The Bourgeois Deal: Leave Me Alone, and I'll Make You Rich
48 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2018
Date Written: March 8, 2018
For almost all of history, people were extremely poor. Beginning in the seventeenth century, European countries (and their overseas extensions) began to grow extremely wealthy. Since World War II, enrichment has spread around the world with the “Asian Tigers” of Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea becoming wealthy and with Chinese and Indian per capita income growing rapidly in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Extensive research has emphasized the material and later the institutional underpinnings of economic growth, but McCloskey (2006, 2010, 2016) argues that changes in how we think, speak, and write about entrepreneurs and innovators explains what she calls the Great Enrichment. In this essay, we explore some of the “materialist” hypotheses for economic growth and explain how changing ideas about entrepreneurship led to modern prosperity.
Note: This essay is drawn from an ongoing collaborative project between Carden and McCloskey based on McCloskey’s three volumes The Bourgeois Virtues (2006), Bourgeois Dignity (2010), and Bourgeois Equality (2016). In particular, the essay is drawn specifically from Carden’s remarks to students and faculty members at Hampden-Sydney College, College of Charleston, Charleston Southern University, the Citadel, Northwood University, Hope College, Aquinas College, Spring Arbor University, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, McKendree University, the University of Central Florida, Troy University, Southern Methodist University, Ball State University, Campbell University, Mercer University, North Dakota State University, Florida State University, and conferences and seminars sponsored by the Independent Institute, the Foundation for Economic Education, Istituto Ordem Livre, and the Institute for Humane Studies. Some parts of the essay are adapted directly from McCloskey (2006, 2010, 2016).
Keywords: The Bourgeois Deal, economic growth
JEL Classification: 800
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation