Rethinking Capitalism (ReCap) Webinar Series

The Journey of Humanity

by Oded Galor (Brown University)

Event Summary

While the evolution of technology has been a gradual process, accelerating over time, living standards have not followed a similar path. The ascent in the quality of life since the early nineteenth century has been the outcome of an abrupt transformation. How western societies broke out of the Malthusian poverty trap, the Mistery of Growth, lies in the interplay of the industrial revolution, rising education, and falling fertility rates. Geographical, institutional, cultural, and societal factors are behind the different timing with which the various areas in the world experienced this liberation and, therefore, the exploding worldwide inequality meanwhile. The prosperity that has continued until now is currently under threat from environmental degradation and climatic change. The opportunity window to make the human journey sustainable, avoiding the worst consequences of climatic change, is still open, but, admittedly, there is no time to lose.