McCloskey's Dutch Problem: Capitalist Rhetoric and the Economic History of Holland

Journal of Private Enterprise, Forthcoming

11 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2017

Date Written: January 31, 2017

Abstract

Deirdre McCloskey argues that rhetoric and ideas were essential for the rise of capitalism in the Netherlands in the seventeenth century. Dutch scholars could benefit from McCloskey’s views on the topic, but they will be reluctant to engage her work because it is void of primary research and does not engage most major works in the relevant historiography. Indeed, McCloskey appears to mostly select older English-language works sympathetic to her thesis, but ignores competing views. Contemporary scholarship, in Dutch and in English, emphasizes the important role of institutions and government actors in early Dutch capitalism. This article aims to situate McCloskey’s work within this literature, with the hope for more discussion in the field.

Keywords: Dutch, Holland, Netherlands, Institutions, Rhetoric

JEL Classification: N14, E02, P12

Suggested Citation

Douma, Michael, McCloskey's Dutch Problem: Capitalist Rhetoric and the Economic History of Holland (January 31, 2017). Journal of Private Enterprise, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2909016

Michael Douma (Contact Author)

Georgetown University ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

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