Very rarely does a book come along that truly transforms the way we understand humanity. Books like Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel, Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens and Thomas Piketty’s Capital. Oded Galor’s remarkable The Journey of Humanity looks set to join the ranks of these books.
Reading Galor’s book can feel like seeing the world with fresh eyes. His analysis of the origins of wealth and inequality is compelling and original. And it is, especially during these troubled times, refreshingly optimistic and persuasive. Speaking across the political divide the book sets out a convincing blueprint for how a better life can be had by everyone on the planet.
Galor, an economist at Brown University, upends many of our assumptions about human progress. For nearly all of human history humans lived a subsistence existence. But something astonishing happened 200 years ago and the living standards of nearly all humans have skyrocketed – albeit unevenly – since then.
We tend to think that it was the Industrial Revolution that led to vast improvements in those living standards. But Galor argues that the real game-changer was mass education and the abolition of child labour. Why? Because as technology advanced parents and employers alike saw that it paid to invest in the human capital of children. So families became smaller and wealthier and that wealth cascaded down the generations. Meanwhile, he says, differing levels of diversity, stemming from patterns of human migration tens of thousands of years ago, have been as powerful in determining the fate of nations as colonialism or geography.
On April 6 Galor comes to the stage in London to set out his radical new ideas about human progress. He'll be in conversation with British journalist Kamal Ahmed. Join us for a mind-expanding and hope-infused conversation in which he will weave together insights from technology, demography, colonialism, geography and culture to explain how we got to where we are today and how all of humanity can thrive in the future. After hearing him speak, you might never see the world and our species in quite the same way again.