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  • >>Matt Ridley: We have become more prosperous as we have moved away from self-sufficiency.

  • The more we work for each other, the better off we are. The more we rely on our own efforts,

  • the poorer we are. That's why we call it subsistence. "Self-sufficiency" is indeed another word

  • for "poverty." The story of human prosperity is that through

  • the magic of exchange, we get more and more specialized as producers, more and more narrow

  • in our work so that we can become more and more diversified in our consumption.

  • On my desk at home sit two objects, which are exactly the same size and shape. One is

  • a Acheulean hand axe from half a million years ago of the kind used by homo erectus. The

  • other is a computer mouse from a half-decade ago. They are identical in size and shape

  • because they are both designed to fit the human hand.

  • But one was homemade, the axe. The other was made for me. And that's, in a sense, the secret

  • of human progress. Because compared with homo erectus, I am well

  • off because I have thousands -- nay, millions of servants. They club together to make me

  • that mouse. There was a coffee grower in Brazil whose coffee was being drunk oil rig hand

  • in Mexico whose oil was being turned into plastic in America whose plastic was molded

  • into a mouse in Korea which was marketed here in Britain. They were all part of my support

  • team, my staff, my backup crew. And yet do you know what? Not only did none

  • of them know they were working for me. Not one of them knows how to make a computer mouse.

  • Because there's nobody on the planet who knows how to make a computer mouse. Quite literally.

  • The knowledge is not in any individual's head, because the man who knows how to drill the

  • oil well doesn't know how to refine it into plastic. And the man who runs the computer

  • mouse company, all he knows is how to run a company. He doesn't know how to make a computer

  • mouse, and so on. That's the incredible, peculiar, almost irrational

  • thing about the modern world. It achieves things that nobody actually knows how to do.

>>Matt Ridley: We have become more prosperous as we have moved away from self-sufficiency.

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A2 BEG US mouse computer plastic axe homo oil

Clip - Beyond the Rational - Matt Ridley - Zeitgeist 2012

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    王惟惟   posted on 2018/11/29
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