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The past half century has seen unprecedented and spectacular progress in human society allowing vast numbers of people to escape poverty, hunger, and disease. This was the result of innovation, a phenomenon unique to human society and imperfectly explained by economists. Matt Ridley will explore how innovation happens through the exchange of ideas, how it is a gradual, incremental, and evolutionary process that cannot easily be planned or prevented. Continuing innovation gives hope that we will continue to solve humankind’s problems, including environmental ones.

Matt Ridley is the author of provocative books on evolution, genetics, and society. He argues that human beings' ability to connect, collaborate, and co-operate gives our species an often underestimated capacity for change and social progress. 

Matt worked for The Economist for nine years as science editor, Washington correspondent, and American editor, before becoming a self-employed writer, speaker, and businessman. He currently writes the Mind and Matter column in The Wall Street Journal and writes regularly for The Times. 

Matt Ridley's best selling 2010 book, "The Rational Optimist," takes on contemporary pessimism to argue that, in spite of disasters and reverses, the world has been improving for humanity over the last two centuries, and that our quality of life and material wealth will continue to increase in the 21st century. 

His book, “The Evolution of Everything” (HarperCollins, 2015), argues that humanity’s most important achievements develop from the bottom up, and counters conventional assumptions that major scientific and social imperatives are dictated by top-down authorities. 

This talk is presented by The Center for Free Enterprise in the College of Business. It is free and open to the public. 

 

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