I’ve nearly finished reading Deirdre McCloskey’s Bourgeois Equality: How ideas, not capital or institutions, enriched the world – it’s out next month and I will be reviewing it elsewhere. This is of course the latest in her grand project, The Bourgeois Era, the first two being The Bourgeois Virtues and Bourgeois Dignity. (I reviewed the latter in The New Statesman at the time.) McCloskey originally planned six volumes, but it seems three might now be the total. As each is over 600 pages long, this is already quite a lot.
Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce
Anyway, this isn’t a spoiler – I’ll save up my thoughts on Bourgeois Equality. But reading it set me thinking about what other books one ought to have read to evaluate properly this series about the history and dynamics of capitalism (although McCloskey doesn’t like the word). These are the ones that came to mind first – and clearly this is a question that inspires BIG books.
David Landes, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations.
Kenneth Pomeranz, The Great Divergence The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World)
Joel Mokyr, The Lever of Riches; The Gifts of Athena; The Enlightened Economy
The Enlightened Economy: Britain and the Industrial Revolution, 1700-1850 The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress The Gifts of Athena: Historical Origins of the Knowledge Economy
Robert Allen, The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective
Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel
Ian Morris, Why the West Rules – For Now
Acemoglu and Robinson, Why Nations Fail
Douglass North, The Rise of the Western World The Rise of the Western World: A New Economic History by North, Douglass C. Published by Cambridge University Press (1976) Paperback
Joseph Tainter, The Collapse of Complex Societies
I’m sure there are tons more – McCloskey’s bibliography alone is 50 pages long. But anything essential left off this list?