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The rent disease: Achille Loria’s criticism to the capitalistic society

Luigino Bruni ()

The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 2019, vol. 26, issue 1, 1-22

Abstract: This paper is a reconstruction and a reconsideration of Achille Loria’s (1857–1943) economic and social thought, in particular his criticism of capitalism. Loria, a leader of the Italian and European economic science of his generation, was convinced that the true and most relevant conflict in the capitalistic society was that between rent and profit. Loria, following David Ricardo, considered this conflict much more radical than the profit-wages one, and therefore assigned to income redistribution a central place in his theory. Loria was an outstanding economist in the first part of his career (1780–1900), but underwent a sudden decline with the advent of the marginalist revolution, when his “classic” approach to political economy was considered obsolete and wrong. The paper claims that Loria’s system deserves to be reconsidered, and that his criticisms are particularly relevant in contemporary financial capitalism based again on rent seeking.

Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1080/09672567.2018.1491615

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