A Review of Gregory Clark's A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World
Allen, Robert C. 2008. "A Review of Gregory Clark's A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World."
Journal of Economic Literature,
A Farewell to Alms advances striking claims about the economic history of the world.
These include (1) the preindustrial world was in a Malthusian preventive check equilibrium,
(2) living standards were unchanging and above subsistence for the last
100,000 years, (3) bad institutions were not the cause of economic backwardness,
(4) successful economic growth was due to the spread of "middle class" values from
the elite to the rest of society for "biological" reasons, (5) workers were the big gainers
in the British Industrial Revolution, and (6) the absence of middle class values, for
biological reasons, explains why most of the world is poor. The empirical support for
these claims is examined, and all are questionable.
Article Full-Text Access
Allen, Robert C. (Nuffield College, Oxford U)
N00: Economic History: General