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Music of the Spheres

Innovation to the Rescue

10 Oct 2013, 03:29 UTC
Innovation to the Rescue
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

I think of myself as a rational optimist. A couple of years ago, I read and reviewed a book of that title by Matt Ridley. Ridley's central theme is the crucial role of trade in the growth of civilization and human well-being - starting with the trade of goods and services that allowed people to become specialized, resulting in more of everything for everyone. But when people learned to trade in ideas, that led to innovation, stimulating the growth of science, technology, and social institutions - things like universities, democracy, and the market economy are all inventions of the human mind (usually many human minds).I just read another book on this same general idea, the critical role of innovation and the exchange of ideas. I really like The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet by Ramez Naam. Ideas and innovations truly are an infinite resource, and Naam believes (as do I) that in most situations, market forces are the most effective way to implement ideas and solve problems. He also believes that the major area where the market has failed is in "tragedy of the commons," situations such as pollution of air and water, over-fishing, and ...

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