's going to Hell in a handbasket! Or is it?
Not according to Matt Ridley. Ridley takes a long-term view of humanity's past to project a deeply optimistic view of our future. This program was recorded in collaboration with the Long Now Foundation, on March 22, 2011.
This program contains visual aids. A complete video version is available at: http://fora.tv/2011/03/22/Matt_Ridley_Deep_Optimism
Via trade and other cultural activities, "ideas have sex," and that drives human history in the direction of inconstant but accumulative improvement over time. The criers of havoc keep being proved wrong. A fundamental optimism about human affairs is deeply rational and can be reliably conjured with.
Trained at Oxford as a zoologist and an editor at The Economist for eight years, Matt Ridley's newest book is The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves. His earlier works include Francis Crick; Nature via Nurture; Genome; and The Origins of Virtue.
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.
He is married to the neuroscientist Professor Anya Hurlbert. They have two children and live at Blagdon near Newcastle upon Tyne.