The Why Europe Was First Blog

Comments on McCloskey and Weingast

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I wrote this brief, 5-page, article in response to the articles by Deirdre McCloskey and Barry Weingast in the Scandinavian Economic History Review.

A few quotes:

“McCloskey is provocative to be sure, passionate as always, but also perfectly persuasive. Yet something is still missing from the analysis.”

“Barry Weingast makes this point eloquently and he too is right. Indeed, there is no contradiction here only a dogmatic refusal, on McCloskey’s part, to expand the analysis to include the blatantly obvious.”

“Instead of rejecting institutions, we need to pay more attention to them. Weingast’s suggestions provide a first step, but his perspective is needlessly constrained to “incentives” and their permutations. In a self-actualizing social ontology three sets of institutions are relevant.”

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