Monday, October 08, 2007

A new theory of history

This looks interesting.


Blogger Scantron said...

Yes, this is getting talked up a lot at Stanford (both North and Weingast are at Hoover). I just read North's "Structure and Change in Economic History" (1981) so it'll be interesting to see if any of his views have changed in 26 years, and also what Weingast has contributed.

It's interesting to read that North now thinks societies can be divided into "natural" and "open-access order" states, and that the former are still in existence in most of the world. North previously has written that there have been two economic revolutions, so to speak, one 10,000 years ago which caused human beings to switch from hunting/gathering to agriculture, and then a second that created commodity markets, specialization, etc. (This latter revolution considerably preceded what we now term the "industrial revolution.") If most of the world hasn't even reached a stage that Europe reached in the late middle ages, that's pretty damn sad (also might say something about the authors' views).

North is your go-to guy for neoclassical economic history, but he's at least got a pretty good story for the role of ideology, which a lot of people lack. I'd like to see if that's changed at all. Still, he's definitely an "economics" first kinda dude (which ultimately means, "markets and property rights") and I've often worried that he's too sanguine about the economic future, at the expense of thinking about democracy and equity.

7:21 PM  
Blogger John Liberty said...

i have been talking about this for years on this blog. look up my posts with the word logic.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Austin 5-000 said...

I can't find anything, Liberty. Link?

10:47 PM  

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