Monday, 4 June 2007

North’s Big Ideas

Important notes of the day… *jot jot*… from Arnold Kling:


Off the top of my head, North's big ideas include:


1. Economics is not ahistorical. You can't just jump arbitrarily from one economic pattern to another. For example, you can't turn Russia or Iraq into a western economy overnight.


2. Institutions evolve from history, technology, and cultural beliefs. And institutions are what lock in economic patterns.


3. If the institutions evolve to reward work and innovation, you will get work and innovation. If they evolve to reward piracy and expropriation, you will get underdevelopment.


If you try to reduce North to a bumper sticker, it would be "Institutions matter." But that phrase alone (which is probably all that most economists know if you ask them about North) does not convey the subtler points of his thinking.


Elanor

No comments: