Journal of Evolutionary Economics

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 57–68 | Cite as

It was ideas and ideologies, not interests or institutions, which changed in Northwestern Europe, 1600–1848

  • Deirdre Nansen McCloskeyEmail author
Regular Article


The economic history on which recent economics has been based is erroneous, based on the Marx and Engels of 1848. What actually happened, 1517-1789, in northwestern Europe was the coming, as Schumpeter put it, of a busiess-0respecting civilization. Ideas mattered as much as, and often more than, material or institutional circumstances, such as property law or coal deposits or exploitation. The interest-only theories of Steven Cheung and Douglass North don’t work. We need a “humanomics,” whose killer app is a new and verified theory of how we became rich.


Schumpeter Acemoglu North Cheung Humanomics Ideas Property rights 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Economics, History, English, and CommunicationUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

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