Liberalism and the Enlightened Economy

Not one, but two separate reviews in this morning's Financial Times. Samuel Brittan has written a long review of three books about liberalism: The Neo-Liberal State by Raymond Plant; British party Politics and Ideology after New Labour edited by Simon Griffiths and Kevin Hickson; and The Science of Liberty by Timothy Ferris. No commentator is better placed than Sir Samuel to give a verdict on writings on liberalism, and the review is worthwhile even if you think you're not interested in political philosophy.

The third of these three books sounds of most interest to me. It's about the links between the scientific method and discovery and the extension of liberty. Here there's an overlap between the second FT review I want to point out, of Joel Mokyr's The Enlightened Economy, favourably reviewed by Peter Marsh. Extraordinarily, there doesn't seem to be a link to it on the FT website. Anyway, I'm about half way through the book – too big to carry on the Tube so going slowly – and it's a marvellous and serious work which all future scholars of the Industrial Revolution and the Enlightenment will have to read. I'll review it here in time. Meanwhile Peter Marsh's review might whet your appetite anyway, if you can access it.

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