May 19, 2010

Matt Ridley, the rational optimist, predicts what will happen in the rest of the century

Matt Ridley's new book The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves argues for optimism about our future. The author claims that life has been getting better throughout human history and will remain to get better (even at an accelerating pace) and explains why this is so. Curious what he means by 'better'? Here is what Matt Ridley predicts will happen in the rest of the century:
  1. Prosperity spreads, 
  2. technology progresses, 
  3. poverty declines, 
  4. disease retreats, 
  5. fecundity falls, 
  6. happiness increases, 
  7. violence atrophies, 
  8. freedom grows, 
  9. knowledge flourishes, 
  10. the environment improves 
  11. wilderness expands.


  1. Those interested in the Ridley book might wish to know that my own prior 2009 book, THE CASE FOR RATIONAL OPTIMISM (Transaction Books, Rutgers University) thoroughly addresses very similar points and arguments. There is a very strong case to be made for rational optimism across a broad front of issues. More information at

  2. Dear Frank, Thanks for letting us know!


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