*How Measurement led to the Modern World*

That's the very good subtitle, the less interesting title is The Institutional Revolution, and it is a book manuscript by Douglas W. Allen.  Someone sent it to me in the mail.  The bottom line:

Once fundamental measurement problems were solved — involving time, distance, weights, and power, among others — it became possible to cheaply measure worker performance, input and output quality, and the role of nature, in areas of life that were unheard of before.  This ability to cheaply measure ushered in the world of modern institutions.

Pre-modern customs, in contrast, were all about dealing with trust, the need for direct supervision, and facing up to the enormous risks posed by nature.  The astute reader will note the influence of Yoram Barzel, one of the most underrated economists.

When will this book come out?


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