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El optimismo, racional por Arcadi Espada

"El optimista racional" (extracto) de Matt Ridley. “¿Propiedad intelectual?” por IBERCREA

Matt Ridley, the Rational Optimist, Answers Your Questions By STEPHEN J. DUBNER

I write about the Dark Ages in my book. Basically, I see the cause as a collapse of Mediterranean trade, leading to a retreat to agricultural self-sufficiency. The Italian countryside, for example, was producing for export in Roman times and that ceased. An end to free trade would plunge us into a dark age again.

So yes, I do argue that modern human beings are the only species that somehow managed to get into the habit of full-blown exchange and specialization beyond the family. Or, as Adam Smith put it, “Nobody ever saw a dog make fair exchange of a bone with another dog.”

I think this is one of those areas where we look back to a golden age that never was. The reporting of science was always terrible: go read the kind of things that newspapers carried about medications in the 1930s or 1950s. It has gotten a little better, but it’s still poor.

By opening borders so that all people can access innovations. I tell the story in my book of the use of mobile phones by poor fishermen in India to decide where to land their catch – at a time when economists regarded mobile phones as a luxury of no relevance to poor countries. I tell of nitrogen-use-efficiency crops, which were developed in California but are being licensed free to Africa through charity so that poor farmers can grow good crops without being able to afford high nitrogen applications.