The Great Leveler : Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century
by Walter Scheidel
Editor: Princeton University Press
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How violence and disasters have always reduced inequalities throughout the world’s history are mass violence and disasters the only forces that can seriously reduce economic inequalities.Judging by thousands of years of history, the answer is yes.Tracing the history of inequality from the Stone Age to the present day, Walter Scheidel shows that inequality never dies in peace.Inequality diminishes when carnage and strike catastrophe and increases when peace and stability return.The Great Leveller is the first book of graphics the crucial role of violent shocks in reducing inequalities on the sweeping set of human history around the world.Since humans began on the farm, livestock herd, and moving on their property for future generations, economic inequality has been a characteristic of civilization.For thousands of years, only violent events that have significantly reduced inequalityThe “Four Knights” of leveling–mass levelling of the mobilization of war, transformation of revolutions, collapse of the state, and catastrophic plagues–have repeatedly destroyed the wealth of the rich.Scheidel identifies and examines these processes, starting from the crisis of the oldest civilizations in the cataclysmic world of the wars and communist revolutions of the twentieth century.Today, violence to reduce inequalities in the past seems to have decreased, which is a good thing.But he has serious doubts about the prospects for equality in the future.An essential contribution to the debate on inequality, The Great Leveller provides important insights into why inequality is so persistent, and why it is unlikely that the decline in inequality will occur anytime soon.
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