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The Poverty of ClioResurrecting Economic History$
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Francesco Boldizzoni

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691144009

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691144009.001.0001

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The World we Have Lost

The World we Have Lost

Microeconomic History

Chapter:
(p.87) Chapter 4 The World we Have Lost
Source:
The Poverty of Clio
Author(s):

Francesco Boldizzoni

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691144009.003.0004

This chapter is the first of two that intends to show that it is possible to practice a different type of economic history from cliometrics, without lapsing into narrative history. It involves approaches that were molded in continental Europe but were not exclusive to Europe, and had the Annales school as their catalyst but were not coincident with it. The chapter discusses the model that Polish historian Witold Kula introduced in his An Economic Theory of the Feudal System (1962). In fewer than two hundred pages, it demolishes the claims of neoclassical microeconomics to universality and shows how its theorems are not applicable to preindustrial eastern Europe. Starting from an investigation of this context, it creates appropriate alternative theoretical tools for explaining it. But the usefulness of this type of history also extends to the present, suggesting that the workings of each particular economic system needs to be understood on its own.

Keywords:   cliometrics, economic history, neoclassical microeconomics, Witold Kula, economic system, universality

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