Institutions for Getting Out of the Way: A Comment on McCloskey
In “Max U versus Humanomics: a Critique of Neoinstitutionalism,” Deirdre McCloskey tells us that culture matters – maybe more than do institutions – in explaining the Great Enrichment that some parts of the world have enjoyed over the past 200 years. But it is entrepreneurship, not culture or institutions, that is the proximate cause of economic growth. Entrepreneurship is not a hothouse flower that blooms only in a culture supportive of commercial activity; it is more like kudzu, which grows invasively unless it is cut back by culture and institutions. McCloskey needs to tell us more about the structure of the relationship among culture, institutions, and entrepreneurship, and thus to continue the grand project begun by Schumpeter.
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