We live at a time of increasing economic inequality worldwide. What is driving this trend? And what are the factors that can stabilize or even reduce levels of inequality? Answering this question empirically would require a deep dive into the archives of history. One would have to sift through millennia of economic data across continents and civilizations.
Our guest today took on this gargantuan task of writing a “global survey that covers the broad sweep of observable history” regarding inequality (as he puts it). Walter Scheidel is professor of Classics and History at Stanford University. He is a prolific author, and one of the most cited historians of Rome alive today. In 2017 he rekindled the debate about the history of inequality with the publication of his book The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the 21st Century.
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