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Post-capitalist utopia

Is the exclusive TED conference intellectual nirvana—or just a return to high school?

By Jaron Lanier   March 2009

It is strange to be an elder, a museum piece exhumed from the past, at the tender age of 48. But that’s what happened to me in early February when I went to the 25th anniversary of TED, perhaps the world’s most exclusive conference.

At $6,000, tickets to TED­—which stands for technology, entertainment and design—are surprisingly hard to come by. The event gathers some of the most clever and powerful people on the planet to give 18 minute talks on their specialism to an audience of peers. It attracts everyone from Bill Gates to Daniel Libeskind, creating a gathering comparable…

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