Bourgeois Dignity and Liberty: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World

Deirdre Nansen McCloskey
[forthcoming, University of Chicago Press autumn 2010]
University of Illinois at Chicago
deirdre2@uic.edu
deirdremccloskey.org
Table of Contents
  1. Front matter and Acknowledgments
  2. “The Tide of Innovation, 1700-Present” (abstract)
    1. The Industrial Revolution was a Great Tide
    2. The Tide Came from a New Dignity and a New Liberty for the Ordinary Bourgeoisie and Its Innovations
  3. “The Anti-Materialist Project of ‘The Bourgeois Era’” (abstract)
    1. Many Other Plausible Theories Don’t Work Very Well
    2. The Correct Story Praises “Capitalism”
  4. “Growth, Quality, Happiness, and the Poor” (abstract)
    1. Modern Growth was a Factor of at Least Sixteen
    2. Increasing Scope, Not Pot-of-Pleasure “Happiness,” is What Mattered
    3. And the Poor Won
  5. “Britain, China, and the Irrelevance of Stage Theories” (abstract)
    1. Britain Led
    2. But Britain’s, and Europe’s, Lead was an Episode
    3. And Followers Could Leap Over Stages
  6. “Saving, Investment, Greed, and Original Accumulation Do Not Explain Growth” (abstract)
    1. It Didn’t Happen Because of Thrift
    2. Nor Because of a Rise of Greed or of a Protestant Ethic
    3. Nor Because of Original Accumulation
  7. “Domestic Reshufflings, Such as Transport and Coal, Do Not Explain the Modern World” (abstract)
    1. Transport or Other Domestic Reshufflings Didn’t Cause It
    2. Nor Geography, nor Natural Resources
    3. Not Even Coal
  8. “Foreign Trade Was Not an Engine of Growth” (abstract)
    1. Foreign Trade was Not the Cause, Though World Prices were a Context
    2. And the Logic of Trade-as-an-Engine is Dubious
    3. And Even the Dynamic Effects of Trade were Small
  9. “Slavery and Imperialism Did Not Enrich Europe” (abstract)
    1. The Effects on Europe of the Slave Trade and British Imperialism were Smaller Still
    2. And Other Imperialisms, External or Internal, Were Equally Profitless
  10. “Commerce in Braudel and the Marxists” (abstract)
    1. It was Not the Sheer Quickening of Commerce
  11. “The Inheritance of Gregory Clark” (abstract)
    1. Eugenic Materialism Doesn’t Work
    2. Neo-Darwinism Doesn’t Compute
    3. And Inheritance Fades
  12. “The Institution of Douglass North” (abstract)
    1. Institutions Cannot be Viewed Merely as Incentive-Providing Constraints
    2. Nor Did The Glorious Revolution Initiate Private Property
    3. And So the Chronology of Property and Incentives Has Been Mismeasured
    4. And Anyway the Entire Absence of Property is not Relevant to the Place or Period
  13. “Science, Bourgeois Dignity, and the Industrial Revolution” (abstract)
    1. The Cause was Not Science
    2. But Bourgeois Dignity and Liberty Entwined with the Enlightenment
  14. “Creative Language, Creative Destruction, Creative Politics” (abstract)
    1. It was Not Allocation, but Language
    2. Dignity and Liberty for Ordinary People, in Short, were the Greatest Externalities
    3. They Warrant Not Political or Environmental Pessimism, but an Amiable Optimism
  15. The Argument of Bourgeois Dignity and Liberty: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World“: A Prècis of the Entire Book.
  16. A List of ‘Not Causes’
  17. Works Cited

11 thoughts on “Bourgeois Dignity and Liberty: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World

  1. Dear Mr. Elert:

    I got the “extraordinära ekonomiska,” which served my vanity. But can you tell me the gist of what you wrote in English?

    Sincerely,

    Deirdre

  2. Dear Deirdre,

    As a Dane I can understand what Elert is writing. He is relating the subject [of The Bourgeois Virtues] and mentioning your visit to the Mont Pelerin society and other accolades. “Extraordinara ekonomiska” refers to the economic development since 1800.

    Regards,
    Kim

  3. Dear Deirdre,
    “extraordinära ekonomiska” could have referred to your skills as well. :) What appeared as a comment on this site was actually a post on my blog linking here, whereas your comment appeared on my blog as well (very odd indeed).

    I posted a translation of the post in the comment field at my blogg prior to realizing this, you’ll find it here: http://niklaselert.wordpress.com/2010/01/11/bourgeoisiens-varderingar/#comments

    Regards
    Niklas

  4. Prudentia editors are at fault here. In response to a pingback of Mr. Elert’s post that arrived at deirdremccloskey.org, they meant to refer to Mr. Elert’s mention of the Bourgeois Era volumes in a new post but instead copied it as a comment. Prudentia apologizes to all for the confusion.

  5. Basta Niklas,

    Thanks for the translation and your praise. I dearly would like to reach my cousins in sweet Scandinavia! Regards, Deirdre

  6. My Dear Russian Commentators,

    Google Translate does not give very good texts, but so far as I can understand what you are saying (1.) Yes, innovation CAN be bad for the poor (and the rich), but in actual, historical fact it has been enormously good for the poor; (2.) there has been an explosion of Big History recently, and my book Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World is merely the last of at least a dozen in the past few years (mine, of course, is the best!)

    Regards,

    Deirdre McCloskey

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