[forthcoming, University of Chicago Press autumn 2010]
University of Illinois at Chicago
In The Bourgeois Virtues (2006) I thanked some of the many people and institutions to be blamed for pushing my thoughts along. (I myself am blameless — for it is the Voice of History which speaks through me.) By way of additional thanks: The Economic History Workshop at Northwestern University heard a version of the first few chapters of the present book in March of 2008, and gave me much good advice. The brown-bag workshop in my beloved Department of History at the University of Illinois at Chicago has heard an outline of the argument twice. My beloved old creation at the University of Iowa, the Project on Rhetoric of Inquiry, has heard it once. The Center for Population Economics at the Booth School of Business of my beloved University of Chicago heard a later version in February 2009. Parts of Chapters 5 and 7 on productivity change in Britain derive ultimately from my contributions to Roderick Floud and myself, editors, The Economic History of Britain, in the editions of 1981 and 1994. I thank Roderick for his encouragement at the time, and lament the shocking breakdown of our friendship. Parts of Chapters 10, 11, and 12 on thrift appeared in Josh Yates, ed., Thrift and American Culture, Columbia University Press (2009), and in Revue de Philosophie Ã‰conomique (2007). Parts of 19 and 20 on imperialism appeared in the South African Journal of Economic History in 2006, much of Chapters 22, 23, and 24 on eugenic materialism in the European Economic History Review (2008) and theNewsletter of the Cliometric Society (2008). Early versions of the entire argument appeared in The American Scholar (1994a) and the Journal of Economic History (1998a). A seminar at the Institute for Historical Research in London, hosted by my old friend Negley Harte, was especially inspiriting.
I thank Beth Marston for her exceptional research assistance in the summer of 2008, with books and especially with computers. Perhaps, too, having mentioned computers, this is the place to thank the sober and unselfish Project Gutenberg, the bourgeois but (we pray) non-monopolizing Google, Inc., and the disreputably democratic, quirkily anarchic, and therefore sometimes mistaken, but nonetheless very helpful Wikipedia. “The electronic word” (as Richard Lanham puts it) is transforming scholarship as it is transforming much of life.1 It is a case of creative construction and destruction. I cannot thank the Internet itself, because it is a spontaneous order arising from innovative and bourgeois people, and has no nameable entrepreneur or bureaucrat to thank. But come to think of it the electronic words fashioned inside the virtual halls of Gutenberg, Google, and Wiki also depend largely on spontaneous orders and bourgeois creativity — which is the point of this book.
Anthony Waterman of St. John’s College of the University of Manitoba, a long-distance friend, read the manuscript with care and saved me from numerous intellectual catastrophes. I thank the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, and especially Bernard Lategan and Stanislav du Plessis, for arranging for me a calm period in South Africa in May of 2008 to work on the manuscript. The College of Liberal Arts of the University of Illinois at Chicago under deans Stanley Fish and Dwight McBride has been very helpful. My thanks therefore go to them, and to the taxpayers of Illinois and the tuition-paying students of UIC who made their work possible. When Antoine Lavoisier, the theorist of oxygen and nitrogen, a nobleman (you can check it on Wikipedia), was to be executed in the Terror, he is said to have protested that he was a scientist. According to the story the arresting officer was unmoved: “The Republic has no need of scientists.” Our republic, fortunately, has seen the need. And I thank my students, whether or not tuition-paying, in various courses on the subject during the 1990s and 2000s, at UIC and at the University of Iowa and Erasmus University of Rotterdam and the University of the Free State in South Africa. Teaching and writing suit each other. The Continental research institute with no teaching — though it sounds at first like a scholar’s paradise — seems a poor plan.
I thank especially the participants in a small conference about an embarrassingly confused amalgam of this second volume and the third and fourth soon forthcoming (The Bourgeois Revaluation and Bourgeois Rhetoric), which took place in January 2008 at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. The participants were Paul Dragos Aligica, Gregory Clark, Henry Clark, Jan de Vries, Pamela Edwards, Jack Goldstone, Thomas Haskell, Leonard Liggio, Allan Megill, John Nye, Alan Ryan, Virgil Storr, Scott Taylor, and Werner Troesken, with redoubled thanks to the organizers Claire Morgan and Rob Herritt. It was inspiriting to have so many fine scholars, a number of them dear friends, encouraging me and correcting me and instructing me. Think where a woman’s glory most begins and ends/ And say her glory was: she had such friends.