"Ideas Having Sex" A Conversation with John Tierney and Matt Ridley


"Where ideas have sex, is in technologies," says author and biologist Matt Ridley, "we give far too much credit to individuals for innovation…all of them are standing on the shoulders of lots of other people."

Ridley discussed his views on trade, invention and creativity with the New York Times' John Tierney at a Reason Foundation event at the Museum of Sex in New York City on March 8, 2012.

The author of "The Rational Optimist," tells Tierney that "Every technology we possess has ideas that occurred to different people in different times and different places…most innovation happens by perspiration not inspiration, it's tinkering…rather than geniuses in ivory towers."

Tierney and Ridley also discuss how traders and businessmen, much maligned throughout history as exploiters and "social parasites," have actually contributed enormously to the spread of ideas and new technological breakthroughs. Ridley describes how Fibonacci, the son of an Italian trader who lived in North Africa, brought the Indian numeral system (the numbers we all know and love today) to Europe as one of the greatest tangible benefits of trade facilitating the exchange of ideas. Ridley implores the public to "Just stop knocking traders, they're great people, they do wonderful things."

Runs about 20.26 minutes.

Produced by Anthony L. Fisher, shot by Jim Epstein and Fisher.

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