By Matt Ridley
“Ridley writes with panache, wit, and humor and screens extraordinary ingenuity to find how you can current complex fabrics for the lay reader.” — Los Angeles Times
In a daring and provocative interpretation of monetary heritage, Matt Ridley, the New York Times-bestselling writer of Genome and The purple Queen, makes the case for an economics of wish, arguing that the advantages of trade, know-how, innovation, and change—what Ridley calls cultural evolution—will unavoidably bring up human prosperity. lovers of the works of Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel), Niall Ferguson (The Ascent of Money), and Thomas Friedman (The international Is Flat) will locate a lot to reflect on and luxuriate in in The Rational Optimist.
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Additional resources for The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves
Four and a half thousand years later, their names are remembered—their pyramids, still dominating the flat landscape, symbolize the enduring character of ancient Egypt. As shelters for their occupants and their treasures, however, the pyramids were vulnerable. The size of the pyramids drew attention to the riches hidden within them, and robbers were quick to tunnel through and plunder them, sometimes only shortly after the burial chamber had been sealed. Chefren, who commissioned the second of the three pyramids at Giza, was also responsible for perhaps the most famous of all Egyptian images, the colossal Sphinx [Fig.
The art of the Old Kingdom reflects a mood of confidence and certainty that ended abruptly around 2200 bce with a period of violent disturbance. Divisions between the regions began to strengthen the power of local governors. By the time of the Middle Kingdom, it was no longer possible for pharaoh, priests, or nobles to face the future with complete trust in divine providence. Middle Kingdom art reflects this new uncertainty in two ways: the Old Kingdom came to represent a kind of Golden Age; artists tried to recapture its lofty serenity in their own works.
Akhenaton and His Reforms In Dynasty XVIII, however, there was a remarkable change. The pharaoh Amenhotep IV, who ruled from 1379 to 1362 bce, single-handedly attempted a total reform of Egyptian religious and political life. 16 Akhenaton, Nefertiti, and Three of Their Children, c. 1370–1350 bce. The royal family sits beneath the rays of the sun, symbolizing the sun god Aton, whose cult was at the center of Akhenaton’s reforms. The extreme ease and naturalism of the style is typical of the period.