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Economic and Social History Blog

In the media

How to measure the impact of slavery on the early modern economy?

Written by Jan Luiten van Zanden NWO, the National Science Foundation of the Netherlands, has a usually rather boring glossy in which it presents the successes of the research funded by the organization. Recently, however, it published the summary of a debate, significantly printed in black and white, about the importance of the slave trade…

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Netherlands blocking EU emergency fund for COVID-19

The plan for today was that I would give you an update of the garden (still in deep crisis) and then tell a bit about the new kid on the block, the robin, and the question where does his/her beauty come from. But politics intervened. Last Thursday our prime minister Rutte blocked in a not…

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Piketty and the Charter of the Forest

With the recent publication of the Paradise papers yet another glimpse has been given into the ways the financially blessed avoid paying their fair dues  back into society. It wasn’t as if we didn’t already know this. The coverage and revelations echo closely those as a result of the publication of the Panama papers last year. This…

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History of the Red Cross

A recent history of the Dutch Red Cross during WWII, for which Keetie Sluyterman of our department was on the supervisory committee, was published on the 1st of November. The conclusions were stark; the Red Cross in the Netherlands did next to nothing for Dutch Jews. To read more on the reason the book was…

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Measuring Welfare Broadly

On Friday the 27th of October, our very own Bas van Bavel and Auke Rijpma presented their collaborative work with Rabobank on a broad measure of welfare, to the provincial council of Brabant. This indicator aims to go beyond standard measures of growth (often construed as GDP) to cover many different variables that effect people’s…

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History of (un)happiness

By Jan Luiten van Zanden Someone who commits suicide is extremely unhappy. The happiness industry has also made abundantly clear that people are unhappy The number of victims of violent crime has plummeted. Have we become madder since Freud?   How did people feel in the past? Suicide, prisons and psychiatric patients. A history of…

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Trump and the end of globalisation

After the upheaval of the American presidential election Jan Luiten van Zanden provides his interpretation of events. Towards the end of the 19th century globalisation led to increasing tensions between countries which culminated in a backlash against international collaboration. If we are not careful history may well repeat itself. The current losers of the economic system…

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