Was the Industrial Revolution caused by Bourgeois Dignity or Institutional Change?

Most of Deidre McCloskey’s important new book serves to establish that if we want to explain the industrial revolution we need to explain why so much innovation occurred in England from the late 18th century and through the 19th century. She suggests that we should dismiss attempts to explain the industrial revolution in terms . . . → Read More: Was the Industrial Revolution caused by Bourgeois Dignity or Institutional Change?

Does Big Government Result in More Housework?

I found this to be the most interesting question explored in ‘Government Size and Implications for Economic Growth’, by Andreas Bergh and Magnus Henrekson. Before I explain, however, I want to provide some comments on the author’s conclusions about the effects of size of government on economic growth.

Bergh and Henrekson base their . . . → Read More: Does Big Government Result in More Housework?

Can the Industrial Revolution be Attributed to Economic Freedom?

Before reading Eric Jones book, ‘Locating the Industrial Revolution’, I had thought that the reasons why the industrial revolution began when and where it did would have a lot to do with relative levels of economic freedom in England in the 18th and 19th centuries. The book seems to me to reinforce that . . . → Read More: Can the Industrial Revolution be Attributed to Economic Freedom?

Is Progress History?

Over the past year I have read five or six books about progress. Matt Ridley’s book, ‘The Rational Optimist’ (discussed here and here) was the most optimistic. Ronald Wright’s book, ‘A short history of progress’, is probably the most pessimistic.

Wright’s book has the virtue of being short and easy to read. His message . . . → Read More: Is Progress History?

Can Progress be Attributed to Exchange and Specialization?

Somewhere in Africa more than 100,000 years ago, a phenomenon new to the planet was born. A Species began to add to its habits, generation by generation, without (much) changing its genes. What made this possible was exchange, the swapping of things and services between individuals. That gave the Species an external, collective intelligence . . . → Read More: Can Progress be Attributed to Exchange and Specialization?

Secrets of the Moneylab

Kay-Yut Chen and Marina Krakovsky have earned their colours as behavioural economists at Hewlett Packard in the HP Labs and in in their new book Secrets of the Moneylab they present the gist of their research over the past 20 years. The book is a run-through of the most salient aspects of behavioural . . . → Read More: Secrets of the Moneylab

Fault Lines, by Raghuram Rajan

Raghuram Rajan’s book Fault Lines (Princeton University Press for the international edition, and Harper Collins for an Indian edition with a special chapter on India) is possibly the most thought-provoking contribution in the aftermath of the economic and financial crisis that has engulfed the West after 2007 with significant global repercussions.

The epilogue of . . . → Read More: Fault Lines, by Raghuram Rajan

Is There a Crisis of Capitalist Democracy?

Richard Posner’s recent book, ‘The Crisis of Capitalist Democracy’, is mainly about the global financial crisis, how it came about in the US, the lessons that the author thinks we should have learned from it and what governments should do to prevent similar crises in future. According to this distinguished author the crisis came about . . . → Read More: Is There a Crisis of Capitalist Democracy?

Should We Welcome Globalization or Fear It?

Having just finished reading Gregg Easterbrook’s new book, ‘Sonic Boom’, I think he would say that we should welcome globalization. He sees fantastic potential for social progress, but improved living standards are likely to be ‘wrapped with ribbons of stress, anxiety and dissatisfaction (p.34). His bottom line seems to be that globalization is inevitable . . . → Read More: Should We Welcome Globalization or Fear It?

¡Nuevo! Read Reed Hundt’s book, “In China’s Shadow”

If you want to understand Democrat fantasies in the absence of financial constraint or common sense, read Reed Hundt’s book, “In China’s Shadow.” Reed Hundt is a permanent member of the American politcal class, a Yalie, a partner in a high-powered law firm, head of Bill Clinton’s FCC, and a member of Barack Obama’s . . . → Read More: ¡Nuevo! Read Reed Hundt’s book, “In China’s Shadow”