A common narrative of the post-World War II economists was that the State is indispensable for guiding investment and fostering innovation. They claimed that the wealth of the modern world is the result of past State guidance and that what is needed for future economic growth is more State guidance. This position has recently been rejuvenated in reaction to the Great Recession of 2008.The truth is that the enriched modern economy was not a product of State coercion. It was a product of a change in political and social rhetoric in northwestern Europe from 1517 to 1789. The Great Enrichment, that is, came from human ingenuity emancipated from the bottom up, not human ingenuity directed from the top down.The true question is what on balance is the best way to organize innovation—by the “wise State” or by commercially tested betterment? About the AuthorsDeirdre Nansen McCloskey is Distinguished Professor Emerita of Economics and of History, and Professor Emerita of English and of Communication, adjunct in classics and philosophy, at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In 2014, she was awarded the Hayek Lifetime Achievement Award by the Austrian Economics Center and is the recipient of 11 honorary degrees. Her main research interests include the origins of the modern world, the misuse of statistical significance in economics and other sciences, and the study of capitalism, among many others. She is well known for her massive economic, historical, and literary trilogy The Bourgeois Era (2006, 2010, 2016).Alberto Mingardi is Director General of the Italian free-market think tank, Istituto Bruno Leoni. He is also Associate Professor of the history of political thought at IULM University in Milan and a Presidential Scholar in Political Theory at Chapman University. He is an adjunct fellow at the Cato Institute. He blogs at EconLog.He holds a PhD in Political Science from University of Pavia and edited critical editions of Thomas Hodgskin, Herbert Spencer and Vilfredo Pareto. His last book is Classical Liberalism and the Industrial Working Class: The Economic Thought of Thomas Hodgskin (Routledge, 2020).The American Institute for Economic Research in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, was founded in 1933 as the first independent voice for sound economics in the United States. Today it publishes ongoing research, hosts educational programs, publishes books, sponsors interns and scholars, and is home to the world-renowned Bastiat Society and the highly respected Sound Money Project. The American Institute for Economic Research is a 501c3 public charity.The Adam Smith Institute is one of the world's leading think tanks, recognised as the best domestic and international economic policy think-tank in the UK and ranked 2nd in the world among Independent Think Tanks by the University of Pennsylvania.Independent, non-profit and non-partisan, we work to promote free market, neoliberal ideas through research, publishing, media outreach, and education. The Institute is today at the forefront of making the case for free markets and a free society in the United Kingdom. The Institute was founded in the 1970s, as post-war socialism reached its high-watermark. Then, as now, its purpose was to educate the public about free markets and economic policy, and to inject sound ideas into the public debate.