People Political Sciences

Guido Alfani's Upcoming Book Makes New Statesman List

, by Andrea Costa
The British newsmagazine praises a study of economic inequality through the ages by the Bocconi professor

The influential London-based New Statesman newsmagazine has included in its latest annual "15 best books of the academic presses" list the forthcoming title "As Gods Among Men: A History of the Rich in the West", written by Guido Alfani of Bocconi's Department of Social and Political Science.

The book will be published by Princeton University Press on December 5 (US only) and will become available in Europe from January 30, 2024. "The position of the rich and super-rich in Western society has always been intrinsically fragile; their very presence has inspired social unease. In the Middle Ages, an excessive accumulation of wealth was considered sinful; the rich were expected not to appear to be wealthy," says Guido Alfani. "Eventually, the rich were deemed useful when they used their wealth to help their communities in times of crisis. Yet in the twenty-first century the rich and the super-rich-with their wealth largely preserved through the Great Recession and COVID-19-have been exceptionally reluctant to contribute to the common good in times of crisis, rejecting even such stopgap measures as temporary tax increases. History suggests that this is a troubling development-for the rich, and for everyone else."

The New Statesman, widely regarded as England's leading political weekly, and one of the world's top journals of opinion, was founded in 1913. Its contributors have included J M Keynes, Bertrand Russell, George Orwell, Virginia Woolf, and Christopher Hitchens.