Conclusion: The Future of the Neoinstitutionalist Turn
As the conclusion to this book, Krul sums up its general themes. The heart of the book is explaining the specific nature and trajectory of Douglass North’s New Institutionalist Economic History as a response to the critique of economics formulated by Karl Polanyi. As Krul argues, much of North’s work becomes understandable as an attempt to show economics as a discipline can accomplish what Polanyi thought it could not: explain long-term institutional structure and change. Making this possible entails, however, giving up on much of economic orthodoxy. The more North developed his theory, the fewer of the norms of economics he sought to defend actually remained. The result is a fundamental contradiction in North’s thought: it is pulled in two opposite directions and reaches neither.
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