Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The crisis and the loss of Bourgeois values

What triggered the Industrial Revolution has been the subject of debates for decades. While currently the emphasis is on the Unified Growth Theory, other interesting explanations exist. One of them is by Deirdre McCloskey, who claims that the wide adoption of Bourgeois values was critical. By that, she means that once innovators and capitalists were looked up to or were considered gentlemen, an economic transformation towards industrialization could happen.

Are there some lessons to be learned for the current economic situation? Gustavo Morles thinks that we are currently witnessing a loss of Bourgeois values, particularly in Europe where welfare states are strong and demographic shrinkage attracts people with different values. The United States are not immune, as shown by the election of Barack Obama. The consequences would be a prolonged economic crisis due, presumably, to disappearing entrepreneurship.

While there is indeed worldwide more anti-business and pro-regulation rhetoric than for a long time, I think it is too early to call this a permanent change in attitudes. And in an era so dominated by fads fed by the media, this may change as fast as it arose.

1 comment:

Kansan said...

Yesterday you bash a Nobel Prize winner, today you praise a University of Phoenix professor...