The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge by Matt Ridley

evolutionThe Evolution of Everything (2015) is interesting but not as good as several of his other books, however I read them awhile ago so cannot be specific.

His main point is that trial and error is a kind of natural selection. So if someone comes up with a good idea it will spread and be adopted. While he presents interesting descriptions to illustrate this proposition, he fails to counter obvious examples of when progress is thwarted and why. When he discusses slavery for example, he states that society changed so it was no longer acceptable. He fails to note, however that slavery is alive and well by that name or by another, for example human trafficking of sex slaves. It may be considered unaccepted but it still a thriving business by masters and users. Wives in some countries are also, essentially slaves. They have no rights, they can be divorced by the husband saying “I divorce you” and then thrown out on the street to fend for themselves, essentially forcing them to become prostitutes since they can’t be out in public without a male relative, their families will disown and possibly even do an “honor killing” because obviously it was her fault for not pleasing her husband (owner).

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