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From the Great Enrichment to Bettering Humanomics: An Evening with Deirdre McCloskey

January 18, 2022 at 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm EST

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Deirdre McCloskey – distinguished economist, historian and public intellectual – joins Alaka Halder, our community and friends for a very special SuperSalon on the history of human progress and the need for “humanomics.”

We will discuss McCloskey’s work, the seven bourgeois virtues that allow societies to flourish, learn from Adam Smith and David Hume, and leave with an optimistic and humanistic vision for the future of economics.

McCloskey is a Professor Emerita of six disciplines at the University of Illinois at Chicago and one of the finest scholars of economic history. Described in the Financial Times as a “truly unclassifiable scholar who has made major contributions to economic theory, history, methodology, and statistics,” she has written 25 books and over 400 academic and popular articles.

One of McCloskey’s key contributions is an explanation of the Great Enrichment since 1800, whereby the average real income per person has grown by a factor of 30 in developed countries (such as Japan, Sweden and the USA) and a factor of 10 in even the poorest (such as Chad and North Korea). “Ideas were the steam power of the Great Enrichment,” she argues, rather than oft-cited explanations such as capital accumulation, trade, and exploitation.

How did a sudden, great wave of innovation arise after 1800? McCloskey credits liberalism, the “political/social/economic idea that no adult should be a slave or a child to anyone,” a compelling narrative that is carefully examined in the Bourgeois trilogy (Bourgeois Virtues; Bourgeois Dignity; Bourgeois Equality).

McCloskey is also an astute critic of contemporary economics. Long encouraging a holistic, humanistic vision which combines the sciences and humanities (“humanomics”), she makes an elegant case in her latest book, Bettering Humanomics: A New, and Old, Approach to Economic Science (2021).


Suggested preparation

This will be a riveting, unmissable discussion! We encourage everyone to attend regardless of familiarity with McCloskey’s work. Here are a few pieces to get you started:

Image source: University of Colorado Boulder


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January 18, 2022
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm EST
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