Sunday, March 23, 2008

In the pipeline- good reads on economic history

Joel Mokyr is writing two books;

The Enlightened Economy: an Economic History of Britain, 1700-1850

Neither Fluke nor Destiny: Evolutionary Models in Economic History

Iyigun gives some excerpts form the first book;

"The centrality of technology in the emergence of modern economic growth is not really contested. Growth was possible through capital accumulation, increasing trade, better internal allocations, freer markets, and improved institutions. But all of those processes would eventually run into diminishing returns. It is technology that remains at the foundation of modern economic growth... A full explanation will need to deal with both the growth of useful knowledge and with the incentives and opportunities to take full advantage of it... I [emphasize] the role played by the Enlightenment in generating this knowledge.

The European Enlightenment was a multifaceted phenomenon, much of it concerned with natural law and justice, religious and political tolerance, human rights and freedom, inequality, legal reform, and much else. At the deepest level, however, the common denominator was the belief in the possibility and desirability of human progress and perfectability through reason and knowledge. Kant’s famous suggestion for the motto of the Enlightenment as “dare to know” is particularly apposite in this context.'

On the "to be read" list

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