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15. Mass Affluence Comes to the Western World

Capitalism: Success, Crisis and Reform (PLSC 270) Professor Rae discusses the rise of mass affluence, the joint stock corporation, and advertising/consumer culture in America. Gregory Clark's theory of the causes of the Industrial Revolution, including England's "downward social mobility" in the medieval and early modern periods, are explored. According to this theory, the upper classes produced children in greater numbers than in other countries, and there were fewer jobs of high social status. This led to upper class children working in "lower class" jobs, infusing lower economic strata with upper class outlooks toward work. Clark also touches on a genetic, Darwinian explanation for England's Industrial Revolution. Professor Rae also discusses other causal explanations for the Industrial revolution, including exogenous and endogenous growth theories, institutions, and Schumpeter's theory of creative destruction. The wealth-generating power of the joint stock corporation is also presented. Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: This course was recorded in Fall 2009.
Length: 47:31


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