Monday, May 24, 2010

Barter and Exchange Leads to Trucks

Interesting article. The reason that humans started to outpace Neanderthals is... exchange, and division of labor.

Nod to Angry Alex

1 comment:

Thai said...

Great post.

I've secretly read your blog for a while but never commented till now...

I think I might restate this post a little differently as I think Ridley underplays some elements which may or may not be confusing you.

In a universe where the conservation of energy is the very driving force for the existence of life, a fractal positive feedback loop of specialization in the setting of cooperation- we also call this "evolution"- permits non-zero sum economic benefits. But the benefit of this non-zero sum gain comes at the cost of increased risk from a failure of cooperation.

... If you were to use modern press language, you can think of this as saying that increasing personal gain comes at the cost of increasing collective or "systemic" risk.

So while I too share Ridley's optimistic view, if we are fair it can be a little Kool Aid when viewed from a hard science perspective.

It is a simple fact that a conservation of energy implies a conservation of risk for a closed system. There is no way around this simple fact. And while planet earth is not technically a closed system, it is functionally pretty darn close.

It is what it is

Again, nice blog

Be well