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A Culture of Growth: The Origins of the Modern Economy

A Culture of Growth: The Origins of the Modern Economy

By Joel Mokyr

Princeton University Press, 2016, 407 pp.

For most of human history, poverty and stagnation were the norm. In 1800, according to an estimate by the economist Deirdre McCloskey, the real income per capita of the average person on the planet was roughly equal to that of people in present-day Afghanistan. Sustained economic growth and technological dynamism, meanwhile, were quite unusual. Yet beginning with Great Britain in the late eighteenth century, parts of the world—primarily but not exclusively in the West—came to see growth as the default condition. Today the word as a whole is some ten times, and the United States some fifty times, richer

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  • PEER VRIES is an Honorary Fellow at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam and author of State, Economy, and the Great Divergence.
  • More By Peer Vries