A Combustible Combination: McCloskey on Ideas, Institutions, and Economic Performance Through Time

Faith and Economics, vol. 68, pp. 41-45.

6 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2017 Last revised: 21 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 12, 2016

Abstract

McCloskey’s Bourgeois Equality explains the Great Enrichment of man beginning in the early 19th century as being caused by what we refer to as a “combustible combination” of ideas, institutions, and commercial practices. Economic growth for McCloskey is not just a function of the security of property rights, as her critique of Douglass North’s depiction of the Glorious Revolution indicates, but the increasing the scope of market exchange brought about by the spread of Bourgeois ideas. The ability of a society to realize the gains from productive specialization and mutually beneficial exchange, as well as the benefits of peaceful social cooperation among diverse peoples is made possible only through the adoption of ideas that legitimate and institutions that recognize the universal dignity to commercial practices such as capital accumulation, trade, and entrepreneurship.

Keywords: Deirdre McCloskey; Douglass North; institutions

JEL Classification: N20; O43; P16

Suggested Citation

Boettke, Peter J. and Candela, Rosolino, A Combustible Combination: McCloskey on Ideas, Institutions, and Economic Performance Through Time (September 12, 2016). Faith and Economics, vol. 68, pp. 41-45. . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2931885 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2931885

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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