For a century and a half, the artists and intellectuals of Europe have scorned the bourgeoisie. And for a millennium and a half, the philosophers and theologians of Europe have scorned the marketplace. The bourgeois life, capitalism, Mencken’s “booboisie” and David Brooks’s “bobos”—all have been, and still are, framed as being responsible for everything from financial to moral poverty, world wars, and spiritual desuetude. Countering these centuries of assumptions and unexamined thinking is Deirdre McCloskey’s The Bourgeois Virtues, a magnum opus that offers a radical view: capitalism is good for us.
” chief question of social sciences is answeing why our world is so very different from our ancestors”
– Make the point that the rate of life expectancy increases occured greatest % in the last 2 turning points not the original 4
– Monopolies are momentary
– It was the children of the upper classes in britiain who were the first entrepreneurs and they then allowed the standards of living to rise
along with freedoms for the lower classes to also become entrepreneurs, as they invested in them also.
– “the whig cloth merchant and politician Slingby Bethel wrote in 1680 that “England has… the advantage of all other countries… as in… breeding the
younger sons of gentlemen, and sometimes of the nobility, to the ministry, law, trade and physic, without predjudice to their gentility”
– ” A swiss traveler wrote at this time ” in England commerce is not looked down upon as a derogatory, as it is in France and Germany. Here men of good family
and even of rank may become merchants without losing caste.” He meant it literally: in France and Spain a nobleman caught engaging in commerce could be
stripped of his rank.
– ” In Thebes” wrote aristotle with evident approval, ” there used to be a law that one who had not abstained from the market for ten years could not share
– “At the time that the Earl of Orford (that is, Robert Walpole) governed Great Britain, his younger brother was no more than a lowly worker in Aleppo, Syria”