I haven’t read ‘The Rational Optimist’ by Matt Ridley, but I have read this review:


And… it has put me off. It is a book arguing that free, unregulated markets work better than regulated ones, and that the environment is not deteriorating. But, according to the review by George Monbiot, the book is full of blatant distortion. Like not mentioning how relatively free, unregulated markets led to the Credit Crunch, indeed particularly so in Ridley’s own company, Northern Rock (he was chairman of the company!), which needed a GBP £27bn bailout when it crashed due entirely to slack regulation, greed and stupidity (presumably on his part at least). As readers of my blog will know, I’ve forecast this economic depression for a long time now. Who listens? Not people who should know what they’re doing, anyway.

  1. Frank S. Robinson says:

    The Monbiot article is a disgrace, and Ridley has thoroughly responded to it on his blog. Monbiot, and the bulk of his cheerleading commenters, are quite simply in denial about the big picture: 1) life has gotten hugely better for the average human over the past few centuries; 2) there are powerful reasons for that, which are continuing to operate; and 3) more freedom is better than less, not only because it is morally preferable, but also because it makes people better off, with more rewarding lives. 
These are Ridley’s basic messages. And also mine, in my own book: THE CASE FOR RATIONAL OPTIMISM (Transaction Books, Rutgers University, 2009), which makes quite similar points and arguments, but develops the case for optimism over a rather broader range of subject areas. See http://www.fsrcoin.com/k.htm

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