Sophus A. Reinert - Faculty & Research - Harvard Business School
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Sophus A. Reinert

Marvin Bower Associate Professor

Business, Government and the International Economy

Sophus Reinert is an associate professor of business administration in the Business, Government, and the International Economy Unit, where he currently teaches a course on Globalization and Emerging Markets (GEM) in the MBA elective curriculum. He has also taught for the Summer Venture in Management Program, the PEEK Program, START, and the executive education General Management Program. Before joining HBS, he was a research fellow and an affiliated lecturer in history at Gonville & Caius College at the University of Cambridge (UK).

Professor Reinert studies the histories of capitalism, globalization, and political economy from the Renaissance to today’s emerging markets, focusing particularly on questions of international competition and the historical role played by governments in both economic development and decline. He is the author of Translating Empire: Emulation and the Origins of Political Economy, published by Harvard University Press in 2011 and winner of the 2012 Spengler Prize, the 2012 EAEPE-Myrdal Prize, as well as the 2012 George L. Mosse Prize of the American Historical Association. He has edited several academic volumes on the history of political economy, and Harvard University Press will publish his The Academy of Fisticuffs: Political Economy and Commercial Society in Enlightenment Italy, in summer 2018. In addition to case-writing in emerging markets, and particularly in Africa and Asia, he is currently writing two books; one on sovereign wealth funds and another on how “economics” was first theorized in relation to Renaissance business practices.

Professor Reinert earned his Ph.D. in history at the University for Cambridge, together with an M.Phil. in political thought and intellectual history. As an undergraduate, he studied history at Cornell University. He has been a Carl Schurz Fellow at the Krupp Chair in Public Finance and Fiscal Sociology at the University of Erfurt, Germany, and a fellow of the Einaudi Foundation in Turin, Italy.

Books
  1. Markets, Morals, Politics: Jealousy of Trade and the History of Political Thought

    Béla Kapossy, Isaac Nakhimovsky, Sophus A. Reinert and Richard Whatmore

    When Istvan Hont died in 2013, the world lost a giant of intellectual history. A leader of the Cambridge School of Political Thought, Hont argued passionately for a global-historical approach to political ideas. To better understand the development of liberalism, he looked not only to the works of great thinkers but also to their reception and use amid revolution and interstate competition. His innovative program of study culminated in the landmark 2005 book Jealousy of Trade, which explores the birth of economic nationalism and other social effects of expanding eighteenth-century markets. Markets, Morals, Politics brings together a celebrated cast of Hont’s contemporaries to assess his influence, ideas, and methods.
    Richard Tuck, John Pocock, John Dunn, Raymond Geuss, Gareth Stedman Jones, Michael Sonenscher, John Robertson, Keith Tribe, Pasquale Pasquino, and Peter N. Miller contribute original essays on themes Hont treated with penetrating insight: the politics of commerce, debt, and luxury; the morality of markets; and economic limits on state power. The authors delve into questions about the relationship between states and markets, politics and economics, through examinations of key Enlightenment and pre-Enlightenment figures in context—Hobbes, Rousseau, Spinoza, and many others. The contributors also add depth to Hont’s lifelong, if sometimes veiled, engagement with Marx. .
    The result is a work of interpretation that does justice to Hont’s influence while developing its own provocative and illuminating arguments. Markets, Morals, Politics will be a valuable companion to readers of Hont and anyone concerned with political economy and the history of ideas.

    Keywords: markets; morals; politics; Istvan Hont; Jealousy of Trade; enlightenment; economic nationalism; Markets; Moral Sensibility; Government and Politics; Trade; History;

    Citation:

    Kapossy, Béla, Isaac Nakhimovsky, Sophus A. Reinert and Richard Whatmore, eds. Markets, Morals, Politics: Jealousy of Trade and the History of Political Thought. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2018.  View Details
  2. New Perspectives on the History of Political Economy

    Robert Fredona and Sophus A. Reinert

    This volume offers a snapshot of the resurgent historiography of political economy in the wake of the ongoing global financial crisis and suggests fruitful new agendas for research on the political-economic nexus as it has developed in the Western world since the end of the Middle Ages. New Perspectives on the History of Political Economy brings together a select group of young and established scholars from a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds―history, economics, law, and political science―in an effort to begin a re-conceptualization of the origins and history of political economy through a variety of still largely distinct but complementary historical approaches―legal and intellectual, literary and philosophical, political and economic―and from a variety of related perspectives, including debt and state finance, tariffs and tax policy, the encouragement and discouragement of trade, merchant communities and companies, smuggling and illicit trades, mercantile and colonial systems, economic cultures, and the history of economic doctrines more narrowly construed. The first decade of the twenty-first century, bookended by 9/11 and a global financial crisis, witnessed the clamorous and urgent return of both “the political” and “the economic” to historiographical debates. It is becoming more important than ever to rethink the historical role of politics (and, indeed, of government) in business, economic production, distribution, and exchange. The artefacts of pre-modern and modern political economy, from the fourteenth through the twentieth centuries, remain monuments of perennial importance for understanding how human beings grappled with and overcame material hardship, organized their political and economic communities, won great wealth and lost it, conquered and were conquered. The present volume, assembling some of the brightest lights in the field, eloquently testifies to the rich and powerful lessons to be had from such a historical understanding of political economy and of power in an economic age.

    Keywords: Economics; Government and Politics; History;

    Citation:

    Fredona, Robert and Sophus A. Reinert, eds. New Perspectives on the History of Political Economy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.  View Details
  3. Antonio Serra and the Economics of Good Government

    Rosario Patalano and Sophus A. Reinert

    Little is known of Antonio Serra except that he wrote his extraordinary 1613 Short Treatise on the Causes That Make Kingdoms Abound in Gold and Silver even in the Absence of Mines in a Neapolitan jail and that he died there soon afterwards. However, the influence of this work represents a watershed not only in the discipline of economics but also in the history of social science and intellectual history more generally.

    In this book, some of the world's leading economists and experts on Serra explore the enduring appeal of his Short Treatise. The authors analyse the work in its historical, economic, cultural, and intellectual contexts, exploring the finer details of his theories regarding economic development and international financial interactions, as well as his indebtedness to earlier Renaissance traditions.

    The book also uncovers new material relating to Serra's life and provides in-depth interpretation of his key insights, influences, and political economy. This book highlights the parallels between issues discussed by Serra and modern political and scholarly consciousness and illustrates the importance and influences of historical debate in modern economic thinking.

    Keywords: History; Books; Government and Politics; Economics;

    Citation:

    Patalano, Rosario and Sophus A. Reinert, eds. Antonio Serra and the Economics of Good Government. Palgrave Studies in the History of Finance. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.  View Details
  4. The Political Economy of Empire in the Early Modern World

    Sophus A. Reinert and Pernille Røge

    This volume recasts our understanding of the practical and theoretical foundations and dynamic experiences of early modern imperialism. The imperial encounter with political economy was neither uniform across political, economic, cultural, and religious constellations nor static across time. The contributions collected in this volume address, with undeniable pertinence for the struggles of later periods, the moral and military ambiguity of profits and power, as well as the often-jealous interactions between different solutions to the problem of empire. The book presents a powerful mosaic of imperial theories and practices contributing to the creation of the modern world and to the most pressing concerns of our time.

    Keywords: political economy; early modern imperialism; Economy; Government and Politics;

    Citation:

    Reinert, Sophus A. and Pernille Røge, eds. The Political Economy of Empire in the Early Modern World. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.  View Details
  5. Translating Empire: Emulation and the Origins of Political Economy

    Sophus A. Reinert

    Historians have traditionally used the discourses of free trade and laissez-faire to explain the development of political economy during the Enlightenment. But from Sophus Reinert's perspective, eighteenth-century political economy can be understood only in the context of the often brutal imperial rivalries then unfolding in Europe and its former colonies and the positive consequences of active economic policy. The idea of economic emulation was the prism through which philosophers, ministers, reformers, and even merchants thought about economics, as well as industrial policy and reform, in the early modern period. With the rise of the British Empire, European powers and others sought to selectively emulate the British model.

    In mapping the general history of economic translations between 1500 and 1849, and particularly tracing the successive translations of the Bristol merchant John Cary's seminal 1695 Essay on the State of England, Reinert makes a compelling case for the way that England's aggressively nationalist policies, especially extensive tariffs and other intrusive market interventions, were adopted in France, Italy, Germany, and Scandinavia before providing the blueprint for independence in the New World. Relatively forgotten today, Cary's work served as the basis for an international move toward using political economy as the prime tool of policymaking and industrial expansion.

    Reinert's work challenges previous narratives about the origins of political economy and invites the current generation of economists to reexamine the foundations, and future, of their discipline.

    Keywords: Business History; Government and Politics;

    Citation:

    Reinert, Sophus A. Translating Empire: Emulation and the Origins of Political Economy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011. (Received the 2012 Joseph J. Spengler Prize for the best book in the history of economics.)  View Details
Journal Articles
  1. The Economy of Fear: H.P. Lovecraft on Eugenics, Economics and the Great Depression

    Sophus A. Reinert

    The early twentieth-century weird writer Howard Phillips Lovecraft is today best remembered for his genre defining style of academic noir pulp fiction. Yet in focusing on certain tropes of his work, such as the many memorable monsters he created to populate his stories, from the infinite effervescence named Yog-Sothoth to the dreaded cephalopod Cthulhu, scholars have overlooked a deeper terror structuring practically all of his writings, the chillingly resonant fear that, amidst the chaos of globalization, miscegenation, and economic decline, 'Anglo-Saxon' civilization would surrender to lesser races. Fundamental to this fear was his understanding of atavism—of evolutionary throwbacks, survivals and regressions—in modern industrial society, and his extraordinary stories were only one expression of a contemporary culture involving eugenicists, political economists, and prominent authors of the Gothic and 'weird' traditions between the 1890s and the 1930s. Lovecraft himself in effect penned a number of economic manuscripts on the crisis of the Great Depression, and this article contextualizes his ideas in relation to his wider writings as well as to contemporary traditions of economics and eugenics, drawing a new picture of one of the greatest horror writers of all time.

    Keywords: H.P. Lovecraft; Society; Economics;

    Citation:

    Reinert, Sophus A. "The Economy of Fear: H.P. Lovecraft on Eugenics, Economics and the Great Depression." Horror Studies 6, no. 2 (October 2015): 255–282.  View Details
Book Chapters
  1. Patriotism, Cosmopolitanism, and Political Economy in the Accademia dei Pugni in Austrian Lombardy, 1760–1780

    Sophus A. Reinert and Jani Marjanen

    Citation:

    Reinert, Sophus A., and Jani Marjanen. "Patriotism, Cosmopolitanism, and Political Economy in the Accademia dei Pugni in Austrian Lombardy, 1760–1780." Chap. 6 in The Rise of Economic Societies in the Eighteenth Century: Patriotic Refom in Europe and North America, edited by Koen Stapelbroek and Jani Marjanen, 130–156. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.  View Details
  2. Rivalry: Greatness in Early Modern Political Economy

    Sophus A. Reinert

    Keywords: political economy; mercantilism; early modern Britain; Economic Systems; Government and Politics; Great Britain;

    Citation:

    Reinert, Sophus A. "Rivalry: Greatness in Early Modern Political Economy." In Mercantilism Reimagined: Political Economy in Early Modern Britain and Its Empire, edited by Philip J. Stern and Carl Wennerlind, 348–370. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.  View Details
  3. The Sultan's Republic: Jealousy of Trade and Oriental Despotism in Paolo Mattia Doria

    Sophus A. Reinert

    Keywords: History; Trade; Government and Politics;

    Citation:

    Reinert, Sophus A. "The Sultan's Republic: Jealousy of Trade and Oriental Despotism in Paolo Mattia Doria." In Enlightened Reform in Southern Europe and its Atlantic Colonies, edited by Gabriel Paquette, 253–269. Ashgate Publishing, 2009.  View Details
Working Papers
  1. Merchants and the Origins of Capitalism

    Sophus A. Reinert and Robert Fredona

    N.S.B. Gras, the father of Business History in the United States, argued that the era of mercantile capitalism was defined by the figure of the “sedentary merchant,” who managed his business from home, using correspondence and intermediaries, in contrast to the earlier “traveling merchant,” who accompanied his own goods to trade fairs. Taking this concept as its point of departure, this essay focuses on the predominantly Italian merchants who controlled the long-distance East-West trade of the Mediterranean during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Until the opening of the Atlantic trade, the Mediterranean was Europe’s most important commercial zone, its trade enriched European civilization, and its merchants developed the most important premodern mercantile innovations, from maritime insurance contracts and partnership agreements to the bill of exchange and double-entry bookkeeping. Emerging from literate and numerate cultures, these merchants left behind an abundance of records that allow us to understand how their companies, especially the largest of them, were organized and managed. These techniques can also be put in the context of premodern attitudes toward commerce and the era’s commercial-political relations. The Commercial Revolution anticipated the Industrial Revolution by over half a millennium and laid the groundwork for today’s world of global business.

    Keywords: Economic Systems; History; Business History;

    Citation:

    Reinert, Sophus A., and Robert Fredona. "Merchants and the Origins of Capitalism." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 18-021, September 2017. (Forthcoming in Routledge Companion to the Makers of Global Business. Edited by Teresa da Silva Lopes, Christina Lubinski, Heidi Tworek (2018).)  View Details
  2. Mapping the Economic Grand Tour: Travel and International Emulation in Enlightenment Europe

    Sophus A. Reinert

    As the itinerant wizard (technically one of the Maiar, if not the Istari) Gandalf wrote to the then domestically-inclined hobbit Frodo Baggins in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, “Not all those who wander are lost.” Indeed, as the recent brouhaha over the “wanderlust gene” DRD4-7R testifies to, travel is a constant of human experience, inflected in myriad ways by history, literature, and life, from the Homeric epics and the Jungian archetype of “the wanderer” to Tripadvisor.com and Ibiza stag parties. People have traveled to learn, to conquer, to evangelize, in search of architectural inspiration and for reasons of health, not to mention because other places were “there,” in Edmund Hillary’s famous formulation, but within this spacious swath of human history my interest lies with a particular kind of purposeful travel that I would define as “economic,” by which I do not mean frugal or “low cost,” but pursued to improve the management of the material world—theoretically or practically, individually or collectively; more the Jesuit François Xavier d’Entrecolles discovering the secrets of Chinese porcelain in 1712 than, say, Ryanair.

    Keywords: Behavior; Globalization;

    Citation:

    Reinert, Sophus A. "Mapping the Economic Grand Tour: Travel and International Emulation in Enlightenment Europe." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 17-005, July 2016.  View Details
Cases and Teaching Materials
  1. Uruguay: Facing the 21st Century

    Sophus A. Reinert, Michael Chu and Carin-Isabel Knoop

    In the fall of 2017, self-made business leader Edgardo Novick pondered his campaign to be elected President of Uruguay, “the Switzerland of Latin America.” Inspired by populist revolts against the status quo observable worldwide, Novick hoped he could ride popular momentum to break the political monopoly of the traditional parties and return the country to its past greatness. Uruguay had been one of the world’s most successful countries in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries but had since experienced a long period of relative decline. Could Novick’s campaign turn the tide of history? And what policy should Uruguay adopt with regard to the world economy?

    Keywords: uruguay; Edgardo Novick; Business Cycles; Macroeconomics; Geographic Location; Government and Politics; Wealth and Poverty; Economic Slowdown and Stagnation; Globalization; Pulp and Paper Industry; Agriculture and Agribusiness Industry; Uruguay;

    Citation:

    Reinert, Sophus A., Michael Chu, and Carin-Isabel Knoop. "Uruguay: Facing the 21st Century." Harvard Business School Case 318-019, February 2018.  View Details
  2. Kickstarting Tomato Jos in Nigeria

    Sophus A. Reinert and Risa Kavalercik

    In the spring of 2016, Mira Mehta (HBS 2014), faced a difficult decision. Following a successful Kickstarter campaign and winning the second place in the HBS New Venture Competition—Social Enterprise Track, she had moved to Northern Nigeria, where she founded the tomato paste company Tomato Jos. Though her brand had gained traction, she had, in the face of endless foreseen and unforeseen obstacles, yet to produce any actual paste. As the Nigerian government pondered new tariffs to protect local alternatives against the competition of ostensibly cheap and low-quality “killer tomato paste,” Mehta considered a job offer from a major agricultural company that would secure her financially, but at the cost of her independence and, perhaps, of her dreams.

    Keywords: Nigeria; entrepreneurs; import substitution; China in Africa; Killer Tomato Paste; Mira Mehta; Tomato Jos; Developing Countries and Economies; Social Entrepreneurship; Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Government Legislation; Business History; Emerging Markets; Business and Government Relations; Agriculture and Agribusiness Industry; Nigeria;

    Citation:

    Reinert, Sophus A., and Risa Kavalercik. "Kickstarting Tomato Jos in Nigeria." Harvard Business School Case 718-027, February 2018. (Revised March 2018.)  View Details
  3. ArcelorMittal and the Ebola Outbreak in Liberia

    Sophus A. Reinert, Sarah Nam, Sisi Pan and Eric Werker

    During the summer of 2014, Alan Knight, general manager of corporate responsibility at the integrated steel and mining company ArcelorMittal, observed the unfolding of an Ebola epidemic in Liberia and other countries in West Africa with great concern. On the one hand was the sheer tragedy of the calamity that struck the poverty-stricken country, recently emerged from a long and painful civil war; on the other, the fact that ArcelorMittal’s mining concession in Liberia was a crucial part of the company’s business going forward. How was ArcelorMittal to face the mounting crisis? What response did it owe its employees? Its shareholders? Its stakeholders? Given the low state capacity in Liberia, ArcelorMittal helped organize a private sector response to the crisis, and, as a pandemic finally was averted, he wondered what lessons to draw from the experience.

    Keywords: Ebola; Epidemics; Ebola Private Sector Mobalization Group; EPSMG; civil war; sovereignty; Change Management; Judgments; Development Economics; Geopolitical Units; Globalized Firms and Management; Emerging Markets; Business and Community Relations; Business and Government Relations; Safety; War; Wealth and Poverty; Welfare or Wellbeing; Crisis Management; Mining Industry; Liberia;

    Citation:

    Reinert, Sophus A., Sarah Nam, Sisi Pan, and Eric Werker. "ArcelorMittal and the Ebola Outbreak in Liberia." Harvard Business School Case 718-029, February 2018. (Revised March 2018.)  View Details
  4. Globalization Past, 1850–1914 (B)

    Sophus A. Reinert and Federica Gabrieli

    Supplements the (A) case.

    Keywords: The Rise and Fall of Globalization; World War; The World; Business Cycles; Economic Growth; Economic Slowdown and Stagnation; Macroeconomics; Trade; Values and Beliefs; Globalization; War;

    Citation:

    Reinert, Sophus A., and Federica Gabrieli. "Globalization Past, 1850–1914 (B)." Harvard Business School Supplement 718-030, December 2017.  View Details
  5. Globalization Past, 1850–1914 (A)

    Sophus A. Reinert and Federica Gabrieli

    On the evening of 3 August 1914, British Foreign Secretary Lord Edward Grey contemplated whether to advise King and Parliament to declare war on Germany in the wake of the country’s invasion of Belgium or to stay out of what quickly was becoming a world war triggered by a royal assassination in Sarajevo. Over the past century, the world had become woven together in ways never before seen, and a truly global economy had emerged that many believed would forever banish the possibility of war altogether. But could trade really assure perpetual peace, and what ultimately mattered most: interest or principles? The case considers the lessons to be had from the rise and fall of the last great period of globalization.

    Keywords: The World; The Rise and Fall of Globalization; World War; Globalization; War; Economics; Trade; Business Cycles; Economic Growth; Economic Slowdown and Stagnation; Society; History; Values and Beliefs; Macroeconomics;

    Citation:

    Reinert, Sophus A., and Federica Gabrieli. "Globalization Past, 1850–1914 (A)." Harvard Business School Case 718-023, December 2017. (Revised March 2018.)  View Details
  6. Piracy in Somalia (B)

    Sophus A. Reinert and Alissa Davies

    Supplements the (A) case.

    Keywords: piracy; Foreign aid; civil war; private property; human rights; economic development; globalization; Globalization; War; Property; Crime and Corruption; Rights; Development Economics; Moral Sensibility; Somalia;

    Citation:

    Reinert, Sophus A., and Alissa Davies. "Piracy in Somalia (B)." Harvard Business School Supplement 718-019, December 2017.  View Details
  7. Piracy in Somalia (A)

    Sophus A. Reinert and Alissa Davies

    A Somali fisherman stands on a beach in early 2011, considering his options: should he embark in his tiny fishing vessel or join a nearby pirate crew? His war-ravaged country, entering its 20th year of civil war, was in the midst of a famine that had claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, and piracy had recently become the country’s greatest claim to fame, securing ransoms to the tune of millions of U.S. dollars in one of the poorest corners of the global economy. Why had piracy become such an attractive option for Somalis? Why did some even consider it “just,” and how could maritime trade be made safer again?

    Keywords: pirates; Foreign aid; civil war; private property; human rights; economic development; globalization; Globalization; War; Property; Crime and Corruption; Rights; Development Economics; Moral Sensibility; Shipping Industry; Somalia;

    Citation:

    Reinert, Sophus A., and Alissa Davies. "Piracy in Somalia (A)." Harvard Business School Case 718-018, December 2017.  View Details
  8. Climate Change in 2018: Implications for Business

    Rebecca M. Henderson, Sophus A. Reinert, Polina Dekhtyar and Amram Migdal

    This note provides general information about climate change and its implications for business. Included is an overview of climate change science and a number of its impacts, including rising sea levels, changing weather patterns and extreme weather, pressure on water and food, political and security risks, human health risks, and impact on wildlife and ecosystems. Next, responses to climate change are outlined, including improvements in energy efficiency, moving away from fossil fuels, changes in land use and agriculture practices, and geoengineering. The note concludes with the debate over how much should be spent to mitigate and adapt to climate change, who should pay, and the implications for the private sector.

    Keywords: climate change; Environmental Accounting; Agribusiness; Economic Growth; Energy Conservation; Energy Generation; Renewable Energy; Energy Sources; Non-Renewable Energy; Globalized Markets and Industries; National Security; Government Legislation; Operations; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Problems and Challenges; Risk and Uncertainty; Natural Disasters; Natural Environment; Environmental Sustainability; Pollution and Pollutants; Science-Based Business; Weather and Climate Change; Society; Technology;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M., Sophus A. Reinert, Polina Dekhtyar, and Amram Migdal. "Climate Change in 2018: Implications for Business." Harvard Business School Background Note 317-032, October 2016. (Revised January 2018.) (Click here for a complimentary copy on the Business & Environment Initiative’s site.)  View Details
  9. Going Rogue: Choson Exchange in North Korea

    Sophus A. Reinert, Dawn H. Lau and Amy MacBeath

    In mid-2015, the Singapore-based CEO of Choson Exchange Geoffrey See pondered his next move. He had founded Choson Exchange as a non-profit in 2009 to further female entrepreneurship in North Korea by providing business and legal training in the isolated country. Now, however, he considered launching a for-profit incubator, PY Ventures, to provide North Korean entrepreneurs with customized mentorship and access to foreign capital. What role did See play in North Korea, and how should he evaluate the risks and opportunities of moving out of the non-profit space in what many around the world considered a “Rogue State”?

    Keywords: Entrepreneurship; For-Profit Firms; Risk and Uncertainty; Opportunities; North Korea;

    Citation:

    Reinert, Sophus A., Dawn H. Lau, and Amy MacBeath. "Going Rogue: Choson Exchange in North Korea." Harvard Business School Case 717-015, October 2016. (Revised October 2017.)  View Details
  10. The Great Divergence: Europe and Modern Economic Growth

    Sophus A. Reinert

    The continent of Europe seemed in the spring of 2015 to be in a weaker position relative to other world regions than it had in centuries. Though comparatively small, it had long played a disproportionate role in world history, to the extent that the modern world system of states itself in large parts had been created in the wake of European imperialism. This case examines the deep history of Europe’s so-called “Great Divergence,” the means by which it achieved “modern economic growth” and conquered large parts of the known world, and the consequences of this moment for the past, present, and future of capitalism.

    Keywords: The Great Divergence; Modern Economic Growth; globalization; Empire; Disruption; Economic Growth; Values and Beliefs; History; Globalization; Europe;

    Citation:

    Reinert, Sophus A. "The Great Divergence: Europe and Modern Economic Growth." Harvard Business School Case 715-039, April 2015. (Revised August 2016.)  View Details
  11. Bhutan: Governing for Happiness

    Sophus A. Reinert, Thomas Humphrey and Benjamin Safran

    Unique among the world’s countries, the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan had abandoned the traditional policy goal of increasing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in favor of pursuing Gross National Happiness (GNH). Famously, Bhutan ranked highly on lists of the happiest countries in spite of a tumultuous history, low life expectancy, a dismal literacy rate, a small and undiversified economy, and low GDP per capita. Everyone, it seemed, from tourists and Hollywood screenwriters to leading development economists, looked to Bhutan for enlightenment and perspective on crises both personal and global. GNH had become the country’s brand and suggested a possible future for capitalism. Was Bhutan on to something? Was there really a tradeoff between growth and happiness, and, if so, was it acceptable? In early 2014, Bhutan’s newly minted Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay was faced with these questions as he deliberated on whether to approve a massive new Bhutanese-Indian hydropower collaboration that experts argued would provide energy, foreign exchange, and invaluable jobs, but which also risked undermining the country’s brand as well as its happiness.

    Keywords: Happiness; Economic Growth; Governance; Cost vs Benefits; Bhutan;

    Citation:

    Reinert, Sophus A., Thomas Humphrey, and Benjamin Safran. "Bhutan: Governing for Happiness." Harvard Business School Case 715-024, December 2014. (Revised March 2015.)  View Details
  12. Norway: The Embarrassment of Riches

    Sophus A. Reinert

    In early 2013, Norway was by many accounts the world’s most developed country; it topped various indices for everything from democracy to happiness, had a comprehensive welfare state, and massive oil revenues endowed it with a substantial, and growing, Sovereign Wealth Fund. The governing coalition, anchored in the historically near-hegemonic Labour Party, had embraced peacemaking activities abroad and increasingly freer immigration policies at home, pursuing an aim of “liberal multiculturalism” that had invited both accolades and increasingly hostile criticism. More recent years had seen a change of government and falling oil prices, but Norway continued to top world development indexes. Now, in 2017, however, citizens of the country questioned both the government’s decision to turn a blind eye to ethical considerations in its pursuit of exports, and to environmental concerns in drilling for ever more oil and gas in fragile arctic ecosystems. Was there such thing as enough?

    Keywords: sovereign wealth funds; welfare state; natural resources; internationalization; dutch disease; happiness; Macroeconomics; Energy Sources; Values and Beliefs; Sovereign Finance; Immigration; Welfare or Wellbeing; Energy Industry; Norway;

    Citation:

    Reinert, Sophus A. "Norway: The Embarrassment of Riches." Harvard Business School Case 713-061, April 2013. (Revised February 2018.)  View Details