The Great Leveler by Walter Scheidel audiobook

The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century

By Walter Scheidel
Read by Joel Richards

Tantor Audio 9780691165028

The Princeton Economic History of the Western World Series

17.52 Hours 1
Format : CD (In Stock)
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    ISBN: 9781665247740

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  • Regular Price: $55.99

    Special Price $36.39

    ISBN: 9781665247757

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Are mass violence and catastrophes the only forces that can seriously decrease economic inequality? To judge by thousands of years of history, the answer is yes. Tracing the global history of inequality from the Stone Age to today, Walter Scheidel shows that inequality never dies peacefully. Inequality declines when carnage and disaster strike and increases when peace and stability return. The Great Leveler is the first book to chart the crucial role of violent shocks in reducing inequality over the full sweep of human history around the world. Ever since humans began to farm, herd livestock, and pass on their assets to future generations, economic inequality has been a defining feature of civilization. Over thousands of years, only violent events have significantly lessened inequality. The "Four Horsemen" of leveling—mass-mobilization warfare, transformative revolutions, state collapse, and catastrophic plagues—have repeatedly destroyed the fortunes of the rich. Scheidel identifies and examines these processes, from the crises of the earliest civilizations to the cataclysmic world wars and communist revolutions of the twentieth century. Today, the violence that reduced inequality in the past seems to have diminished, and that is a good thing. But it casts serious doubt on the prospects for a more equal future.

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Summary

Summary

Longlisted for the Cundill Prize in Historical Literature

A Finalist for the Financial Times Books of the Year for 2017

McKinsey Business Book of the Year Finalist for 2017

Are mass violence and catastrophes the only forces that can seriously decrease economic inequality? To judge by thousands of years of history, the answer is yes. Tracing the global history of inequality from the Stone Age to today, Walter Scheidel shows that inequality never dies peacefully. Inequality declines when carnage and disaster strike and increases when peace and stability return. The Great Leveler is the first book to chart the crucial role of violent shocks in reducing inequality over the full sweep of human history around the world.

Ever since humans began to farm, herd livestock, and pass on their assets to future generations, economic inequality has been a defining feature of civilization. Over thousands of years, only violent events have significantly lessened inequality. The "Four Horsemen" of leveling—mass-mobilization warfare, transformative revolutions, state collapse, and catastrophic plagues—have repeatedly destroyed the fortunes of the rich. Scheidel identifies and examines these processes, from the crises of the earliest civilizations to the cataclysmic world wars and communist revolutions of the twentieth century. Today, the violence that reduced inequality in the past seems to have diminished, and that is a good thing. But it casts serious doubt on the prospects for a more equal future.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

"[Scheidel] draws on mountains of data to examine the social, economic and political forces that have been responsible for the growth of material inequality—and those that have reduced wealth…Fascinating.” Huffington Post
Sweeping and provocative. New Yorker
“Scheidel’s excellent survey has the merit of drawing evidence from the smallest scrap—height in burial sites, records of wages or rations, differences in house sizes over time, for example.” New Scientist

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Walter Scheidel

Author Bio: Walter Scheidel

Walter Scheidel is the Dickason Professor in the Humanities, Professor of Classics and History, and a Kennedy-Grossman Fellow in Human Biology at Stanford University. The author or editor of over fifteen books, he has published widely on premodern social and economic history, demography, and comparative history.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/History
Runtime: 17.52
Audience: Adult
Language: English