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August 23, 2010 AT 7:57 am

On our reading list: The Rational Optimist – how prosperity evolves

We’re reading Matt Ridley’s “The Rational Optimist” – how prosperity evolves (and listening to a talk by the same author) – he opens the talk up with this quote by Lord Macaulay, a British historian…

History is full of the signs of this natural progress of society. We see in almost every part of the annals of mankind how the industry of individuals, struggling up against wars, taxes, famines, conflagrations, mischievous prohibitions, and more mischievous protections, creates faster than governments can squander, and repairs whatever invaders can destroy. We see the capital of nations increasing, and all the arts of life approaching nearer and nearer to perfection, in spite of the grossest corruption and the wildest profusion on the part of rulers.

– Lord Macaulay. Critical and Historical Essays: The Complete Writings of Lord Macaulay


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1 Comment

  1. Chris B. Behrens

    Wonderful! But all this is only true if people are allowed both to fail and succeed, and are not interfered with by the state.

    What a fantastic CAPTCHA, btw…

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