Liberalism, Not Capital or Exploitation, Made Us Rich

Lecture Center for Global Humanities Lecture/Seminar Series

Deirdre Nansen McCloskey

Since the 1800s, a “Great Enrichment” has occurred, dramatically raising human standards of living and life expectancy across the globe. Some would attribute this happy development to the spread of free market capitalism, while others would point to our exploitation of the world’s natural resources. But such reductive conclusions are misguided. The true force behind these strides has been the human creativity unleashed by the spreading of liberty and individual dignity. This rising equality has unleashed our human creativity, resulting in one betterment after another.

Biography

Deirdre Nansen McCloskey has been since 2000 UIC Distinguished Professor of Economics, History, English, and Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Trained at Harvard as an economist, she has written sixteen books and edited seven more, and has published some three hundred and sixty articles on economic theory, economic history, philosophy, rhetoric, feminism, ethics, and law. She taught for twelve years in Economics at the University of Chicago, and describes herself now as a "postmodern free-market quantitative Episcopalian feminist Aristotelian." Her latest books are How to be Human* *Though an Economist (University of Michigan Press 2001), Measurement and Meaning in Economics (S. Ziliak, ed.; Edward Elgar 2001), The Secret Sins of Economics (Prickly Paradigm Pamphlets, U. of Chicago Press, 2002), The Cult of Statistical Significance: How the Standard Error Costs Us Jobs, Justice, and Lives [with Stephen Ziliak; University of Michigan Press, 2008], The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Capitalism (U. of Chicago Press, 2006), Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World (U. of Chicago Press, 2010), and Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World (U. of Chicago Press, 2016). Before The Bourgeois Virtues, her best-known books were The Rhetoric of Economics (University of Wisconsin Press, 1st ed. 1985, 2nd ed. 1998) and Crossing: A Memoir (U. of Chicago Press, 1999), which was a New York Times Notable Book.

Her scientific work has been on economic history, especially British. Her recent book Bourgeois Equality is a study of Dutch and British economic and social history. She has written on British economic "failure" in the 19th century, trade and growth in the 19th century, open field agriculture in the middle ages, the Gold Standard, and the Industrial Revolution.

Her philosophical books include The Rhetoric of Economics (University of Wisconsin Press 1st ed. 1985; 2nd ed. 1998), If You're So Smart: The Narrative of Economic Expertise (University of Chicago Press 1990), and Knowledge and Persuasion in Economics (Cambridge 1994). They concern the maladies of social scientific positivism, the epistemological limits of a future social science, and the promise of a rhetorically sophisticated philosophy of science. In her later work, she has turned to ethics and to a philosophical-historical apology for modern economies.

Address

WCHP Lecture Hall in Parker Pavilion
716 Stevens Avenue
Portland, ME 04103

Reception

5 p.m. in the UNE Art Gallery (Portland Campus)

Contact

cgh@une.edu

(207) 221-4435

Liberalism, Not Capital or Exploitation, Made Us Rich Lecture Poster

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Feb252019
6:00 PM
WCHP Lecture Hall in Parker Pavilion

Portland Campus

Free and open to the public