January 24, 2017
"Economic Growth and Growing Inequality in Times of Empire: The Babylonian Economy in the Sixth Century BCE"
University of Vienna
February 1, 2017
Breasted Hall of the Oriental Institute
Free and open to the public
In the first half of the sixth century BCE, Babylonia experienced rapid economic development and increasing prosperity. The lecture explores the causes that led to this ‘golden interval,’ as J. Maynard Keynes termed such rare breaks in the (supposed) monotony of pre-industrial economic development. Chicago knows there is ‘no such thing as a free lunch,’ so the talk also looks at how the changes in the Babylonian empire’s core are reflected in its periphery, and it investigates the consequences of increasing prosperity for social cohesion in Babylonia.