Stanford historian uncovers a grim correlation between violence and inequality over the millennia
La disparition (momentanée) des inégalités ne vient jamais d’une modification volontaire du comportement de l’ordre établi, mais seulement d’une perturbation radicale de ce dernier.
Surveying long stretches of human history, Scheidel said that “the big equalizing moments in history may not have always had the same cause, but they shared one common root: massive and violent disruptions of the established order.”
This idea is connected to Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2013), a New York Times bestseller Scheidel admires. Piketty found that “inequality does not go down by itself because we have economic development,” Scheidel said. “His book covers only 200 years and argues that only violent intervention can make that happen.”
But Scheidel, who has taught a freshman seminar on long-term inequality, wanted to know if this insight can be applied to all of history. He enlisted the help of Andrew Granato, a senior majoring in economics, to compile a bibliography of more than 1,000 titles. The result is a sweeping narrative about the link between inequality and peace that harkens back to the beginning of human civilization.