Monday, December 27, 2010

The history of post-neolithic humanity in 10 minutes - DeLong's annual Econ 1 post

Brad DeLong, my favorite economist, has published the latest edition of his annual Econ 1 Berkeley: September 29 2010 Economic Growth Lecture. It's his gift to the rest of us, and a fine gift it is [1]. This is why I love blogs.

In about ten minutes anyone can catch up on the most current synthesis of the past 12,000 years of human history; from the deep history of the Neolithic to modern IT and the rise of India and China. He stops just short of putting IT on the same level as the development of language -- too soon to tell.

That leaves unspoken the period from about 150,000 BCE to 10,000 BCE and especially 30,000 to 12,000 BCE. This is deep history, and 2010 has been a breathtaking exploration of the pre-neolithic. In just the last eight months we've learned we moderns are a mongrel mix of Denisovan, Neandertal and, probably a lot of other pre-neolithic human "breeds". Out of that churning mix came something astonishing, horrifying, and (we currently believe) completely new to the earth - the technocentric animal.

Exciting times.

See also:

Some of my stuff

[1] The next time I'm out SF way, I'm going to see if there's some way to sneak into a DeLong lecture. Maybe he sells tickets?

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