Introduction to the topic “Growth”

Wednesday, 15. October 2008 | 12:00 Uhr


Joel Mokyr


Northwestern University, Evanston


After the solemn opening ceremony by Abbot Berchtold Müller in the Baroque Hall of the Monastery of Engelberg, the leading economic historian and professor Joël Mokyr from Northwestern University/USA showed how the Industrial Revolution in the eighteenth century mapped into sustainable economic growth in Europe and North America. “The economic performance per capita has dramatically increased over the past two hundred years. This occurred in a sustainable way and in a manner never seen before in history. The Industrial Revolution took place at the beginning of this development and technology was a key factor for these dynamics.” Until Friday, leading scientists will critically discuss ecological, biological, ethical and economic aspects of growth.

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Joel Mokyr

He holds a joint appointment in economics as well as a Sackler Professorial Fellow at the Eitan Berglas School of Economics at the University of Tel Aviv. He is particularly interested in the economic history of technology and population, but considers himself a general-purpose economic historian.

A former editor of the Journal of Economic History, he served as the editor in chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Economic History (5 vols., 2004), and continues to be editor in a chief of a book series published by Princeton University Press, The Princeton University Press Economic History of the Western World. A former chair of the Economics Department and President of the Economic History Association, he is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a number of comparable institutions in Europe.

Among his publications are The Lever of Riches (1990), The British Industrial Revolution (1993, second, revised edition, 1998), and The Gifts of Athena (2002). He has previously worked on the Irish Famine, nineteenth-century industrialization on the European Continent, and the economic effects of the Napoleonic Wars. He is currently working on two books: The Enlightened Economy: an Economic History of Britain, 1700-1850, and Neither Fluke nor Destiny: Evolutionary Models in Economic History.

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