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Books > Business & Money > Economics > Economic History > 0226556743
  1. Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World
    Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World
    Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World
    Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World
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  2. Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World

    [0226556743]
    Delivery: 10-20 Working Days
    Customer Ratings (24 reviews)
    Price R806.00

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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, and a whole lot more 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 more 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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Specifications

Country
USA
Author
Deirdre N. McCloskey
Binding
Paperback
EAN
9780226556741
ISBN
0226556743
IsEligibleForTradeIn
1
Label
University Of Chicago Press
Manufacturer
University Of Chicago Press
NumberOfItems
1
NumberOfPages
592
PublicationDate
2011-11-15
Publisher
University Of Chicago Press
SKU
0226556743
Studio
University Of Chicago Press
Most Helpful Customer Reviews

We in the Western World tend to take our present day wealth for granted, very much like an entitlement. And McCloskey makes clear just how very rich in real terms we are relative to most human kinds history. We don't stop to ask the logical follow-up question: Why are other societies - such as in Africa and South America - still so poor?

McCloskey's answer is that it is simple: (1)Give the "bourgeoisie" respect; and (2)give these same bourgeosie freedom. It is, according to this very mainline economic historian, THAT simple. It is the path that countries such as South Korea and China have successfully followed to achieve the same wealth and prosperity in little more than a generation.

McCloskey considers - and discards - alternative explanations for what economic historians describe as "The Great Fact." Explantions such as "colonial exploitation," Max Weber's Protestant work ethic, and the "Guns, Germs and Steel" advantage that European nations had over the rest... Read more
Foremost, Bourgeois Dignity is to be recommended because it offers an abundance of economic insights. Professor McCloskey deserves the highest praise for emphasizing the hugely important, predominant role of ideology and innovation in the unprecedented improvement in the standard of living since the close of eighteenth century.

Ultimately, however, Bourgeois Dignity fails to prove that what McCloskey terms "bourgeois dignity and liberty" are, to the virtual exclusion of every other factor, responsible for this economic revolution.

One problem is semantics. It seems that, in "bourgeois dignity and liberty", McCloskey means an ideology that promotes and rewards (materially and psychically) commerce and innovation. Fair enough, but McCloskey's choice of the word "dignity" is highly problematic.

In one historical meaning, in the sense of "being dignified", having dignity meant being worthy of honor, being illustrious, being highly esteemed. One was... Read more
McCloskey's primary idea in this book is that the explosion in wealth creation that started somewhere around 1800 is due to a changing attitude towards making money; it became cool ("dignified") to make money instead of vulgar, unclean, unholy, etc. She argues this forcefully and completely enough that it seems plausible that she's right and I found it convincing that the change in attitude was at least a factor in the extraordinary explosion of innovation and wealth.

While the ideas and content are excellent, I found the writing painful to read. It could've been written in one-third as many pages without skipping any content whatsoever. After a few hundred pages, it was hard to not start skimming.

I'd love for these ideas to be read by as many people as possible, but I wouldn't want to put anybody through the pain of reading this book. If you have a lot of time and want to read an interesting perspective on economic history, then I recommend buying and at... Read more
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