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Matt Ridley, a popular speaker on human progress, identifies smart aid for the world’s poor

Matt Ridley speakerWriting for the Wall Street Journal, Matt Ridley, best-selling author of “The Rational Optimist”, discusses how rich countries can help the poor ones by identifying five “smart aid” priorities.

In September next year, the United Nations plans to choose a list of development goals for the world to meet by the year 2030. What aspirations should it set for this global campaign to improve the lot of the poor, and how should it choose them? Matt argues that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his advisers need an objective way of paring down an otherwise lengthy list of global priorities.

Matt recommends Ban Ki-moon an “unlikely ally”: Bjørn Lomborg, founder the Copenhagen Consensus – an international think tank that tries to prioritise the world’s greatest challenges based on the impact that can be made. Bjørn has invented a useful method for “dispassionately but expertly” deciding how to spend limited funds on different priorities. Every four years, he gathers a group of leading economists to assess the best way to spend money on global development with a simple goal: to create a cost-benefit analysis for each policy and to rank them by their likely effectiveness.

Based on the work of the Copenhagen Consensus group, Matt lays out what his 2030 goals would look like:

  1. Reduce malnutrition
  2. Tackle malaria and tuberculosis
  3. Boost preprimary education
  4. Provide universal access to sexual and reproductive health
  5. Expand free trade

Matt argues that although these aren’t the world’s biggest problems, these are the problems for which each dollar spent on aid generates the most benefit.

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For more information on how to book Matt Ridley as a speaker, please contact Alex Hickman at or call +44 (0) 20 7792 8004.

Keynote speaker Matt Ridley on the improving state of humanity

Matt Ridley - Improving State of HumanityCheck out this video of Matt Ridley, popular keynote speaker and best-selling author of The Rational Optimist, who gave an interview on the improving state of humanity at the Cato Institute –  a think tank dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace.

In his recent work on the greening of our planet, Matt discovered something interesting: likely scenarios in which humans contribute more to climate change (according to the IPCC) are the same ones in which incomes grow more slowly.

Matt argues that humanity’s impact on the environment need not be catastrophic. This is partly because there is a strong relationship between economic growth and a greener planet: “the richer we become, the lesser our impact on the environment will be.”

Since economic freedom and growth are correlated (i.e.: more economic freedom means higher growth), economic freedom encourages a higher quality of life and a healthier environment. As such, Matt contends that gloomy predictions about the future of the planet are based on unrealistic assumptions that are unlikely to happen. Watch the video to find out more!

To find out more about Matt Ridley, or to book him as a speakerplease contact Alex Hickman at or call +44 (0) 20 7792 8004.

“Eat up your GM crops” advises keynote speaker Matt Ridley

Matt Ridley speakerWriting in The Times, Matt Ridley, best-selling author and popular keynote speaker, tells readers to eat up GM crops, arguing that genetically modified foods are cheaper to grow, need fewer pesticides and can be enriched with anti-cancer agents.

This follows from the news that Britain could soon grow genetically modified crops commercially, which Matt believes is a victory for “common sense over irrational opportunism…[because] the opposition to GM crops has been counter-productive for the environment as well as harmful to the economy and the consumer.” Matt provides the example that potatoes currently require spraying with fungicides up to 15 times a season. Each spraying costs money, burns diesel, compacts soil and kills innocent fungal bystanders.

Matt contends that “GM food has killed nobody. There’s now simply no way to argue with a straight face, after billions of GM meals have been eaten all round the world, that the technology is a threat to our health. The reverse is actually the case…[For example,] purple tomatoes, rich in anti-cancer agents, have been created in Norwich.”

Click here to read the full article.

To book Matt as a speaker, please contact Alex Hickman, at or call +44 (0) 20 7792 8004.

TED speaker Matt Ridley: “You don’t own the land 300m below your feet”

Matt Ridley speakerCommenting on the issue of drilling for shale gas, Matt Ridley, British journalist and author of “The Rational Optimist”, has argued in his latest Times opinion piece that householders can’t be allowed to hold up underground energy projects.

Matt points out that the “world is bedevilled by problems caused by lack of private property rights, but it is also bedevilled by problems caused by too much property ownership.” He goes on to say that “it was to prevent just such ownership gridlock that the government long ago established that individual landowners could not stop canals, railways, roads, sewers, water pipes or even coal mines going through, over or under their properties, so long as they were compensated for any harm done.”

Consequently, Matt argues that if “somebody is going to take the expensive trouble to drill through miles of rock, and have no discernible effect on your garden above, then you should no more have the right to prosecute him for trespass than you do to prosecute an airliner flying thousands of feet above your garden or a car driving past on a motorway a mile away.”

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For information on Matt’s speaking availability, please contact our Managing Partner, Leo von Bülow-Quirk, at or call +44 (0) 20 7792 8000

Rory Sutherland on ideas that breed

In his latest musings for The Spectator, Rory Sutherland, one of the most influential men in marketing, discusses how the most interesting innovations seem to emerge from the mating of different ideas, a process which is excellently described by Matt Ridley in his TEDtalk called ‘When ideas have sex’.

By using examples such as the wheeled suitcase, which apparently came into being from technology developed for in-line roller-skates, Rory argues that “what really changes the world is when different ideas, often from different fields, breed to create something new.” He goes onto say that the recombinatory process can be used to explain why capitalism works well, and how this process can also be seen in nature…

Click here to read on.

For information on Rory’s speaking availability, please contact our Managing Partner, Leo von Bülow-Quirk, at or call +44 (0) 207 792 8000

Matt Ridley on climate change: “the richer we get, the greener we’ll become”

In this week’s opinion piece for The Times, Matt Ridley, a prominent British journalist and member of the House of Lords, writes that the world’s climate change experts are now saying that strong growth doesn’t hurt the environment, but rather protects it.

Matt notes that there is a convergence between the 5 projections given by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which show that by 2100 the global average income per head should have increased 13-fold to $100,000 (in 2005 dollars) compared with $7,800 today. Inequality will have also declined, because people in poor countries will have been getting rich faster than people in rich countries, as is happening now.

Asking whether the planet can “survive this sort of utopian plutocracy,” Matt shows that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has done its own projections and concludes that more trade, more innovation and more wealth make possible greater investment in low-carbon energy and smarter adaptation to climate change.

Click here to read the full article.

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