Bryan Caplan  

North on One Foot?

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Mindfulness and Mindlessness... Intellectual Arrogance...

Arnold intrigues me:

I've said before that the economics that I think gets no love is that of Douglass North, notwithstanding his Nobel Prize. One of the most interesting questions in economics is why we are so wealthy today compared to our ancestors of 200 years ago and our contemporaries in underdeveloped countries. In fact, Robert Lucas famously said that once one starts thinking about this issue, it is hard to think about anything else. And the way I see it, Douglass North has by far the most well-developed and persuasive answer.

Ayn Rand famously summarized her philosophy while standing on one foot. Arnold, would you be willing to summarize North's "well-developed and persuasive answer" under the same constraint? Anyone else?


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COMMENTS (2 to date)
Edgardo writes:

Bryan, you're right but unfair to North (not to Arnold that claims that North has an answer). It is unfair to compare a philosopher that is supposed (trained?) to give an answer while standing on one foot, with a historian or an economist that is supposed to provide a consistent explanation of a set of related facts. In the past 35 years, North's views on what he now calls "the process of economic change" have changed too much, but he is not close to have an "answer". Arnold appears to have in mind only one recent work by North (jointly with Wallis and Weingast).

Alan Iwasaki writes:

Hi Brian,

Aloha from Hawaii. Do you think voters should be able to vote on legislative issues on local, state, and federal levels? If yes, how can this be accomplished?

Alan
ps: I have a solution...

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