Alms Watch 2007

  • Bryan Caplan continues to misunderstand Clark’s take on Malthusian Logic. Increasing populations lead to greater number of innovations, but populations before 1800 grew very, very slowly ((Also, Kremer’s observation that more people leads to more inventions is more like an empirical fact; he doesn’t really lay out a mechanism. Kremer has a model in his paper — “Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990” — but the tests are the most interesting part.)).
  • The Economist is upset that Clark did, you know, real economics. How dare he find some data and try to conjecture as to what mechanisms might “connect the dots”!
  • Steve Sailer reviews the book and seems two make to errors in his analysis. The first is pointed out by gnxp, there wasn’t much difference between Asia and Europe in birth rates (in England they married older, but in Asia they had fewer kids than the natural limit). The second is that Sailer seems to misunderstand Clark’s argument about the timing of the industrial revolution in England. Clark doesn’t argue that England is the only society to have cultural selection for bourgeois virtues; he argues it happened faster there.