February 9, 2011

Deirdre McCloskey on Bourgeois Dignity

  • Deirdre McCloskey

    Distinguished Affiliated Fellow, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
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Deirdre McCloskey, distinguished Professor of Economics, History, English, and Communication at the University of Illinois, Chicago delivers a lecture on the second volume of her six part series on the bourgeoisie, “Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World.” According to McCloskey, our modern world was not the product of new markets and innovations, but rather the result of shifting opinions about them. During this time, talk of private property, commerce, and even the bourgeoisie itself radically altered, becoming far more approving and flying in the face of prejudices several millennia old. The wealth of nations, then, didn’t grow so dramatically because of economic factors: it grew because rhetoric about markets and free enterprise finally became enthusiastic and encouraging of their inherent dignity.