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Captains of Industry and Masters of Thought. The Entrepreneur and the Tradition of Italian Liberal Economists from Francesco Ferrara to Sergio Ricossa

Piero Bini

Rivista italiana degli economisti, 2013, issue 1, 87-130

Abstract: The essay deals with five eminent Italian economists and their positions on the theory andpractice of entrepreneurship over the span of a century and half: from Francesco Ferrara's early writings in the eighteen forties, to the works of Vilfredo Pareto, Maffeo Pantaleoni, Luigi Einaudi and finally Sergio Ricossa in the nineteen eighties. Although they all worked in very different scientific, institutional and historical contexts, these five economists combined their liberal political attitudes in a similar way with a strong inclination towards unfettered markets and private entrepreneurship. In particular, they shared an assessment of the superiority of entrepreneurial capitalism, not only over socialism or mixed economic systems, but also compared with managerial capitalism. In their works, the entrepreneur is the true instigator of economic development: for his ability to innovate, his alertness to profit opportunities, and his talent for leadership from the economic and social points of view. Nevertheless, some of these Italian economists identified in the very entrepreneurial function some elements of economic instability, and thus they also dedicated particularattention to institutional recipes to mitigate or regulate entrepreneurs' exuberant behaviors.

Keywords: Italian Economic Thought; Entrepreneurship; General Economics Studies. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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