Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert
Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz
Chapter 52: Maffeo Pantaleoni (1857–1924)
Life and Personality Pantaleoni was by general consent one of the protagonists, if not the protagonist, of the renaissance in Italian economic thought from the “prostration” of the 1870s to the eminent position it came to occupy on the international scene at the turn of the century (Barucci 1972). He masterminded the spread of marginalism in Italy, spotted and encouraged potential talents such as Pareto and Barone, launched a new series of the languishing Giornale degli economisti, and pursued a line of research in which marginal analysis was instrumental in supporting his liberal convictions and in outlining a suggestive sketch of a theory of social dynamics. By no means a tranquil academic, his career was interrupted twice for political reasons. The first time was in 1892, when reactions to his attacks on the government’s protectionist policies forced him to resign from his post as director of the Scuola Superiore di Commercio of Bari. Reinstated as professor at the University of Naples, he quit again in 1896 after the clamour caused by his denunciation of secret deals concerning the failure of the colonial campaign in Abyssinia. For a while he went into voluntary exile in Switzerland, where he held a chair at the University of Geneva from 1897 to 1900. He also acted as a manager of the Cirio food company, as liquidator and supervisor of bank affairs (this role involved him in particularly bitter disputes), and as a Member of Parliament elected with the votes of the extreme left in...
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