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Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World

Bourgeois Dignity Why Economics Can t Explain the Modern World The big economic story of our times is not the Great Recession It is how China and India began to embrace neoliberal ideas of economics and attributed a sense of dignity and liberty to the bourgeoisie

  • Title: Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World
  • Author: Deirdre N. McCloskey
  • ISBN: 9780226556659
  • Page: 389
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The big economic story of our times is not the Great Recession It is how China and India began to embrace neoliberal ideas of economics and attributed a sense of dignity and liberty to the bourgeoisie they had denied for so long The result was an explosion in economic growth and proof that economic change depends less on foreign trade, investment, or material causes, anThe big economic story of our times is not the Great Recession It is how China and India began to embrace neoliberal ideas of economics and attributed a sense of dignity and liberty to the bourgeoisie they had denied for so long The result was an explosion in economic growth and proof that economic change depends less on foreign trade, investment, or material causes, and a whole lot on ideas and what people believe.Or so says Deirdre N McCloskey in Bourgeois Dignity, a fiercely contrarian history that wages a similar argument about economics in the West Here she turns her attention to seventeenth and eighteenth century Europe to reconsider the birth of the industrial revolution and the rise of capitalism According to McCloskey, our modern world was not the product of new markets and innovations, but rather the result of shifting opinions about them During this time, talk of private property, commerce, and even the bourgeoisie itself radically altered, becoming far approving and flying in the face of prejudices several millennia old The wealth of nations, then, didn t grow so dramatically because of economic factors it grew because rhetoric about markets and free enterprise finally became enthusiastic and encouraging of their inherent dignity.An utterly fascinating sequel to her critically acclaimed book The Bourgeois Virtues, Bourgeois Dignity is a feast of intellectual riches from one of our most spirited and ambitious historians a work that will forever change our understanding of how the power of persuasion shapes our economic lives.

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      Published :2018-08-02T07:35:39+00:00

    1 thought on “Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World

    1. My ancestors were illiterate peasants living in their own filth. But that’s okay – so were yours, and you probably don’t have to go back very far to find them (mine crawled out of the rural idiocy of the Scottish Highlands a mere six or seven generations ago). Unless you happen to be reading this in, say, sub-Saharan Africa, you are enormously, fantastically richer than your great-great-grandparents ever dreamed of being. Even if your Visa card is maxed out and your ’92 Honda Accord is e [...]

    2. Interesting Quotes:"[T]he modern world arose out of an entirely new 'ideology.' Or, equivalently, it arose out of an entirely new social 'rhetoric'--an older term meaning about the same thing. For example, the word 'honest' in Shakespeare's time, as you can see in dictionaries of Shakespearean English or by searching the texts of the plays, was understood mainly as 'noble' (that is, honorable in an aristocratic way, achieved in battle or at court: 'Honest, honest Iago'). Its rhetoric changed rad [...]

    3. This is a work of economic history. That's not a topic that I would usually interest myself in, but I heard the author speaking on the radio and I was impressed. The question this book seeks to answer, apparently a perennial one for economic historians, is why did the Industrial Revolution occur when and where it did, and not somewhere else and at another time? The answer, it is asserted, is pretty simple, but all the economists have missed it:"A big change in the common opinion about markets an [...]

    4. I believe Deirdre McCloskey has unlocked the secret to why we are so wealthy today. Most people, and apparently all politicians, walk around believing there is something fundamentally wrong with the world and that money is a big part of the problem. Somehow things just aren't right and what we really need to do is reshuffle the deck and spread the wealth "fairly." Strangely, "fairness" seems to coincide with helping this or that politician win the next election.Since most people only live a few [...]

    5. Brilliant and worldview-changing. McCloskey surveys all the leading explanations for the Industrial Revolution (institutions, trade, science) and finds them wanting. Her preferred answer is a "bourgeois revaluation" that exalted peaceful commerce and innovation as opposed to the old ways of getting honor through war and conquest.

    6. This is the second volume in yet unfinished multi-volume magnum opus regarding history of economic development. The first volume, bourgeois virtues was about how, according to the author change in rhetoric and attitudes created the current world as we know it.The second volume starts with giving a general overview why the growth is so important – chiefly the problem that throughout the human history most people lived at $3 per day (comparative prices of course), but now the average is the fact [...]

    7. An excellent book. McCloskey adopts a non-reductionist approach to the 'great fact,' the explosion in personal wealth and luxury in many parts of the world over the last 200 years. She sets herself up as a champion of the bourgeoisie (a position most wouldnt apply for) and sets herself against communitarian ideals. The most impressive aspect of the book is the broad range of scholarship McCloskey can call on to refute many of the myths surrounding theories of economic growth. She also writes wit [...]

    8. Wow, excellent academic approach explaining away most economic theory of explosive growth 1830 - 2000. Innovation and respect for bourgeois values, dignity and liberty. Beyond economic prudence of capitalism are drivers fueled by Hope, Justice, Faith, Courage, etc. Combing the middle class story of valued individual innovation with econometric functions.

    9. McCloskey offers an invaluable contribution to the quest to understand the causes of what she calls the Great Enrichment, that explosion in human capabilities that has been ongoing since ~1800 or so. The book is in its bulk critical of the other theses that have been suggested by other scholars. Her own theory is unique in that it is resolutely non-materialistic. Ideas matter. Art, literature, etc, but especially ethics and our conversation around these ideas all matter as much as the underlying [...]

    10. 'McCloskey’s learning is prodigious—ranging across history, literature, and economics—though always lightly worn. She writes chattily, if at times a bit obsessively, and has a great professor’s ability to make the complex accessible. Bourgeois Dignity, like its predecessor The Bourgeois Virtues, is a tour de force. If the four subsequent volumes are on this level, “The Bourgeois Era,” as her series is named, will stand as one of the great achievements in intellectual history of our t [...]

    11. I was hoping for a book on how people started to respect commerce and how it might have contributed to western economic development. Instead I mostly just got a very unpersuasive attack on competing theories. I spent the book trying to figure out what exactly the difference between her theory and the "Institutions" theory of development was, and didn't find anything in the book to let me figure that out.Also, listing among the reasons that science couldn't have been responsible for development s [...]

    12. A brilliantly-written culmination of a lifetime researching and critically thinking about why the Industrial Revolution happened. Information contained in ten-page chapters were superior to entire books or even semester-long college courses. This is a must read for anyone who majored in a liberal arts discipline who wants their perspective about the nature of modernity expanded beyond the constraints in their thinking (absorbed unawares) by socialists, neoliberals, conservatives, economists, sci [...]

    13. Although I dislike McCloskey's rather weird and confused methodological writings, here, where she does not try to philosophize too much, she does a pretty good job. The book illustrates the crucial role played in the economic development by ideology and its change, the Burgeois Revaluation, that started the Industrial Revolution. McCloskey's attempt to disprove all competing theories, especially the materialist ones, is persuasive and well written, although a little repetitive at times. Perhaps [...]

    14. This is her second volume of six planned on how bourgeois ideas caused the 15x (at least) growth in societal wealth after the 16th century. She argues it was only after merchants and commerce came to be viewed with dignity and respect in the Netherlands, and then Britain, Scotland, the U.S. and later France and Germany, and were given the freedom to innovate and trade, that the world experienced the unprecedented economic growth and improvement in human condition that we enjoy now.

    15. I found this book basically unreadable. The author can't stay on a single thought without an endless mess of self-glorifying asides. The premise is interesting -- that wealth is basically about knowledge, not about the accumulation of physical capital or global knowledge. But the author doesn't really stay on the point.

    16. Not really finished, because I dipped and skipped my way through all the economics and quite a few of the pages: McCloskey has a lot to say and says it with a lot of beautifully-crafted words. I did find the book thought-provoking and enlightening and have no doubt that traditional economists consider her a complete iconoclast.

    17. Why after tens of thousands of years did England and latter much of the world escape the Malthusian trap? This book is a 500+ debate on the issue, very stimulating.

    18. An excellent and enlightening analysis of the reasons why mankind has made so much progress in the last couple of hundred years in comparison to the rest of history. A little tedious to read though.

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