Modern History: The Pre-History of Capital

Remarkable new historical study of wealth holding in Europe since the Middle Ages.

source: http://voxeu.org/article/europe-s-rich-1300

Tracking wealth holding in Italian city states since 1300 produces results which segue perfectly with PiIketty’s data for the Napoleonic period. By end of the 1700s 70 % plus of all wealth was held by top 10 %.

Interestingly, Alfani recognizes that the only previous studies of this question are owed to Marxist literature, but then struggles to find a bridge between financial measures of income and wealth and the categories of class employed by earlier Marxist literature. Alfani like Piketty distinguishes aristocratic from non-aristocratic wealth. But can one take it further than that? For Alfani, working at Bocconi, its already a major and commendable stretch. But this must be a crucial direction for future work.

For a full article see:

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11698-016-0151-8

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