15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Absolutely essential read,
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This review is from: The Rational Optimist (Paperback)
Like The God Delusion, this will hopefully come to be thought of as one of the key books of its time.
For me, it articulated every thought I'd ever had about consumer capitalism. What a delight to read someone as intelligent as Matt Ridley eloquently voice my thoughts about the free market, how it has helped bring prosperity, learning, democracy, freedom and charity wherever it has been applied. The book certainly proves that the current intellectual force is with what could loosely be termed the right, if only in the sense that socialism gets another huge battering here.
As the title suggests, Ridley is a rationalist. He's also a humanist and a capitalist which, as he convincingly demonstrates time after time, is anything but a dirty word. It's the opposite: it's the way to health and happiness, the way to the stars. Where financial enrichment appears, so do cultural and scientific enrichment. He exposes those who would wish to stop the economy dead as dunderheads, showing how it is only an advanced, innovative, risk-taking economy that can provide the best solutions to problems that life and the planet can throw at us. Entrepreneurs are the answer, not the clumsy hand of the state.
My only slight criticism would be that there's a few too many historical examples from history of specialisation and exchange working their magic - with a few less we'd still get the point.
But this is still a brilliant book, and note that those who give it low marks are those who do not comment on the book itself but only choose to abuse the author. Ignore these skulking socialists and buy this book to make this planet's future a whole lot better.