The Ahistoricity of the SIVH
By Bryan Caplan
My forthcoming book is called The Enlightened Economy, and it will be a long discussion of the economic history of Britain between 1700 and 1850… I vastly expand my argument that we have deeply underrated and underestimated the ideological roots of economic change… [A] lot of people believed with Karl Marx that what people believe, what their ideology and ideas are, is essentially determined by economic infrastructure – the means of production, technology, population, things like that. And it’s not just the Marxists; there are a lot of fans of neoclassical economics who essentially say that people believe in their pocketbooks, right? Workers will believe in socialism, and the upper class will believe in capitalism, and that’s the way the world is. Except that that’s not the way the world is. Over most of history people have not voted their pocketbooks – Marxists included. The Marxists came from the bourgeois class.
This reminds me of one of Ed Glaeser’s best papers…
Update: You can now download the aforementioned paper – Glaeser and Ward’s “Myth and Realities of American Political Geography” here.