Stanford professor Walter Scheidel argues that more-equal distributions of wealth correlate with calamitous events – world wars, communist revolutions and devastating pandemics. His fascinating analysis covers historic lost empires, the Black Plague, World Wars I and II, the Russian and Chinese Revolutions, and the collapse of Somalia, among many other historical eras and trends, including early agricultural societies and present-day economic circumstances. He believes that the era of widespread warfare, bloody revolution and deadly plague has now faded. Scheidel proves knowledgeable, perceptive and erudite, but at 500-plus pages, this could be tighter. Even so, getAbstract recommends his enlightening, singular study to international investors, global managers, policy makers, NGO activists and academics seeking a fresh analysis of a contentious topic.
In this summary, you will learn
- How war, revolution, collapse and disease drive economies;
- What history teaches about shifts in income inequality; and
- Why changes in equality based on violent upheavals may no longer occur – but could have destructive consequences.
About the Author
Walter Scheidel is a historian and professor of humanities and classics at Stanford University, where he is also a fellow in human biology. He has written several other books.
Comment on this summary
2 weeks agoI agree with the professor, insofar as the redistribution of wealth occurs during revolutions of wars and the like. But I want to note that the revolution in Russia has been overthrown, the tsar was soon quickly divided, and all the poor are again the same in other countries
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