The Liberty of Progress: Increasing Returns, Institutions, and Entrepreneurship

Social Philosophy and Policy, Volume 34, Issue 2, Winter 2017, pp. 136-163

28 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2016 Last revised: 30 Apr 2018

See all articles by Peter J. Boettke

Peter J. Boettke

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Rosolino Candela

Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Date Written: September 30, 2016

Abstract

This paper argues that liberty and progress arose due to the generalized increasing returns to economic activity. These increasing returns follow from the gradual, cumulative process of institutionalizing liberties. As a society adopts an institutional framework from accumulated liberties, there is greater scope for productive specialization and social cooperation under the division of labor. Greater scope for market exchange also delivers social norms and commercial values that tolerate experimentation and innovation. Taken together, the accumulation of liberties, the institutionalization of liberty, and the generalized increasing returns to economic activity unleash the creative powers of a free civilization to deliver societies from poverty and subjugation.

Keywords: entrepreneurship, institutions, liberty, progress, economic growth

JEL Classification: A12, B52, B53

Suggested Citation

Boettke, Peter J. and Candela, Rosolino, The Liberty of Progress: Increasing Returns, Institutions, and Entrepreneurship (September 30, 2016). Social Philosophy and Policy, Volume 34, Issue 2, Winter 2017, pp. 136-163. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2787986 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2787986

Peter J. Boettke

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-1149 (Phone)
703-993-1133 (Fax)

Rosolino Candela (Contact Author)

Mercatus Center at George Mason University ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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