What We Are Reading Today: The Great Leveler

Updated 17 September 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: The Great Leveler

AUTHOR: Walter Scheidel

Are mass violence and catastrophes the only forces that can seriously decrease economic inequality?

To judge by thousands of years of history, the answer is yes.

Tracing the global history of inequality from the Stone Age to today, Walter Scheidel shows that inequality never dies peacefully, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.

Inequality declines when carnage and disaster strike and increases when peace and stability return.

The Great Leveler is the first book to chart the crucial role of violent shocks in reducing inequality over the full sweep of human history around the world.

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.

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.


What We Are Reading Today: Ever the Leader

Updated 12 December 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Ever the Leader

Author: William G. Bowen

Ever the Leader gathers together selected speeches and writings from one of the great scholars and commentators of higher education. William G. Bowen’s career at Princeton University — from economics professor to provost to a 16-year tenure as president — was marked by extraordinary accomplishments during times of great change, both at the university and in the country. But it was in Bowen’s second act, as president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and founding chairman of ITHAKA, that he took the lessons he learned as a highly productive leader of one of the nation’s most esteemed universities and applied them to a broader set of problems in higher education. This volume of work from Bowen’s later career captures this expansion of his thought and influence.
Comprising remarks and articles on the subjects of university values, educational opportunity, college sports, technology, and colleagues and peers in higher education leadership, Ever the Leader is more than just a concis e distillation of Bowen’s research and thinking on some of the most urgent issues of the day — it is a portrait of leadership in action. The selected papers, talks, and articles exemplify Bowen’s commitment and singular ability to communicate strong, persuasive arguments for change.
and to motivate others to engage with the truly hard questions facing higher education leaders.