Monday, 5 July 2010

A triumph of faith over experience

"It is homo sapiens's unique capacity for trading that pushes individuals to specialise and play to their own advantages. I am dexterous but weedy, you are strong but clumsy. I make the hooks and you catch the fish". This is a quote from The Rational Optimist, a book by Matt Ridley. He claims that trade is the vehicle that has enabled us to make progress in life expectancy, cleaner air / rivers, falling birth rate etc.

Nonsense. His example of the dexterous person making the hooks and the strong person catching the fish is an example of co-operation, not trade. And why is a falling birth rate progress? What other species, if it could count, would call this success. The rise in life expectancy is surely down to science, and who made the pollution that "trade" is now clearing up. Er, " trade". It's apparently to be congratulated for cleaning up its own mess.

George Monbiot called this  "a triumph of faith over experience"

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