Cover: Visions of Inequality: From the French Revolution to the End of the Cold War, from Harvard University PressCover: Visions of Inequality in HARDCOVER

Visions of Inequality

From the French Revolution to the End of the Cold War

Product Details


$32.95 • £28.95 • €29.95

ISBN 9780674264144

Publication Date: 10/10/2023


368 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

26 illus.

Belknap Press


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A noted economist examines the thinking of six of his predecessors on how income is distributed and the conditions that favor or hinder the accumulation of wealth.Kirkus Reviews

[A] sweeping survey of more than 200 years of philosophical thought about inequality.Publishers Weekly

Fascinating and often surprising, offering new insight into iconic figures like Smith and Marx and unexpected perspectives on their work. Branko Milanovic shows that the writings of centuries past have much to teach us about inequality, especially about class and power. A truly important book.—Angus Deaton, Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences

What do we talk about when we talk about economic inequality? To those who came of age after the 2008 financial crisis and Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century—an era marked by a widening fracture between rich and poor, especially within Western nations—the question might seem obvious. But as Branko Milanovic shows in his indispensable chronicle of the concept, we underestimate just how young, limited, and fraught our current understanding of inequality is—and how diverse its range of forebears. Researched with forensic thoroughness, and hardly shy about its political implications, Visions of Inequality presents a rare and rewarding combination of economic and conceptual history.—Anton Jäger, Catholic University of Leuven

A fascinating journey across the history of economic thought through the lens of inequality. Milanovic’s erudite and thought-provoking exploration casts new light both on the analysis of income concentration and on the ideological travails of economics as a discipline.—Ingrid Bleynat, King’s College London

Imagine being able to ask Smith, Marx, and Pareto round for dinner and a chat about how each of them sees inequality. In effect, that’s what Branko Milanovic does in this new book. As he shows, economists’ interest in the subject is by no means a new phenomenon—but what counts, and who counts, in any analysis of inequality has varied dramatically over time. Recognizing this fact should make us reflect on how our own contemporary assays of inequality are more limited than we think. Taking us on an eye-opening tour from Quesnay to Kuznets, Milanovic shows us how inequality and capitalism have always intertwined.—Mark Blyth, Brown University

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