Amartya Sen on India and China (in New York Review of Books)
Boettke's Career Advice

The Royal Wedding and the Nobility of Commerce

Mark D. White

There's a very interesting article in today's Wall Street Journal about the commcerical background of the Middleton family, and how the impending royal nuptials can be seen as belated recognition of the worth of commerce and entrepreneurship:

Much has been made of the fact that Kate Middleton, Prince William's bride-to-be, is a "commoner." Her mother and father began their careers working as a flight attendant and flight dispatcher for British Airways, respectively. Yet she has known many of the privileges of aristocracy because her parents built a multimillion-dollar business that supported elite educations for her and her siblings.

Some have wondered if Kate will be a "people's princess," in the mold of Prince William's late mother, Diana. But Kate and her family actually embody a noble, if relatively modern, tradition of their own: a tradition of bettering oneself and one's family, while improving the lot of society. In other words, entrepreneurship.

For centuries in Britain, commercial activities were looked down upon by many in the aristocracy, whose wealth lay in landownership and who would not deign to dabble in trade. This week's wedding can be seen as the culmination of a long process of elevating the social status of entrepreneurship itself.

It's curious that Deirdre McCloskey's name didn't show up anywhere in this article, which is an straightforward application of her work defending the honor of commerce and tracing its historical development and importance.


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While some people here in the UK will be watching the Royal wedding avidly, most will just be enjoying a nice extra day off. I won't be watching myself, but nonetheless appreciate this spoof wedding dance video from one of our mobile phone providers (very good look-a-likes involved). The E&E readers might enjoy it. :)

Wouldn't Adam Smith be tickled with the rise of meritocracy into the throne room of Buckingham Palace?

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