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Marcella Corsi, Carlo D’Ippoliti, Jan Kregel, eds.

Classical Economics Today

Essays in Honor of Alessandro Roncaglia

Anthem Press 2018

New Books in EconomicsNew Books in Intellectual HistoryNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network April 18, 2018 Andrea Bernardi

I met in Rome, at Sapienza University, with two of the three editors of a great new book in economics. Marcella Corsi is professor...

I met in Rome, at Sapienza University, with two of the three editors of a great new book in economics. Marcella Corsi is professor of economics at Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, and editor of the International Review of Sociology. Carlo D’Ippoliti is associate professor of economics at Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, and editor of PSL Quarterly Review. He is also one of the hosts of this channel. The third editor is Jan Kregel, director of research at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, USA, and professor of development finance at Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia. He is also co-editor of the Journal of Post-Keynesian Economics.

Classical Economics Today (Anthem Press, 2018) is a collection of essays in honour of Alessandro Roncaglia. It provides an overview on his contributions and on the Classical tradition in Economics. It is a history of ideas in Economics but also an attempt to discuss their contemporary relevance to economic policy and economic theory.

The contributors to the volume, like all classical economists in general, regard history as a useful tool of analysis rather than a specialist object of investigation. By denying that a single, all-encompassing mathematical model can explain everything we are interested in, Classical political economy necessarily requires a comparison and integration of several pieces of theory as the only way to discuss economics and economic policy. Economists inspired by the Classical approach believe that economic theory is historically conditioned: as social systems evolve, the appropriate theory to represent a certain phenomenon must evolve too. Therefore, plurality in methods, including the history of economic thought, must be a deliberate choice, as evidenced by the essays in Classical Economics Today: Essays in Honor of Alessandro Roncaglia.

The book is a tribute to Alessandro Roncaglia, to his personality and his research interests. Roncaglia’s research is based on Schumpeter’s dictum that good economics must encompass history, economic theory and statistics, and therefore does not generally take the form of elegant formal models that are applicable to all and everything. In this direction, Roncaglia is inspired by the Classical economists of the past, and becomes a model for present-day Classical economists.

This is a book for economists, particularly for those who regard history of economic thought as a useful tool of analysis rather than a specialist object of investigation. But the book is approachable by students and non-economists too. The non-expert reader would be delighted to discover that economics is different to what they expected.


Andrea Bernardi is Senior Lecturer in Employment and Organization Studies at Oxford Brookes University in the UK. He holds a doctorate in Organization Theory from the University of Milan, Bicocca. He has held teaching and research positions in Italy, China and the UK. Among his research interests are the use of history in management studies, the co-operative sector, and Chinese co-operatives. His latest project is looking at health care in rural China. He is the co-convener of the EAEPE’s permanent track on Critical Management Studies.