A recent book by Matt Ridley called The Rational Optimist has captured my attention and imagination. For years, Ridley, a British microbiologist, has been looking at the economic history of the planet, and he now contends that all human progress starts, deepens, and expands as the result of a single daily activity: trading goods and services with strangers. In other words, all the extraordinary progress we see continually increasing in the world around us comes from the activity of trading in the marketplace. In terms of multipliers, nothing that human beings have ever created matches the multiplying power of trade.
The Rational Optimist