The Journey of Humanity: The Origins of Wealth and Inequality

Oded Galor is Herbert H. Goldberger Professor of Economics at Brown University and the founding thinker behind Unified Growth Theory, which seeks to uncover the fundamental causes of development, prosperity, and inequality over the entire span of human history.

He has shared the insights of his lifetime’s work in this field at some of the most prestigious lectures around the globe and has now distilled those discoveries into The Journey of Humanity: The Origins of Wealth and Inequality, which is being published in twenty-eight languages worldwide.

Prof. Galor presented his book on March 24, 2022 at Harvard Kennedy School.

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DISCLAIMER: This webinar transcript was loosely edited and there may be inaccuracies. 

Oded Galor:  Well, thank you very much for the introduction and delighted to be here and to present the booklet I released yesterday. The book is focusing on the journey of humanity, namely the evolution of human societies since the emergence of anatomically modern humans in Africa nearly 300,000 years ago. And in fact, it focuses on two fundamental mysteries that surrounds these journeys the mystery of growth, namely what are the roots of the dramatic transformation and living standards in the past two centuries after hundreds of thousands of years of stagnation? And the mystery of naming what is the origin of the vast inequality in the standard of living across countries and regions of the world? Well, most of human existence, human life was largely nasty, brutish and short. Like any other species, humans were largely preoccupied with survival and reproduction. Living standards were very close to the subsistence, and they were minor differences in living standards across time and across space. In fact, a few centuries ago, one force of newborn did not reach their first birthday and one half of them did not reach their reproductive age. Numerous women perished during childbirth. Life expectancy fluctuated in a very narrow range of twenty-five to 40 and rarely exceeded forging. Most people very, very different from doing most birthplace over their lifetime. It was largely illiterate and they lived in the darkness after the disappearance of the Sun over the horizon. And perhaps more strikingly, an economic crisis during this period did not lead into a better fighting. It led to massive invasion an exception.

But then something very dramatic occurred in the past 100 years and metamorphosis. Dramatic transformation in living standards across Muslim societies. Income per capita in the world is are all within. This 200 year period is increasing by a factor of 14. Life expectancy has more than doubled and there is a great divergence in income per capita across countries and regions of the world. Oh, it was this dramatic transformation, consider for a moment, residents of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus, residents of Jerusalem at the time of the end of the Romans. This is nearly 2000 years ago and with this individual forward in a time machine to the Ottoman period, Jerusalem in the 19th century. Despite this 2000 either jump is individuals will be able to instantaneously adapt to the new environment. That knowledge would be largely applicable. Technological improvements would be merely incremental. Occupations would require very similar skills and life expectancy would remain unchanged. And as a result, it would not necessitate a change in the mindset of individuals. But now consider these individuals and we ask them yet again. But only 200 year olds from Ottoman Jerusalem in the 19th century to contemporary Jerusalem in the 21st century. Despite this minor jump, in terms of the time period, this would be a devastating experience, a shocking experience. Boston College would be largely obsolete. Modern technologies would appear literally as witchcraft. Occupations would require incomprehensible skills and life expectancy would instantly double. And as a result of it would require a different type of orientation. Future oriented orientation. Education decisions. Saving decisions. Life saving decisions. So in contrast to the conventional wisdom that exists in some sectors of economic discipline and beyond. In fact, living standards is not increasing gradually in the course of human history. Technological problems evolved gradually in the course of human history, but I read your paper on the standard of living generate a larger population, but not free motivation. And in fact, the recent large rising in living standard reflects what we defined as based transition, namely an abrupt transformation once a certain tipping point has been reached. So to conceptualize this change, consider the evolution of Income per capita in the past 2000 years. And what you see in front of you is a striking picture, namely, economies are in a state of stagnation, Malthusian stagnation for most of the course of human history, for the past literally hundreds of thousands of years. And then something very dramatic is occurring in the past few hundred years, a dramatic spike in the income in Income per capita in the world of the magnitude, as I said, and 14 times. And in fact, some regions of the world are experiencing an increase in income per capita that is 100 times an artist, 50 times so an average 44. In fact, if I would take this diagram and I would remove the labeling of the axis and I would show this diagram to a random scientist. Probably most people will say that this is the output of assessment graph that detects tectonic activity and eruption, but in fact, this is precisely the evolution of income per capita. Suddenly we see this eruption and this is a large extent what they will defined and what they define in the book as the mystery of growth.

Now, at the same time, this take off is not OK here at the same time across the globe. Some societies are experiencing this take off as early as the beginning of the 19th century and even earlier and others only recently. And as a result of it, we see this great divergence in income per capita that is occurring in the past two centuries. Western Europe and Western offshoots are taking off first. Other regions of the world are lagging behind, and there is a huge gap that is emerging in the world across. Now, initially, we would like to respect. And to resolve these two fundamental mysteries, the mystery of growth and the mystery of inequality, we have to develop a better identification of the forces of militarization of stagnation to growth. We have to develop a better identification of the forces that brought about the differential timing of the transition across the globe. And we have to understand the role of historical and the processes that contributed to this differential, the timing of the transition across the globe. And naturally, if in fact, we can resolve these two stories, we would be in a better position to design strategies to mitigate inequality across the. So in order to resolve these two mysteries, the book initially marches forward. Any time from the time of the murders of anatomically modern humans in Africa, 300,000 years ago to the present. And. The underlying condition is it is not true. Holds the secret for the mystery of growth and ultimately the mystery of inequality, namely when we are about to resolve the mystery of inequality, we will have to be in a better position to understand the role of deep-rooted factors. Income per capita development today, namely, how the events that occured hundreds of years ago, thousands of years ago and even tens of thousands of years ago, are lingering and affecting comparative economic development projects and consequent game focus on phases of development. And when you think about phases of development, one can identify three fundamental phases some developed to generate the possible vision regime and modern growth vision in which the people in this movement reside. The multinational effort originates.

With the emergence of anatomically modern humans in Africa, the three thousand three hundred thousand years ago and its France ninety-nine point nine percent of human existence lasted about the eve of industrialization in the context of the most developed societies in the world. And the conclusion of that book is characterized by interesting, interestingly, on the one hand, stagnation in living standards. But on the other hand, great dynamism in technology and population and human adaptation that ultimately permits to take off from stagnation to growth. So over this 300,000 year period, these processes are ultimately leading into the take-off from stagnation to growth, leading initially into the hospital generation and then the onset of the demographic transition is freeing the growth process from the counterbalancing effect of the population and the world is sailing into the modern growth version. So given the importance of the military unit in the understanding of contemporary inequality, why some countries are rich and others are poor. Let me try to identify the three fundamental winds of change that are governing the processes of development and progress for orchestrating this transition from stagnation to us. So I think that demonstration is characterized by important hydraulics stagnation, along with dynamism stagnation in living standards in a sense, and income per capita fluctuates around a subsistence level and life expectancy fluctuates in a narrow range of 25 to 40. But dynamism in the context of technology, in the context of population and in the context of human adaptation. No, at any point in time, what I refer to, the dynamism is very, very slow and very, very low. Namely, we see slow rate of technological progress, slow rate of population growth and slow rate for the base and over 300,000 year period.

This process gains momentum up to a point in which, in fact, these three forces are generating the transition from stagnation. So the first building block. In this winds of change is the impact of technology on population and during the most recent technological progress actually generated an increase in income. But this was not long lasting. Why? Because again, if people adopted fertilizers, better technology, better lives, they have largely larger output than before. But this output permitted more of their offspring to survive four million more offspring to be born. And consequently, population grew, and ultimately, the income reverted back to the previous equilibrium position over most of human history. It was logical progress was converted into more people rather than into entropy. So, broadly speaking, technologically advanced societies or land rich economies and higher population density, but largely similar level of income. And the evidence is striking in this respect. Look at the relationship between. Len, productivity, as you can see here. And population density along the vertical axis. You can see this pronounced positive association. More fertile land is generating higher population density, and the same would hold for the relationship between technology and population density. But the striking element is there is no association between land productivity and technology and income per capita, said Richard. I mean, societies that originally land, societies that have more advanced technologies have larger population density, but very similar levels. The second important building block will for change is the impact of technological progress on human activities. So this really isn't just a huge amount of pressure affected the size of the population, but in addition it affected the composition of the population. And why is it so naturally traits that were complementary to the growth process to logically generate in higher income? But in the material world, higher income was converted into higher reproductive success, and consequently, these traits that were complementary to the growth process became more and more prevalent in the population over time. And you said the patient raised the prevalence of complementary traits with the growth process and reinforced the differences and ultimately reinforced the take off from stagnation to growth. This is the second we have to change if we will focus, and a third one is in fact the forces behind technological progress. And here the argument is very simple the size of the population and the composition of the population affects technological progress. Why is it so? Because the size of the population affects the number of individuals, namely the supply of innovations the size of the population affect the number of individuals that may use the technology and the demand for which it affects the diffusion of knowledge and the fact that individual labor, any defects, the extent of trade and all of these forces are contributing to a technological problem.

So in the course of human history, what we can see is the following. Population size increases over time. The composition of the population is adapting, and they're both affecting the rotation of the wheel change latest technological progress technological progress becomes faster and faster and faster. This technological progress becomes faster, the size of the human population gets larger and the attention gets large. So we see these winds of change. Reinforcement between population size and population composition and technological progress. And the feedback from technological progress into a population size and the limitation. Now, over most of human history, this rotation is relatively slow, and it doesn't necessarily necessitate any investment in human capital on the part of the population. But ultimately, we reach a point in which technological progress is so rapid, so it's to require human capital in order to cope with this rapidly changing technological environment. So human capital becomes essential in navigating this stormy technological environment, parents start to invest in the human capital of their children. But given the fact that they have limited resource constraints, they have to economize on the size of the population. It implies that the demographic transition is taking place. Fertility starts to decline. The growth process is framed from the counterbalancing effects of population, and the world is sailing into the modern world, especially. Now, as they said, this transition is what may be defined as a phase, but think about a phase transition in nature, a transition from liquid to gas, naturally sweet water. And as the temperature increases, initially, there is no change in the state of this of these sort of monuments.

But ultimately, as we reach agreement a threshold, we see the operation of these water molecules and then transition from water to guys very similar in the course of human history. We see that there are circulating forces operating below will be below the surface. And this is basically the rate of technological progress and its impact on the latent demand for humankind. But since the ideological approach was initially so slow, we moved from one stone technology to another one. It doesn't require any human capital increase in intimate human capital is very small, and as a result of it, we do not see any of us. But ultimately up to three hundred thousand year period when we move from stone tool the analogy to steam engine technology changes being made. And then we see this dramatic eruption, namely a phase transition that allows us to move from stagnation and from the agricultural state of development to the industrial stage. So what we see behind dramatically is the concept of education. Namely, we are living in a particular state in terms of in terms of economic development. And then suddenly, the maturing equilibrium seems to vanish and we are gravitated into the modern growth machine. Now, when you think about the March of Humanity, broadly speaking, it appears that the March of Humanity to a large extent has been unstoppable. In what sense, if we think about shuttering and dreadful events in the course of human history, World War I, World War II, the Spanish flu, the Great Depression and most recently in COVID 19, poor people who lived through this crisis. These appear devastating and perhaps insurmountable. But what history teaches us is that in fact, many of these dramatic and devastating as they were and limited impact on the ground of humanity, the humanity recovered from these tragedies with great haste and continue its march forward.

So naturally, at the moment, we are all facing an internal question actually more than others. This humanitarian crisis that is developing in Ukraine. And again, this is devastating. And if we think about the Ukrainian people, they will deal with this, the aftermath and the consequences of these atrocities for the next decades and perhaps beyond. But at the same time. History suggests that the gloom that is sort of surrounding us these days is perhaps not necessarily in place in the sense that history suggests that it is very unlikely that this event and similar events with uranium money from its relentless march. So in this respect, as you will see when you read the journey of humanity, the journey of humanity's hope is is providing a very hopeful outlook in these gloomy days about the future of humanity. Nevertheless, you may ask yourself what if climate change will be the single most devastating events that will ultimately devalue money from its relentless march? And here to the journey of humanity, both the book and the actual journey provides very helpful in what sense it suggests to us that technological acceleration that existed in the course of human history is in fact the catalyst of climate change. It is technological acceleration. Brought about industrialization, industrial pollution and started the process of climate change. But at the same time, it is this technological acceleration that brought about human capital formation.

The power of innovation and as we experience in the context of COVID 19, this power of innovation is so incredible that it was able to terminate a major pandemic in a relatively short period of time. So in the context of global warming, given the fact that this technological acceleration increases the power of innovation and at the same time brought about a decline in fertility rates, even India is now just battering replacement level infertility. This suggests to us that these processes are bound to first mitigate the pace of climatic change. But most importantly, provide scientists with the needed time to develop these revolutionary technologies that can, in fact. Reverse the current pattern that we see across the globe and ultimately turn this crisis, hopefully into a fading memory. So as I said, when you read the book, you will notice that the first part of the book is marching forward, starting in Africa three hundred thousand years ago and moving to the present. And in this course of the first part of the book, The Mystery of Growth is resolved. Nevertheless, we remain with the mystery of inequality, namely what are the roots of the vaccine inequality in Income per capita, as we see today? So the second part of the book is, in fact, taking the opposite course of direction in terms of time, namely starting at the present and marching gradually backward in human history, feeling gradually different layers of influence. Initially, institutions, culture, geography, Neolithic Revolution and back to Africa at the time of the exodus of humans 60 to 90 thousand years ago, and basically providing us with essential tools to understand the roots of inequality and consequently providing us with the tools to design policies that could mitigate inequality. Today. Now, initially, when we look at the uneven development across the globe, it is very tempting to attribute it superficially to differences in education, differences in physical capital formation and differences in technological the proximate cause. Yes, of course, they're correlated with them.

But the question that emerges is why some societies fail to invest sufficiently in physical and human capital formation. Why some societies fail to adopt advanced technologies. And this leads us into the understanding that since much of the inequality that we see across the globe today was originated. In the past 200 years due to the differential timing of the transition from stagnation to growth, and since this differential timing reflects forces that existed in the distant past, we must focus on deeper layers of influence. This takes us into the deeper roots off of what I will call historical and prehistoric coal barriers to development. Initially, institutional and cultural characteristics and finally the ultimate truth, namely geography and human characteristics. So let's start with the fingerprints of institutions. Naturally, what we see in the course of human history is the emergence of differential institutions across the globe. We see the emergence of growth-enhancing. Inclusive institutions in some societies, and we see the emergence of growth retarding extractive institutions in others. But yet again, institutions are rarely manna from heaven. The question is, why do we see this differential adoption of institutions in different corners across the globe? So admittedly, there are some critical junctures in which differential institutions are emerging quite randomly. We can think, for instance, about the impact of the Black Death on the decimation of the European population, 40 percent decline in population, scarcity of labor and consequently competition of the over the labor force that is leading into the decline of feudalism, the emergence of property rights and ultimately a poor, perhaps industrialization in England. We can consider, for instance, the glorious revolution and its impact on the emergence of constitutional monarchy in England and ultimately the emergence of industrialization. Or perhaps most strikingly, we can consider the division of the Korean Peninsula along the 38th parallel that is naturally generating an inordinate hell and a southern paradise.

So certainly, we can consider a counterfactual history in which if the Korean Peninsula would not have been divided along the 38th parallel and segments of the society in Korea would have enjoyed a different level of income per capita, as we see today, what we can consider the possibility the James the sinking would have defeated William of Orange in the battlefield. The glorious revolution would not take place. Absolute Monarchism would remain in England and in fact, even it wouldn't even revert to Catholicism, in which case perhaps industrialization would have occurred in Holland rather than in England. Yes. So there are some critical junctures, but we can name them, perhaps on a on on one hand, perhaps on two largely speaking institutions, as mostly evolved gradually in response to economic development and in particular, the transition into the Neolithic Revolution, namely, the emergence of agriculture nearly 12000 years ago is associated with tremendous increase in population density. And this tremendous increase in population density naturally generates demand for institutions that can generate cooperation across individuals that can facilitate the introduction of necessary public goods and can generate social cohesiveness. Broadly speaking, or we can think about other geographical corruption as the suitability of the soil for large plantations. Naturally, the suitability of the soil for large plantation led gradually into the emergence of large concentration of land ownership and ultimately to the emergence of extractive institutions and even slavery. And we can consider the decision, but it is this environment was a hurdle in the process of development and hurdle in the process and the adoption of centralized institutions.

So as I said, mostly in the course of human history, we see that institutions are responding to economic development. And this implies that if we want to understand the roots of inequality today, we have to peel the layer of institutions and to look deeper. And this brings us into what I will define as the cultural factor. So again, in the context of culture, we see the emergence of differential cultural traits across the globe. We see the emergence of growth-enhancing cultural traits such as social capital in some regions of the world. We see the emergence of growth retarding cultural traits, for instance, family ties and other roots. And in fact, many have attributed the Italian divide, the northern southern divide in Italy to the presence of social capital in the north and family ties in the south. But again, cultural traits are rarely manna from heaven. So why do we see social capital in northern Italy and family ties in southern Italy? Again, admittedly, there are some critical juncture in which culture cultural mutation emerge. And as a result of it, we see an inertia that is persisting over time. And perhaps the best case in point is in the context of Judaism and basically mandatory literacy that is imposed in the first century without any economic justification. It's a great economic liability at the time, but ultimately, as economies are developing and human capital becomes very important in the production process, this random mutation becomes very, very beneficial. We can think about the Protestant Reformation, not necessarily in the context of random mutation, because naturally, the Protestant Reformation reflects some political and religious competition at the time. But naturally, the Partizan Reformation, the emphasis on swift and interpret worship as a tremendous impact on the spirit of capitalism and the transition from stagnation to growth. But this, I said, culture in the course of human history, largely adapted to the geographical environment, a technological environment, the economic environment.

So naturally, the rise in the return to human capital changed the attitude towards investment in children, investment in education. The agricultural return to two different yields in different societies induce certain investment in agriculture and told people how to delay gratification and was behind the emergence of future-oriented mindsets. Climatic volatility affected the degree of loss aversion in society and as a result of it, entrepreneurial spirit. And lastly, the suitability of the land for the use of the power plow affected the adoption of the plant and consequently provided a comparative advantage for men in agricultural production and generated persistent gender bias that affects labor force participation even today. So again, if we think about the cultural factor, it appears that a geographical element behind it. Human element behind it. Technological elements behind. So we need to move into the deeper layer of influence, which is basically the shadow job of. If we think about geographical characteristics, soil quality, climate, the disease, environmental isolation. Naturally, they ended, they wrecked. They do have direct impact on economic development. They affect labor productivity. In fact, human capital formation effect, trade and affect technological progress. But in addition, they have an indirect effect. They just argued on the evolution of cultural and institutional characteristics. Naturally, these are deep-rooted foxes, ultimate factors that we would expect to have a tremendous effect on the contemporary level of inequality across societies. Now, focusing on geography leads us further back in the course of human history into the onset of the Neolithic Revolution. 12000 years ago. So, as you know, at a certain point in human history, we see this transition from hunter-gatherer tribes to agricultural communities.

And this transition is generating certain surpluses. This permits the emergence of a non-food producing class. Why is it so important? Because this non-food producing class is associated ultimately with knowledge creation in the form of science, in the form of technology, and in the form of written languages, and generates a technological headstart that persist over time. So variations in the timing of the onset of the Neolithic revolution across the globe that can be mapped into certain geographical endowments. Could be the origin of some of the variations in Income per capita across the globe. This is, in fact, the diamond hypothesis. Now, empirically, what we know at the moment is that, in fact, the diamond hypothesis is relevant for the understanding of comparative developmental about the shifting in the past fifteen hundred period. In fact, the entire argument is moot. And the reason is that transition to the knowledge was associated with two elements the one that was emphasized by Diamond, namely technological and such. But the second one is comparative advantage in agriculture and comparative advantage in agriculture, as we know, has limited technological spillovers. And as we moved into the modern world in which industry and the urban sector were, in fact, the hub for technological innovations, those societies that a comparative advantage in agriculture started to lag behind. And these two forces started to offset one. So as I said. Revealing deeper and deeper layers of influence are taking us with the diamond hypothesis twelve thousand years back, but in fact, we think deeper we can go back all the way to Africa. And this leads us into the out of Africa hypothesis of comparative development. As you know, humans are departing from Africa nearly 60 to 90 thousand years ago, and we are all offsprings of this migration. No exceptions. And naturally, this migration is affecting the distribution of population diversity. I will show you momentarily. And consequently, comparative economic development across the globe.

So during this exodus of modern humans from Africa, departing populations carrying was themselves only a subset of the diversity that existed in the original population, whether it is cultural diversity, phenotypic diversity, behavioral diversity or linguistic diversity. And why is it so? Because the original population is rather small. The departing population is rather small and we are sampling from a limited distribution and the sample is not representative sample. Some of the diversity that existed initially evaporated in this process. Now, in addition, the process, the migration process is sequential, and as a result of it, each step that humans are making out of Africa is reducing the degree of diversity further and further. So to further, an indigenous population is from Africa, the less diversity. This is a good illustration of the argument, if we start with the population in Africa and this is the level of diversity that exists initially and humans are departing initially into the area of the fertile crescent, then those population, those individuals that are departing and not caring, the entire diversity that existed in the African population. Now, this population when settled in the Fertile Crescent will grow ultimately and ultimately it will be forced to migrate in the search for more fertile land. They will move into Central Asia, into the Bering Strait and into the Americas as they take each additional step. In fact, the population becomes more and more homogeneous, and the data is striking in this respect.

If you look at migratory distance from Africa in. Ten thousand kilometers in those societies that are about 25,000 kilometers from Africa and migratory distance are the least diverse in the world. The African population is the most diverse, followed by the Middle Eastern population, the European population, the Asian population, the Oceanian population and Native Americans. And this will be true regardless of how you measure diversity. Any measure of diversity will provide you precisely what these spots. Now, why is it so important? It is so important because diversity has conflicting effects on productivity. On the one hand, it has beneficial effects on creativity and innovation because diversity permits cross-fertilization of ideas and complementarities in the production process. But on the other hand, diversity affects social cohesiveness. Generate mistrust, generate disagreement about a desirable public goods and consequently generates conflict. So given the fact that there are two conflicting effects, if in fact each of these effects is positive and diminishing effects on diversity. Then we should expect to find the hump-shaped relationship between diversity and development and evidence of striking in this respect. Look at Panel A. This is population density Indy 500 hump shape relationship between diversity and economic development today based on migratory distance from Africa 60 to 90 thousand years ago. And to countries that are residing here at the peak of the hunt are Korea, Japan and in China, naturally, not countries that appear to us very diverse. But this is a different time period in which diversity is less important because technology is not evolving very rapidly and innovations are less important than social cohesiveness. But as we move into the modern period. In fact, the arms remain, but the peak of the hump is associated with the Society of the United States, namely the level of diversity. It is optimal for development is increasing in the context of development, and this will be truly will focus on urbanization rates and luminosity in the contemporary period.

Now, alternatively, you can focus on ethnic groups rather than countries. And if you focus, in fact, on all the ethnic groups and ethnographic objects, one thousand two hundred and 65 ethnic groups, you will see that in every thousand years, starting with one thousand B.C. Twelve thousand years ago, we see this pronounced hump shape relationship between migratory distance from Africa and economic development. So. Back to the winds of change. As I said before, the size of the population, the composition of the population and technological progress are the winds of change. They are orchestrating ultimately the transition from stagnation to growth. But the pace of this rotation is not independent of other forces. The pace is a function of institutional factors and cultural factors. And of course, they are affected by geography and migratory distance from Africa, and consequently, in the course of human history, societies that were fortunate enough to reside in places where did you graphical endowment or the migratory distance from Africa was an optimal one, took off much earlier than others and the divergence of care across the globe. Now, if you ask yourself about the roots of comparative development. It is quite apparent that nearly 90 percent of the variations of Income per capita today can be traced to deep-rooted factors, the migration of humans out of Africa accounts for about 17 to 26 percent of the unexplained variations in inequality. The time since human settlement and analytic revolution explain about three percent, mostly the time since human settlement, geographical and climatic factors huge component twenty-seven to thirty-eight percent the disease ecology 10 to 15 percent cultural factors about 20 percent and political institutions such as Executive Constraint and Polity for the Democracy Index explain about three to nine percent.

So there are many factors that affect comparative development. And Essay said the second part of the book is stepping backward and trying to identify each of them at the time and reaching this conclusion about the relative magnitude of these factors. Naturally, all these factors are important and very important for the understanding of the world. Now, as you know, when Malthus was engaged in the writing of his dismal predictions about the future of the world. People attributed is right attributed to the economic science, the name, the dismal science. And the reason was that Malthus was associated with dismal prediction about the fact that humanity's doing. And in fact, we will not be able to escape from the arms of the Malthusian octopus. Now, does it limit what they do here? Does it imply that in fact, the fate of nation is written in stone and in fact, there is geographical and historical determinism? Not at all. Basically the opposite the insights from the journey of humanity, the book and the actual journey would permit us to design growth-enhancing policies that are country-specific, history specific. It will be critical for the ability of humanity to flourish in the decades and centuries to come.

Let me illustrate in a very simple fashion. Wouldn't the World Bank is preaching to less developed societies, suggesting policies that can mitigate poverty and inequality, they naturally emphasized fertility control and education, but when they emphasize education, it is basically use of education. Let's assure that population is more educated, in other words. And this is a wonderful policy, but it's deficient in the sense that what we learn is that. We need to go beyond it and to design a curriculum that will permit each society to deal with its historical hurdles. Let me give you an example. Suppose that we take a very diverse society in a diverse society. Part of the difficulty is the issue of social cohesiveness and tolerance. So naturally, we would like the education system from a very early stage to target these particular elements. Naturally, we have limited resources and we would like to target these particular elements in diverse societies. But if we focus, on the other hand, in a very homogeneous society, this will be a waste of resources. In fact, what we need in this society is to emphasize pluralism, to emphasize thinking outside of the box, to emphasize how to challenge the status quo. Well, if you think about cultural traits that we did, we discussed earlier, as we said, cultural traits largely emerge due to a deputation to the geographical surrounding. So suppose that we have some society that resided historically in a place that was not conducive for agricultural investment and did not induce people to plant and harvest. And as a result of it, those individuals historically did not learn how to delay gratification.

And again, the curriculum should focus on how to foster future oriented mindset, how to foster the ability to delay gratification. We do it in the contemporary society by, by either forcing or inducing our children to to learn how to use an instrument where naturally the return is sufficiently large and this is induces a long term orientation and we can do it in different forms. But again, this is education policy. It will be based on the history of the place. Naturally, if you live in a place where future oriented mindset was part of the heritage of the place, this would be a waste of resources. Think about gender equality, as we said earlier. There are certain regions of the world. In which Flow was used relatively early due to the suitability of the land for the use of the plant. And this ultimately generated the division of Labor, where men were engaged in agricultural production due to the physiological advantage in men in carrying this heavy clouds. Now in this type of societies. Focusing on gender equality will be instrumental. So, perhaps surprisingly, the journey of humanity, the book and the reality. Is basically suggesting to us that progressive policies such as gender equality, tolerance and diversity all the key for human prosperity. So typically when we think about progressive policies, we think about them in the context of our moral values. And I'm suggesting here that in this particular instance, in fact, the two coincide, namely those traits or those elements, those policies that are progressive and morally based are the ones that are instrumental for the prosperity of nations across the globe. Thank you very much.

Patricio Goldstein: We'll have some time for questions, I don't know if anybody has any questions or comments they would like to make. I can start by reading, if not one of the questions on the Zoom link. So. Here. So I have here a question by phone. And it says with a total knowledge of human, when the total knowledge of human race increases, it takes longer time for one person to learn enough to reach the frontline of research. The average age of Ph.D. graduates, or 30s now will be older in the future. But human lifespan does not increase this fast. As knowledge explosion for fields like physics, it's become already impossible for one person to understand the development of the whole field. Physicists today usually can only work on limited-scope problems. What's Professor Galor's perspective on the limit of humanity's technological development speed and the relation with a human bodies inherent limit?

Oded Galor: Well, thank you very much. It's fantastic question. And let me address it a little more broadly. But the question is more broadly whether there are limits to growth. Many argue that in fact, the humanities this is residing at the moment on planet Earth, resources are limited and these resources, this resource limitation is bound ultimately to restrict our ability to grow. And the way that I think about it is a little different. What we learn from human history is that many of the technologies that evolve in the course of human history could not have been anticipated decades earlier and certainly centuries earlier. And therefore, my conjecture. Educated conjecture is not necessarily empirically-based is that, in fact, what we would see in the course of human history is dramatic technological improvements that will allow us in some sense to overcome what we do find this resource-constrained for the foreseeable future. And this is related to the question it was asked here, naturally, when we think about education and technological progress and suggested, I mean, thousands of years ago, people could basically hold the world production possibility frontier in the hands, which is the Diplo and any innovation implied that each individual could make a dent in the world production possibility frontier. Whereas today, naturally, we need to commit perhaps 30 years of our time to reach the frontier and to make a dent. Now, I think that part of the advancement in technology that will occur in the course of the future will be in in allowing us to compress knowledge to learn how to basically transmit the necessary knowledge so as to reach the technological frontier. So naturally, I mean, we do not see in recent years the further and further increase in the number of years of education that are needed to reach the frontier. But if anything, I would expect that future technology will somehow be involved in assuring that knowledge can be compressed. Knowledge can be transmitted in in a much more efficient fashion. And as a result of it, despite the fact that life expectancy at the moment is not increasing, we will be able to sustain technological progress. But beyond that, I think that the change in life expectancy is behind the corner and again, it's something that is hard to anticipate. But think about it in England. Less than two hundred years ago, life expectancy was 40 in England, OK, and the first country to industrialize the most advanced society at the time. Life expectancy is about 40 and the life expectancy doubled within one hundred and seventy year period in England. So I would have to conjecture. Then we will see a dramatic increase in life expectancy and we will see a dramatic increase in the sort of in the effectiveness of life in a way that will not limit technological progress in the in the foreseeable future. Please.

Guest: Professor, I mean, you had this slide about the deep roots of of development, if we can go back to it again. Yes. Just trying to apply this to modern history, I mean, in 1979, China had one of the lowest GDP per capita in the world. China had an amazing rise and now it's the second or the first economy in the world, depending on how we measure it. How can we use this to explain the rise of China, for example, as an example?

Oded Galor: Right. So when I think that's an important question, how do we think about the rise of Europe and now the convergence of China? So. So the way that I would like you to think about it is the following. Initially, if we think about the world, say, India, one cousin, China is dominating the world, the China is sufficiently cohesive and as a result it is technologically advanced and at the same time is not suffering from internal conflict. So when we compare the European continent to to to China, the European continent is characterized by cultural fluidity. One civilization is dominating in one period and another one in another period. We see great mobility. We see fragmentation in terms of nations and ethnic groups, which we don't see in China. China is socially cohesive. China is, in fact, a quiet, homogeneous in a good sense at the time. And as a result of which China is dominating the world. But then when industrialization is looming in the horizon, in fact, this lack of diversity in China becomes a huge liability in the sense that this homogenization is ultimately preventing the implementation of advanced technologies, the adaptability to the new technological environment. China is imposing on itself a geographical isolation is less subjected to two technologies that are emerging in the frontier and are remaining behind. And consequently, we see that the culturally fluid continent Europe is taking off first, and this is associated with the rise of Europe. And then when we think about China in today's world, naturally, at a certain point, there is a decision on the part of the of the elite in China that in fact one can combine the autocracy and sort of western type style economic systems. And when this happens, then again, the cohesiveness of the Chinese society is very handy because again, they can produce very effectively, given the fact that many of these technologies where we're borrowed from from a distance. But again, if I would have to make predictions about how China will evolve, if there will be another technological shift, then again, China will lag behind due to this homogeneity and other societies that are more diverse will take off first.

Patricio Goldstein: We have a Mark Sanders here and who's asking. The fact that no crisis has yet been able to stop the march of humanity is no guarantee at all that impending crises will not do in the future. We would not be talking about the issue of Ukraine if such crises I don't have urged or developed. If the crisis spirals into nuclear conflict, we would see a crisis that threatens relentless march of civilization. Climate change as the same potential we have for the first time in history achieved the level of sophistication that can stop the march that got us there. Cannot institutions and cultural evolution move us away from this type of crises until a more sustainable path in time?

Oded Galor: Yes. So I think as they argue throughout, I mean, when we think about the process of development and we think about the fundamental ways of change, they're interacting with this important forces, some of them are institutional and cultural. And as they suggest that these are precisely the institutions that we that could generate the proper incentives for scientists to develop certain technologies that will overcome potential catastrophes in the context of climate. And this is again the power of innovation that is emerging in the context of the past of the past few centuries. And at the same time, institutions can certainly generate some, some limits to the power of autocrats and ultimately for the capricious behavior that we see in in in the context of Russia and Ukraine at the moment.

Guest: Thank you, Professor, again, for a really fantastic perspective that you shared today. I guess my question is similar to the one in China, which is trying to bring the framework to like a contemporary perspective. And I'm curious, you know, if there's any additional cases of today's societies that you think have really identified the challenges that you've described today and are making you maybe optimistic in terms of the strategies that you're pursuing in solving these deeper causes? Are there any countries that you think have somehow identified? Sorry, I was too far away. Were you able to hear most of that or no?

Oded Galor: That's a very good question, and again, I think that when we think about policymakers and policies in general, they typically tend to lag behind the frontier of research, and I think that this is not an exception. And in this respect, I think that we are still in the process of one policy that fits all societies. One type of institution is one type of cultural traits, regardless of the history that is specific to the evolution of each individual country. So I think that we see some realization. I remember a few years back I lectured at a forum of the Korean government, and I spoke about issues related to diversity, and they were very receptive to it. And to a large extent, they are considering it quite quite intensely. Do I see this policies being implemented in a significant fashion? Not yet. But as I said again, if I learn from history, it appears that policymakers will adopt this type of policies in in the near future, but not in a pronounced way at the moment. Thank you very much.

Guest: Thank you, professor. I wanted to ask about like that lately that globalization migratory flows have changed a little bit. The distribution of like diversity among black places in the world. And I just wanted to ask, have you seen evidence that places that have been like that accepted more migrants? And I mean, at the end, I take it a little bit like being more accepting to it or the other way if people or countries that were to like to play are like not accepting a lot of migrants. Is that helping them to grow better or to develop better institutions?

Oded Galor Certainly, if we think about it in the context of sort of the past 500 years. So I think that the prosperity of the United States is largely due to the fact that the diversity was created here in some sense out of the blue, in the sense that the initial population in the in the place was relatively homogeneous and ultimately diversity was introduced by different migratory streams from different corners of the world. And as I told you empirically, it appears that there was a shift in the optimal level of diversity from one that existed in the year 50 100 to the one that exists today, namely the level of diversity conducive to development moved into societies that are significantly more diverse, like the United States. So if we think about immigration policy in this context, I can certainly I mean, so naturally, when we think about immigration, part of the difficulty is that it takes migrants a certain period of time to be assimilated by the long-run benefits based on human history, pronouns and as they say, we see them, we see them in the sense that the societies that are more prosperous say in Latin America, Brazil, et cetera, a society that tend to be much more homogeneous than society is much more heterogeneous than a society like the Malaysian one or the Peruvian one.

Patricio Goldstein: Well, I wanted to think since we've run out of time, I wanted to thank Professor Galor for his wonderful presentation and I wanted to thank everyone on you for attending today's events. Please, you can go to Harvard Coop or the Harvard Bookstore or online and purchase Professor Galor's book and get to know the entire argument over our book. And again, thank you so much for the presentation. I hope to see you at the next event.