Walter Scheidel: The great leveler: violence and the history of inequality from the stone age to the twenty-first century

Walter Scheidel: The great leveler: violence and the history of inequality from the stone age to... Public Choice (2017) 172:545–548 DOI 10.1007/s11127-017-0456-6 BOOK REVIEW Walter Scheidel: The great leveler: violence and the history of inequality from the stone age to the twenty-first century Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 2017, xv + 504 pp, USD 35.00 (cloth) Mark Koyama Published online: 18 May 2017 Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017 The topic of inequality, never ignored, has roared back into scholarly fashion following the 2008 financial crisis and the publication of Piketty’s (2014), Capital in the Twenty-First Century. It is now hard to avoid the topic. I therefore approached Walter Scheidel’s new book with a degree of trepidation (‘‘another book on inequality… sigh’’). I shouldn’t have done so. The Great Leveler is a fantastic piece of social science. Scheidel, a classicist by training, is a true interdisciplinary social scientist, synthesizing data from modern America, medieval Europe, mid-twentieth century Spain, Republican Rome, and Communist Russia. He begins by offering a brief history of inequality. Early human societies were egalitarian. From this egalitarian base, greater inequality was an inevitable consequence of the rise of sedentary agriculture. The emergence of storable surpluses gave rise to some individuals who were not only richer than others, but able to transfer their http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Public Choice Springer Journals

Walter Scheidel: The great leveler: violence and the history of inequality from the stone age to the twenty-first century

Public Choice , Volume 172 (4) – May 18, 2017
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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Subject
Economics; Public Finance; Political Science
ISSN
0048-5829
eISSN
1573-7101
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11127-017-0456-6
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Public Choice (2017) 172:545–548 DOI 10.1007/s11127-017-0456-6 BOOK REVIEW Walter Scheidel: The great leveler: violence and the history of inequality from the stone age to the twenty-first century Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 2017, xv + 504 pp, USD 35.00 (cloth) Mark Koyama Published online: 18 May 2017 Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017 The topic of inequality, never ignored, has roared back into scholarly fashion following the 2008 financial crisis and the publication of Piketty’s (2014), Capital in the Twenty-First Century. It is now hard to avoid the topic. I therefore approached Walter Scheidel’s new book with a degree of trepidation (‘‘another book on inequality… sigh’’). I shouldn’t have done so. The Great Leveler is a fantastic piece of social science. Scheidel, a classicist by training, is a true interdisciplinary social scientist, synthesizing data from modern America, medieval Europe, mid-twentieth century Spain, Republican Rome, and Communist Russia. He begins by offering a brief history of inequality. Early human societies were egalitarian. From this egalitarian base, greater inequality was an inevitable consequence of the rise of sedentary agriculture. The emergence of storable surpluses gave rise to some individuals who were not only richer than others, but able to transfer their

Journal

Public ChoiceSpringer Journals

Published: May 18, 2017

References

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