F_Part I - Part I Positive Growth Theory Economics was born...

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Part I Positive Growth Theory Economics was born when some people asked the questions: How can society improve its living standards? What are the conditions of prosperity? Those questions de°ne the essence of growth theory. It is no wonder that in the Western world they were raised ±rather timidly ±at the end of the Renaissance only, by Botero (1589-1598), and then by Sully (1639) and Child (1668). Why not earlier? Because economics, as any science, is founded on observation; no sign of growth had ever appeared in the Middle Ages ±and how could it have after the endless wars and plagues that ravaged Europe, particularly in the fourteenth century? Those times carried no hope, and it would have taken a bold thinker to entreat the question of development. As the french historian Pierre Gaxotte very well put it, ²the man of the Middle Ages does not know of time and numbers³. It is not surprising therefore that we owe to Arab civilization the °rst comprehensive description of the fundamental causes of growth. In his
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