Re: [Kudlow] In Praise of Economic Freedom.

Ciamac Cyrus Moallemi (
Thu, 30 Dec 1999 12:11:30 -0500

At 03:56 AM 12/30/1999 , you wrote:
> > So here's the virtuous cycle: economic freedom incents entrepreneurial
> > freedom which begets innovation which in turn creates more economic
> > freedom and prosperity.
>This may indeed be a virtuous cycle, but if it were that easy, the
>early greeks, or the renaissance italians, or the mercantile dutch,
>(or perhaps even the antebellum southern planters), or the imperial
>british should still be out-prospering the rest of the world.

There's an interesting article in the millennium issue of the Economist
[1], to put this into a historical perspective. They point out that a
number of civilizations historically experienced tremendous technological
and economic advances but subsequently ground to a halt: the Roman empire,
the Islamic world up to 1200's, China up to 1400's (which until that time
was far more advanced technologically than the West). They suggest the
reasons for the boom in Western civilization in the past 250 years are the
fact the society embodied a particular set of social values (willingness to
accept change, acquisitiveness, willingness to establish trust and
reputation) and further that there were a number of competing countries in
Western Europe, so that no single government could hold back change to
preserve the status quo, making our current boom much less a historical
inevitability than a remarkable confluence of events.