North’s Underdeveloped Ideological Entrepreneur
Annual Proceedings of the Wealth and Well-Being of Nations, Vol. 1, 2008-2009
17 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2011
Date Written: January 1, 2008
For North, the "intellectual entrepreneurs of ideology" or "ideological entrepreneurs" can and often do play a key role in ideological change. Although ideological entrepreneurs play such a key role in bringing about ideological and, so, institutional change, Douglas North does not devote a lot of attention to them. He never, in fact, presents a systematic treatment of his ideological Entrepreneur. We are left to guess if and how far his ideological entrepreneur can break a society out of path dependency. We are left to guess if his entrepreneur is a creative agent who brings about the creative destruction of ideologies, an individual who is alert to opportunities for ideological change and works to exploit those opportunities, or someone who automatically responds to relative price changes. Unfortunately, North often describes (ideological and other) entrepreneurs as if they are automatons. Arguably, North’s ideological entrepreneur remains underdeveloped because although North’s institutional economics is an improvement over neoclassical economics, particularly its introduction of ideological considerations, it nonetheless does not break free of it.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation