The concluding paragraphs of Deirdre McCloskey’s Bourgeois Dignity- Why Economics Can’t Explain The Modern World:
Yet innovation, even in a proper system of the virtues, has continued to be scorned by many of our opinion makers now for a century and a half, from Thomas Carlyle to Naomi Klein. At the behest of such a clerisy we can if we wish repeat the nationalist and socialist horrors of the mid-twentieth century. If we imagine only the disruptions of a pastoral ideal, and reject the gains from innovation, we can stay poor shepherds and dirt farmers, with little scope for intellectual and spiritual growth. If we worship hierarchy and violence and the nation, we can hand our lives over to the military-industrial industrial complex. If we abandon economic principles in our worrying about the environment, we can revert to $3 a day, and live in huts on a hillock in the woods by Walden Pond, depending on our friends in town to supply us with nails and books. Now in the early twenty-first century we can even if we wish add for good measure an anti-bourgeois religiosity, as new as airplanes crashing into the World Trade Center and as old as the socialist reading of the Sermon on the Mount.
But I suggest that we don’t. I suggest instead that we recoup the bourgeois virtues, which have given us the scope, in von Humboldt’s words, to develop the highest and most harmonious of our powers to a complete and consistent tent whole. We will need to abandon the materialist premise that reshuffling and efficiency, or an exploitation of the poor, made the modern world. And we will need to make a new science of history and the economy, a humanistic one that honors number and word, interest and rhetoric, behavior and meaning.
Deirdre N. McCloskey. Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World (Kindle Locations 6041-6050). Kindle Edition.
Ms. McCloskey brings a new perspective to economics and economic history. She advocates that the math of economics be tempered with the study of the humanities to understand the development on the modern world. Her book brings history, religion, rhetoric and literature to bear on our most critical questions.