Joel Mokyr: The Enlightened Economy

This morning The Wall Street Journal ran a very positive review of Joel Mokyr’s “The Enlightened Economy”, a wedding of economics and intellectual history that examines the “Industrial Enlightenment” of 17th century Britain. Reviewer Trevor Butterworth applauds Mokyr’s book for its “densely packed but gratifyingly lucid prose” in explaining Britain’s economic exceptionalism: a product of rapid technological development prodded and manipulated by a host of classical liberal ideas.

“It is impossible to do justice,” Butterworth concludes, “to
the subtlety and detail of “The Enlightened Economy”; it is the
product of a lifetime of research and thought, and stands as a landmark work of
history; but more to the point, its perceptive examination of the birth of
economic prosperity holds many arresting insights for our fraught economic
times, where freedom is increasingly associated with government regulation and
politicians appear all too-willing to accommodate new varieties of rent seeking.” Both as an innovative work of intellectual history and a relevant work of economic criticism, Moky’rs “Enlightened Economy” is a must-read for anyone interested in the roots of industrial capitalism, as well as the future of modern economics.

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