Empires bought stability at the price of creating a parasitic court; monotheistic religions bought social cohesion at the expense of a parasitic priestly class; nationalism bought power at the expense of a parasitic military; socialism bought equality at the price of a parasitic bureaucracy; capitalism bought efficiency at the price of parasitic financiers.

Matt Ridley, The Rational Optimist: via NYT. He continues with the claim that economic growth has increased with society’s ability to mix and remix ideas: “The modern world is a history of ideas meeting, mixing, mating and mutating. And the reason that economic growth has accelerated so in the past two centuries is down to the fact that ideas have been mixing more than ever before.”