The Great Leveler
- Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century
- Narrated by: Joel Richards
- Length: 17 hrs and 31 mins
- Unabridged Audiobook
- Release date: 10-10-17
- Language: English
- Publisher: Tantor Audio
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 20th 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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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Ras on 28-11-17
Looked very promising but then disappointing
This book has some interesting contents scattered across the book. For instance, well-known major historical incidences, like wars, revolutions, government reforms, etc are occasionally narrated with interesting stories. However, the book is rather boring as it mainly involves enumeration of one statistics after another. Gini coefficient was mentioned perhaps thousand times! Although, the thesis of the book impressive (wars, certain types of viloence epidemics as temporary levellers of inequality), it is covered in a such dull way that as if it is a report for policy makers in a parliament. In that respect, I got really bored. That was a very promising book for me but in the end I looked forward to finish it and start another book!
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Varun on 10-02-18
Content is not suitable for an Audiobook
The narrator has done a good job, but the content of the book is too technical to be suited to the style of delivery of an audiobook. I highly recommend that you read rather than listen to this book. There are many details and it becomes difficult not to get lost and stay focussed as the content is narrated.
11 of 14 people found this review helpful
By Lauren L on 03-04-18
As depressing as it is convincing
Mr Scheidel makes a controversial case - at least for those of us not well versed in this aspect of economics - and he makes it so convincingly that The Great Leveler is in fact a very dry read. Nonetheless the fundamental revelation (for that is what it is for me) about inequality and the forces conspiring to increase it, is powerful.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful