Book review: The Evolution Of Everything: How Ideas Emerge

EVOLUTION is not just confined to the species; according to Matt Ridley’s account, it is happening all around us.

Matt Ridley

Fourth Estate, €13.50; ebook, €24.71

Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist, likes turning conventional wisdom on its head and in this book argues that top-down control is never as effective as bottoms up, evolving change.

On economic matters, Adam Smith is championed over Marx, population control of China’s one-child policy passionately dismissed in favour of natural population growth, and many cultural norms including marriage, money, religion and technological innovation are portrayed as being evolutionary practices, not delivered by great men or human top-down systems.

The politics is libertarian; reading from European perspective, positing a private alternative to state health services or voicing climate change scepticism certainly offers an alternative voice to some broad consensus views.


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