The first half of the 20th century was a disaster. We went through the Great Depression, and two World Wars. We saw the rise of the communist nations. Walls went up

The first half of the 20th century was a disaster. We went through the Great Depression, and two World Wars. We saw the rise of the communist nations. Walls went up: trade walls between countries, political walls like the Iron Curtain, and communication walls between nations.

In the second half of the same century, though, we started to pull ourselves up from the abyss.

For one, the Iron Curtain came down. The Berlin Wall crumbled. Trade walls disappeared, too: from about 40% in 1940, tariffs in industrialized nations decreased, hitting a low of 5% by the year 2000. The Internet also started bringing people together, knocking down communication barriers of every kind. And just think, that was the 20th century. We’re now in the 21st, and humankind hasn’t stopped yet.

For the first time in our history, double-digit growth has become achievable. China has proven that. Africa too has started to rise up, along with India. We’re seeing millions of people overcoming poverty and millions more gaining access to life-changing education. In tech parlance, if the world were a big computer, then more and more processors are finally coming online.

And all this has come about through the power of a single thing: ideas.

More than ever, they’ve become the drivers of human progress and economic growth.

That’s what we aim to show you through this TED talk from Professor Alex Tabarrok.

Ideas give us every cause to be optimistic. They give us cause to celebrate the enrichment of other nations, instead of fearing their growth as a threat to our own. Not only that, but ideas are also equipping us to face the future—they’re preparing humanity to climb heights previously thought unscalable.

What all this means is, ideas can trump almost every crisis imaginable. And not only that—ideas can also do so at speeds no one could have ever predicted. And if that’s not a cause for cheer, then we don’t know what is.

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