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McCloskey: I think it's just completely wrong. My friend, Tyler Cowen, my friends at George Mason think maybe it's time for an intervention and Tyler, we think maybe we should send him to dry out somewhere because he seems to have gone crazy on this and he's not alone. I mean, there are people like Bob Gordon wrote a book last year, which was very successful.
Gillespie: Which argued that basically say goodbye to 2%, ...
Gillespie: ... even 2% economic growth.
McCloskey: Exactly. Innovation in the United States is finished and we've invented all the window screens and drop ceilings we're ever going to invent. There are a whole bunch of things wrong with it. One is that it doesn't make a lot of quantitative sense. In Tyler's book, which is called Average is Over, he's got a chart, which he says, "Summarizes my point." It's terrible. See the falling share of labor in national income. You look closely at the chart, which is one of these Time Magazine charts, it goes down like that. It turns out it's gone from 63% to 61%, talking about 2%. Now, come on Tyler. Please. Then, Bob likewise, and lots of others. I mean, in fact, it's a very old theme.
People have been saying since the beginning of modern economic growth, around 1800, that well, it's finished. John Stuart Mill, the great father of us all had that opinion, that the stationary state, as he called it, was around the corner. It hasn't happened yet, that's one thing. Joe Mokyr, my friend, is another optimist. He says, "Look, come on," and biological research. Then, the point that I like to make is we're only talking about the United States. Now, wait a second. Time out. The world is growing. In come per head in real terms is growing faster right now than it ever has in the history of the world. These two countries, China and India, 40% of humankind, are growing like mad, 7% to 10% per year.
Gillespie: Although, they are slowing down. Right?
McCloskey: Yeah, slowing down.
McCloskey: They're going from 10 to seven.
McCloskey: Hey, wouldn't you like to have 7% growth in your salary? So anyway, there's ample cause for optimism because when those people come online, you get masses of engineers, entrepreneurs, free people, at least in India and we were hoping in China. They'll make inventions that will spill over to us just as our Northwestern Europeans, our inventions spilled over to them. For the next, I don't know, century or two, I see no slowing down.
Gillespie: Well, let's talk about the Bourgeois trilogy.
Gillespie: Virtues, equality, whatnot, in that you talk about the great enrichment ...
McCloskey: I do.
Gillespie: ... and you touched on it. Explain that and talk about its causes. Who are the people you're sparring with?
McCloskey: I'm sparring with Marx, I'm sparring indeed with Mill even. I'm sparring with modern growth theories, so called in economics. I'm certainly sparring with ... Well, I'm sparring with everybody, that's why I have no friends. I'm sparring with the left, I'm sparring with the right. The essential point I'm making is that what happened in 1800, thereabouts, was that people could have a go, as the English say, masses of people, ordinary people. Now, come on, there were slaves in the United States and there were hopelessly poor people in Britain and so forth, so it wasn't really everybody and all through this period, women were not fully emancipated. Still, it was a great improvement over what it had been a hundred years before in the way of allowing people to do stuff. To start a hairdressing salon when they want and where, as against making them get a license to braid hair, which we have now. And of course, these were inventions, not just of a mechanical sort, but of an institutional sort, inventing stock exchanges and the modern university dating from 1810, the University of Berlin.