”O excellent! I love long life better than figs.”

Improved material well-being resulted in substantially longer lives. Infant mortality (defined as death within the first year of life) declined, and the life expectancy of those who survived infancy rose. Malnutrition and its associated diseases became less common, and the mass killers, famine and plague, receded…

Property Rights and Growth

North and Thomas argue that the establishment and enforcement of property rights has been a major cause of economic growth. A person who has property rights over a particular resource has the right to control it and use it as he pleases. Property rights are determined in part by law and in part by social conventions…

Feudalism

Feudalism was the economic and political system of Europe during the Middle Ages. One might be tempted to dismiss it as a primitive system, discarded when something better came along, but to do so would be to misunderstand human institutions…

The Industrial Revolution

Britain experienced a period of rapid technological innovation during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The way in which work was done changed radically, and British goods rose to dominance in markets around the world…

The Second Industrial Revolution

The Second Industrial Revolution (1870-1914) was characterized by a close connection between science and technology. Science was developing: chemistry acquired its atomic foundations, for example, and the scientific study of electricity began. The extension of scientific knowledge gave technicians more avenues to investigate…

Ding Dong, the Witch is Still Very Much Alive

There were massive changes in economic institutions during the late twentieth century. China abandoned central planning. The Soviet Union collapsed, and its satellite states gained their political freedom and adopted free market systems. Socialism receded throughout Latin America and in India…