“How the West (and the Rest) Got Rich”

DEIRDRE N. MCCLOSKEY:

Why are we so rich? . . .

Actually, the “we” of comparative enrichment includes most countries nowadays, with sad exceptions. . . .

What caused it? The usual explanations follow ideology. . . .

Deirdre has other ideas:

The capital became productive because of ideas for betterment—ideas enacted by a country carpenter or a boy telegrapher or a teenage Seattle computer whiz. As Matt Ridley put it in his book “The Rational Optimist” (2010), what happened over the past two centuries is that “ideas started having sex.” . . .

Why did ideas so suddenly start having sex, there and then? . . .

The answer, in a word, is “liberty.” Liberated people, it turns out, are ingenious. Slaves, serfs, subordinated women, people frozen in a hierarchy of lords or bureaucrats are not.

Yes, liberty. Read the whole thing.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s