The Origins of Wealth and Inequality

With Oded Galor

Join us to discuss with economist Oded Galor his grand unifying theory to explain human flourishing and economic inequality. In a captivating journey from the dawn of human existence to the present, Galor offers an intriguing solution to two of humanity’s great mysteries. Why are humans the only species to have escaped (quite recently) the subsistence trap, allowing us to enjoy a standard of living that vastly exceeds all others? And why have we progressed so unequally around the world, resulting in the great disparities between nations that exist today?

Immense in scope and packed with interesting connections, Galor explains how technology, population size, and adaptation led to a stunning “phase change” in human history a mere 200 years ago. But by tracing that same journey back in time and peeling away the layers of influence—colonialism, political institutions, societal structure, culture—he also arrives at an explanation of inequality’s ultimate cause: those ancestral populations that enjoyed fruitful geographical characteristics and rich diversity were set on the path to prosperity, while those that lacked it were disadvantaged in ways still influential today.

As we face ecological crises across the globe, Galor concludes that gender equality, investment in education, and balancing diversity with social cohesion are the keys not only to our species’ thriving, but to its survival.