Gene Expression nagged a good interview with the author of Farewell to Alms.
One of Clark’s major theses is that economic institutions did not matter as much as supposed. He claims that labor quality – culturally and genetically – had a greater effect. People planned for the long-term gratification rather than instant gratification.
His somewhat more controversial thesis is the survival of the richest view. In England, the behavior revolution occurred because the poor died out and the upper class dominated. I have an issue with the Malthusian aspect of this theory but I haven’t written out my thoughts yet. His interview is worth a read.