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 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,
"A big change in the common opinion about markets an ...more
Her actual argumentation is a mess. What she's actually engaged in an apologetic *for* seems to be an unstable amalgamation of everything she has an aesthetic affinity for, and varies from place to place in the book. But for the most part the view of the world she's advancing is roughly that of Postrel's Enemies of the F ...more
"[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 ...more
Since most people only live a few ...more
The narrow argument of the book is, one the one hand, as simple as stated above. But, on the other hand, the b ...more
Her big insight is that none of the traditional explanations for the industrial revolut ...more
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 factor ...more
McCloskey still spends rather too much time refuting authors who've criticized her in the past, when probably most readers aren't in agreement with her critics, or aren't familiar with them. And near the end, she commits the basic fallacy of singing too-high praises of European welfare states without examination of the much-higher costs of living they create... nor of the impact to innovation, which is the primary theme of this book! St ...more
What are the proximal and ultimate causes of the explosive growth in human flourishing and prosperity over the last 200 years that is unequivocally unique in thousands of years of human history? This is a question moderns debate almost as much as "What is the meaning of life?", and "Does God exist?" Antecedents and plausible explanations abounded for thousands of years. McCloskey asserts bourgeois dignity is the ultimate cause, and Cl ...more
Her premise, that we overlook a shift in rhetoric around what we value and respect in society, and that enabled vocational and material changes seen in the industrial revolution, is unique and interesting. She also has a multi-subject expertise to draw on, make parallels of seemingl ...more
The book's narrative is too unfocused and every chapter (and there is a lot of them) gets long-winded. Much more of the content should be in footnotes.
Although I am sympathetic to get thesis, I cannot recommend this book, in it's current verbosity. Read "Why liberalism works" instead. ...more
[Imported automatically from my blog. Some formatting there may not have translated here.]
The subtitle is: "Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World". It is the second volume in Deirdre McCloskey's exploration of how the bourgeois mindset caused the miracle of prosperity that has lifted much of the world out of abject poverty, and can do the same for many more, if we let it. My report on the first volume in the series is here.
The emphasis here is on varying explanations for the "astonishi...more
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 time.'
Read th ...more
Also, listing among the reasons that science couldn't have been responsible for development s ...more