≡ Menu

Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages 9-10 of Deirdre McCloskey’s 2022 paper “Liberalism Caused the Great Enrichment“:

By the time in 1901 that the redoubling of modern incomes over each generation in liberal countries was coming to be expected, the American economist John Bates Clark predicted that “the typical laborer will increase his wages from one dollar a day to two, from two to four and from four to eight.” It was an accurate prediction in real terms down to the present, though its magnitude does not entirely allow for the radical improvement in the quality of goods and services, such as in the cleanliness of food and the efficacy of medicine. “Such gains,” Clark continued, “will mean infinitely more to him than any possible increase of capital can mean to the rich…. This very change will bring with it a continual approach to equality of genuine comfort” (Clark 1901 [1949]). There came to pass an equality of enrichment instead of an equality of misery….

The big story of the modern world is not inequality, which has declined even in purely financial terms since the days of dukes with 800-year-old names. The big story is Clark’s “equality of genuine comfort.”

DBx: Yes.


The reference in the quotation is to J.B. Clark’s 1901 essay “The Society of the Future,” which appeared in a publication called The Independent. I can find on-line no link to this essay.