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Geoffrey Kron: Democracy, social justice and economic development: comparing Greco-Roman antiquity and early industrial England

Monday, May 14, 2012
5:15 – 7:15 pm with refreshments at 5:00
Building 110, Room 112
Stanford campus
From the demonstrations of the 99% movement to scholarly production, the problem of wealth and income inequality and its corrosive social and economic effects have come into increasing focus in the past decade. However few economic historians have given much consideration to the role of democratic social change and the rise of a large middle class of consumers, rather than industrial technology or capitalist ideology, in the rise of the 'affluent society' of the mid- to late- 20th century.  This talk will compare evidence for nutrition, health and living standards, wealth and income distributions, and political
institutions in early industrial England and the Greco-Roman world, in order to provide a new perspective on the social origins of 19th century English laissez-faire capitalism, and its continuing toxic legacy of stifling economic growth and perpetuating social injustice and neo-colonial exploitation.
Attendees may wish to read this article prior to the lecture

Geoffrey Kron is Assistant Professor of Greek History at the University of Victoria, BC. His research focuses on Greek democracy and its social background and consequences; the role of democratic social change in economic growth; cultural syncretism vs. colonialism in the ancient Mediterranean and Hellenistic Near East; ancient technology, material culture and economic development; and Greco-Roman agriculture, animal husbandry, and fish and game farming.