Comparative Historical Political Economy and the Bourgeois Era

Originally published in Journal of Private Enterprise

Economics, properly understood, is a dual examination of the rules and the social interaction within those rules, not the parametrization of atomistic interaction. Taken together, McCloskey's trilogy is a welcome return to comparative historical political economy, one that embraces a diversity of historical, political, and cultural contexts anchored in the universality of economic analysis. Moreover, it illustrates the importance of unpacking the relationship between ideas and institutions to explain the nature and causes of economic growth. We explore this relationship using a dual analysis of rules and of interaction within rules as discussed by Buchanan, Lachman, and Hayek to understand how ideas and institutions interact to generate the ethical underpinnings for trade, innovation, and economic growth.

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