I'VE been blogging and writing about Deirdre McCloskey's Bourgeois Equality for the last week. It was a disappointment to me because it didn't take the argument beyond The Bourgeois Virtues and Bourgeois Dignity.
McCloskey's big idea is that the Great Enrichment of the past 200 years, from $3 per day to $100 per day, did not come from capital accumulation and/or institutions but from rhetoric. People started to dignify the occupation of trader and innovator and refrain from smothering innovations in their cradles. And the result was what we see around us.
But I wanted something more, and I didn't get it. So I blogged my complaint here and then wrote about it in today's American Thinker piece: "Attention Deirdre McCloskey."
But the McCloskey dead end forced me to think. What is it about the bourgeoisie, you and me, that McCloskey is missing? And then I got it.
The bourgeoisie is just not that interested in power.
So I wrote in the AT piece:
When you are not that interested in power, you find that the whole world opens up to you. Now the way is clear to get into “virtue” and “create a rhetoric” to “dignify” innovation and “having a go,” and watch the Great Enrichment sweep across the world. Now the way is clear to free the slaves and enfranchise the working class, and even indulge upper-class women and sexual adventurers in their shallow enthusiasms and conceits. All because you are not that interested in power.All down the ages, rulers have been obsessed with power. In Nicholas Wade's memorable words: "men like power and will seize it if they can." And so, down the ages, men have been at each others' throats, and mankind has been half throttled.
AFTER all the division and the tearing-apart of the 2016 election what happens next for conservatives and Republicans? John O'Sullivan gives us a tour d'horizon that reminds us that we are always arguing and divided. But he makes important points about the Trumpites that need to be shared. Especially the question of entitlements. Conservative writers have long pointed out that the present ...
I finally got to the end of Deirdre McCloskey's overmannered Bourgeois Equality, and then lightning struck. I just happened to stumble over a copy of Alexis de Tocqueville's The Old Regime and the French Revolution in the remainder stacks at HalfPriceBooks. For $1.00. Plus tax. OMG. Tocqueville argues that the French Revolution changed nothing in France. Really. The most famous event in ...
DEIRDRE McCloskey has finished her magnum opus Bourgeois Trilogy with Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World. And now I've finished the book, all 787 pages. Start over: Conservatism's Big Problem. I'm afraid I have a problem. What was the point of the third volume? McCloskey has said it all already. Here is how I understood her message five years ago ...
I JUST GOT my copy of Deirdre McCloskey’s new Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the Worldwhich completes her three-volume hymn to the middle class. The first thing that jumps out, in the introductory “Exordium” that tells the story so far, is this:
For reasons I do not entirely understand, the clerisy after 1848 turned towards nationalism and ...
THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM among western cultural elites is that God is dead and we are well rid of him.... more
Andrew Coulson, Market Education
How universal literacy was achieved before government education
Carl Kaestle, Pillars of the Republic
How we got our education system
James Tooley, Reclaiming Education
How only a market in education will provide opportunity for the poor
James Tooley, The Miseducation of Women
How the feminists wrecked education for boys and for girls
E.G. West, Education and the State
How education was doing fine before the government muscled in
Hernando De Soto, The Mystery of Capital
How ordinary people in the United States wrote the law during the 19th century
F. A. Hayek, Law Legislation and Liberty, Vol 1
How to build a society based upon law
Henry Maine, Ancient Law
How the movement of progressive peoples is from status to contract
John Zane, The Story of Law
How law developed from early times down to the present
James Bartholomew, The Welfare State We're In
How the welfare state makes crime, education, families, and health care worse.
David Beito, From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State
How ordinary people built a sturdy social safety net in the 19th century
David Green, Before Beveridge: Welfare Before the Welfare State
How ordinary people built themselves a sturdy safety net before the welfare state
Theda Skocpol, Diminished Democracy
How the US used to thrive under membership associations and could do again
David Stevenson, The Origins of Freemasonry
How modern freemasonry got started in Scotland
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing
How Christianity is booming in China
Finke & Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990
How the United States grew into a religious nation
Robert William Fogel, The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism
How progressives must act fast if they want to save the welfare state
David Martin, Pentecostalism: The World Their Parish
How Pentecostalism is spreading across the world
Work to restore the Road to the Middle Class. Heres how. Ground it in faith. Grade it with education. Protect it with mutual aid. Defend it with the law. more>>
The Road to the Middle Class is a journey from a world of power to a world of trust and love. In religion, it is a journey from power gods that respond to sacrifice and augury to the God who makes a covenant with mankind. In education, it is a journey from the world of the spoken word to the world of the written word. In community, it is the journey from dependence on blood kin and upon clientage under a great lord to the mutual aid and the rules of the self-governing fraternal association. In law it is the journey from the violence of force and feud to the kingŽs peace, the law of contract, and private property.
The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness...
But to make a man act [he must have]
the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove
or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action
But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie
that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison
At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing
[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm
Civil Societya complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churchesbuilds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust
In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, The Scientist as Rebel
Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says we should....
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity