Technological Change, Culture, and a “Social License to Operate”

Technological change is disruptive, and in the long sweep of human history, that disruption is one of the fundamental sources of economic growth and what Deirdre McCloskey calls the Great Enrichment: In 1800 the average income per person…all over the planet was…an average of $3 a day. Imagine living in present-day Rio or Athens or … More Technological Change, Culture, and a “Social License to Operate”

Online Library of Liberty Forum on Mccloskey’s Bourgeois Era

At its Online Library of Liberty, Liberty Fund hosts a monthly “Liberty Matters” forum in which a set of scholars discusses a particular set of ideas. This month’s forum features Deirdre McCloskey‘s Bourgeois Era series of books, two of which have been published (Bourgeois Virtues, Bourgeois Dignity). McCloskey’s main argument is that the various material … More Online Library of Liberty Forum on Mccloskey’s Bourgeois Era

Bourgeois Virtues in Action

Sarah Skwire The “most modern man” in Dickens, John Wemmick from Great Expectations, makes much of the importance of separating what Deirdre McCloskey calls the P-values of prudence from the S-values of sociability.  “The office is one thing, and private life is another. When I go into the office, I leave the Castle [his home] … More Bourgeois Virtues in Action

How to Contribute to Society

A few weeks ago President Obama made his now memorable “you didn’t build that” remark. Most of the resulting political exchange has been pretty thoughtless. Extremely rare have been the thoughtful reactions. Here are two of the best. … More How to Contribute to Society

Book Review: A Genius For Money

Lynne Kiesling Today’s Wall Street Journal has a review, King of the Shopkeepers, of a new biography from Caroline Dakers. A Genius For Money tells of the rags-to-riches life of James Morrison, a Victorian innovator of retailing and banking in England. I can already tell that I am going to order the book as soon … More Book Review: A Genius For Money

Deirdre Mccloskey on Bourgeois Dignity

Lynne Kiesling For your weekend intellectual stimulation and viewing pleasure … I cannot recommend this highly enough: Deirdre McCloskey’s recent talk at George Mason University about her new self-recommending book Bourgeois Dignity, the second in what’s likely to be a 4-volume re-examination of Western economic history.  I guarantee you will learn more, and think more, … More Deirdre Mccloskey on Bourgeois Dignity

Don, Deirdre, Dignity

Lynne Kiesling As if Mike and I haven’t given you enough nudges to go read Deirdre McCloskey’s Bourgeois Dignity, here’s another one: Don Boudreaux has a lovely column in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that introduces the work via the question of whether economic incentives are sufficient to understand and explain human behavior and economic growth. What … More Don, Deirdre, Dignity

Dignity and Liberty for Ordinary People Brings Social Growth and Development

Michael Giberson At AidWatch, an interview with Dierdre McCloskey, author of Bourgeois Dignity: “Don’t be snobbish towards merchants & entrepreneurs, and you’ll develop.” Short, and to the point, so likely worth a few minutes of your time to read. Here is a shorter and even more to the point summary of her message: History shows … More Dignity and Liberty for Ordinary People Brings Social Growth and Development

A Voluntary Association Disaster Relief Update

Lynne Kiesling Think about public policy concerning disaster relief — the typical argument is that government intervention is necessary to supply affected people with food, clothing, shelter, and construction resources. One theoretical foundation of this argument is the standard public good model, which shows that profit maximizing/utility maximizing individuals will not supply the optimal amount … More A Voluntary Association Disaster Relief Update

Adam Smith Symposium: Smith As Virtue Theorist?

Lynne Kiesling Increasingly I agree with Deirdre McCloskey that over the past 120 or so years economics has moved further away from incorporation of the importance of the Bourgeois Virtues into our analyses of economic decision-making and economic growth. Indeed, I claim that ignoring the effects of virtue on individual decision-making is one of the … More Adam Smith Symposium: Smith As Virtue Theorist?